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BellaOnline's Ethnic Beauty Editor

Defining Skin Care Mystery Words

While at home with the television or the radio on, while riding in the car, or when thumbing through magazines, we see and hear about skin care. We also hear and see words associated with skin care. The meanings of these words can sometimes be unclear, therefore let us de-mystify these words. Let us look at their definitions, and further look at the pros and cons of products that contain such words.

Retinoids: These are over-the-counter non-prescription strength vitamin A derivatives such as Retin-A and retinol. These are touted for their acne fighting properties and their signs of age reversal. For prescription strengths, one must see a dermatologist. Often used to build collagen and aid skin to look firmer, Retinoids help skin to appear less sun and wind ravaged. Retinoids can irritate skin however. They can cause sun-sensitivity. Therefore, the use of sunscreen is advised.

Antioxidants: Beta-carotene, green tea, Vitamins C and E, and grape seed extract are all antioxidants, and are used to protect skin from skin irritants and pollution - things better known as free radicals. Antioxidants aid in protecting skin cells from signs of premature aging and fine lines.

Bleaches, Skin Lighteners/Brighteners: These often combat highly pigmented skin surface areas, and diminish the appearance of dark splotches and age spots. As many of us know, among ethnic beauties hyper pigmentation can feel frustrating. Thus the reason that many ethnic beauty products contain hydroquinone, a skin lightener. Available in the U.S. in 2 percent strengths, a dermatologist can prescribe 4 percent if needed. Because sunscreen is needed for the protection of lightened skin - because light skin is susceptible to sun damage - many lightening/bleaching products contain sunscreen. However, all should be used with absolute care.

Sunscreen: Comes in different forms and is a topical product recommended for deflecting the sun's ultraviolet [UV] rays. Sunscreen protects against sunburn and sun damage to skin. A sun protection factor [an SPF] is essential every day and can be worn beneath makeup. Non-comedogenic offerings will not clog pores; and for everyday activities an SPF of 15 to 30 is advised. However if you will be at the beach, or out for prolonged periods [even while skiing] a heavier, waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50 is recommended. And don't forget the kiddiewinks! They too need skin care.

Anti-aging Exfoliators: Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids - can speed up skin's cell turnover, skin's natural exfoliation process which slows with age. Both can also smooth the surface of skin and aid in fading fine lines and brown spots. However, while using products containg either, sunscreen is a must.

Alpha hydroxy acids [AHAs] - the most common of which is glycolic acid - and lactic acids are derived from milk and fruit sugars. Water soluble, these can sometimes sting when applied to skin.

Beta hydroxy acids [BHAs] - like salicylic acids are oil-soluble, thus they help to clear clogged pores. Yet they must be used with care. They can make skin sun-sensitive.

With all of the above mentioned products, caution is advised. Say dermatologists, if irritation or sensitivity occurs while using, discontinue, or if an ethnic beauty sees no improvement within weeks, then also discontinue use.

Ethnic beauties remember, as we get older, our skin will inevitably change. The texture and tone that we had in our twenties will be different from that of our thirties. Our skin in our forties will differ from that of our younger years, and from the skin that we will see in seasons yet to arrive. The trick however, is to pay attention, to what our skin needs. That way we will better be able to choose appropriate skin care products. And if you happen to see or hear more mystifying words look them up, or email me and I will do so. In my quest to find out more and more about our skin, I will continue to research, read, and ask pertinent questions. I will continue to give you, my lovelies, what I get, because we all need to know. Just like we all want to be beautiful - from the inside out!

I truly do thank you for reading me, and responding. You are awesome! It is my pleasure to share with you all that I am learning.


Please visit the forum to share with our lovely ethnic beauty community some of what you too have learned. We'd love to know!

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