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January 31, 2018

You are walking up and down the aisle at your pharmacy and wondering “Which one should I get?”  Should I get a mask? How about a scrub?  Which cleanser works the best?”

I have news for you!  I cannot even count how many patients have come to me with a bag of their “product line” and wondering why none of them have many any difference in their skin for the long term!  They have tried anything from scrubs (both $10 and $100 varieties), cleansers made of fruits and plants that I can hardly pronounce!  Unfortunately, they have not found something that can provide long term results.

Let’s dissect the function of a scrub, mask and cleanser.

1) Scrubs:  These are used to create a superficial exfoliation of the dead skin through small beads which are physical and chemical particles that remove oil and dead skin (keratin) from the surface of the skin.  Sounds great, right?  Well, not exactly!  Many people are overly sensitive skin, and a variety of possible skin conditions such as rosacea or acne.  Others may have other skin conditions which may significantly worsen their skin!  Imagine taking a sandpaper and sanding down a dry wound?

2) Masks– These products are spread as a topical material to the skin from 5-20 minutes.  They are made of anything from synthetic ingredients such as clay to natural fruits and vegetable combinations, and even near medical grade components to achieve an improvement in tone, color, thickening and tightening of the skin.  But the wrong type of mask can cause acne, skin burns, allergies and further discoloration if the inappropriate ingredients are used.  For example, there are some who may have skin allergies or skin irritations from some of the basic key ingredients.  The benefits of these masks are very short term and do not provide a sustained effect.

3) Cleansers– These are one of the most essential parts of a skin care regimen.  A good cleanser has a balance of removing dead skin (called Keratin), oils, and debris from the skin while avoiding dryness and irritation.  Many people want the foaming ones!  However, these are among the harshest on the skin since they tend to dry out the skin more than necessary.  The more elegant cleansers can still gently remove the unwanted particles while leaving your skin well hydrated and soft.  There are hundreds of options for cleansers currently available on the market.  The ideal cleanser should leave your skin feeling smooth, not dry, and should never cause redness, irritation or cause any flaking.  Always remember to continue using your moisturizers after you cleanse in order to continuously lock in the moisture and prevent your skin from getting dehydrated.