Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Moisturizers For Men

Keep Your Face Looking Great With Moisturizer

What do you know about cinnamon floral water, aloe vera juice, and apricot kernel? My guess is, not much. But don't worry; I don't know much about these ingredients either, except for the fact that they sound very metrosexual .

To be honest with you, I didn't really care about them either, until I started doing some research on moisturizers and discovered what some of these ingredients can do for my face... and yours.

Between the subzero temperatures, electric heating, lack of humidity, UV rays, pollutants in the air, and wind, your face has to endure a lot of daily punishment and can become dry, itchy and flaky as a result.

Moisturizing is no longer just "a girl thing." Moisturizing your face on a daily basis will help promote hydration, skin cell regeneration, healing, and prevent damaging effects from external forces and weather conditions that lead to premature wrinkles, fine lines, and in extreme cases, skin cancer.

where should you start?

It's a real jungle out there when it comes to choosing a good moisturizer for your face. I suggest you start by experimenting with a couple of different creams to determine which one is best for your skin type and provides the kind of results you're looking for. Below are some tips that will help narrow down your search and put your best face forward.

As a rule of thumb, the richer the cream is in terms of concentration and texture, the better it is for your skin. Unfortunately, it also means that it might be a little greasier, harder to apply, and probably less aesthetically pleasing. But as you can imagine, there has been a lot of progress in this area and you can now find creams that are easy to apply and non-greasy, yet extremely potent... but they will cost you.

ingredients to look for

A good facial cream should be rich in essential fatty acids and oils, vitamins and minerals, nutrients, botanical extracts, and antioxidants (help prevent skin damage caused by the sun, pollutants, and other harmful environmental elements). Below are some ingredients you should look for when shopping for facial moisturizers.

Shea butter: Shea butter is used for its rich texture and strong hydrating properties. It is known as a particularly good moisturizer because it penetrates the skin quickly, leaving it feeling smooth and with no oily residue.

Glycerin: Glycerin is present in all natural and synthetically manufactured fats. It is used in moisturizers because it seems to attract and retain the right amount of water in order to maintain balance in the skin.

Silicone: Silicone is a slippery, water-binding agent used in some lotions and creams to offer long-lasting protection. But be careful with this one because creams that contain too much silicone can leave your face looking greasy.

Green tea: Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, and along with grape seed extracts, has become a very popular cosmetic ingredient.

More important ingredients, what to avoid at all costs, and the best way to apply moisturizer to your face...

Omegas: Omegas help moisturize the skin at exceptional levels. They are fatty acids that help replenish and maintain the skin's optimal moisture balance, not to mention help fight signs of aging.

Aloe: There are over 240 different types of aloe but only four that are recognized as having nutritional value -- aloe vera being one of the most popular. Basically, aloe will provide your skin with essential nutrients such as minerals, amino acids and vitamins. It is a potent moisturizing agent that helps regenerate and heal skin.

Carrot extract (Daucus carota): Carrot extract, also known as Daucus carota, is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E -- all essential ingredients to keeping your skin healthy. It also contains carotene, ethereal oils, sugar, and pectic substances, which help prevent moisture loss.

Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil is another ingredient that will help your skin retain its moisture by reinforcing the dry skin's hydrolipidic film.

more key ingredients

Other ingredients that you should keep an eye out for include sunflower seed oil (Helianthus annuus), sweet almond oil (Prunus dulcis), coconut oil (Cocos nucifera), alfa tocopherol (vitamin E), cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao), orange blossom oil (Citrus aurantium), rice bran oil (Oryza sativa), lanolin oil, xanthan gum, lecithin, bio melanin, eucalyptus citriodora oil, and riboflavin (vitamin B2).

what to avoid

As a general rule, you should try to avoid facial creams that contain mineral oils, which are petroleum-based, because they might leave a greasy film on your skin and clog your pores as a result. Also, try to avoid products that contain SD alcohol and formaldehyde because they will dry up your skin instead of moisturizing it.

Keep in mind that you should consult a dermatologist before using any creams that aren't clearly hypoallergenic, especially if your skin is sensitive or acne prone. For example, creams that contain lanolin -- a wax derivative of sheep's wool -- can cause allergic reactions and are comedogenic (tending to aggravate or cause acne).

Throughout the winter months, you should keep the use of exfoliating products to a minimum (once a week) because they can suck the moisture from your skin. If you tend to have dry skin, especially during winter, you should also try to minimize your shower time and use lukewarm water.

In addition, try to avoid heavily scented creams as well as those that contain too many preservatives because they are more likely to cause allergic reactions. Examples of preservatives include propylene glycol, parabens, sodium lauryl, sulfate, and sodium benzoate.

For optimal results, opt for moisturizers that are non-comedogenic, dermatology tested, fragrance-free, and preservative-free.

application steps

Now that you have a clearer picture of the ingredients to look for in a facial cream, here are some tips on how to apply it properly.

Once you've cleansed your face, pat it dry with a towel. Apply dabs of cream onto your forehead, cheekbones, chin, and neck, and gently smooth it over the skin in a circular motion, working from the outside of your face toward the center. Make sure not to leave any residue and that it gets fully absorbed into your skin.

Ideally, you should moisturize your skin morning and night. But realistically speaking, applying moisturizing to your face once a day -- preferably when you come out of the shower -- should be enough to keep your face looking healthy.

more tips

It might also be a good idea to use a facial cream that contains some sort of UV protection. For example, a good moisturizer with SPF 15 will provide sufficient protection against dangerous UV rays, which can cause your skin to wrinkle prematurely -- even in the winter months and on cloudy days. Finally, remember to maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water on a daily basis, as these are both important factors in maintaining nice and healthy skin.

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