Skin Care 101

Skin Care 101. Great Looking Skin! The skin is the largest organ of the body and yet most of us don't do enough to maintain...

The skin is the largest organ of the body and yet most of us don't do enough to maintain our skin’s health. Americans spend millions on body products every month, but are they buying the right ones? How much do you really know about what your skin needs, what type of skin you have, what kind of soaps and lotions are the best for your skin? What about those products that promise younger-looking, wrinkle-free skin, do they work?

One of your skin’s functions is to eliminate a portion of the body's waste products through sweating. If toxins escape through the skin they disrupt the skin's health integrity. This is one of the key factors behind many skin disorders including acne. The skin also "breathes". If the pores become clogged, the microbes that are involved in causing acne flourish.

Great looking skin is a wonderful thing to have because it's right there on your face, it's kind of hard to hide. The skin also protects our bodies from the outside world. Most of us don't think our skin is so great looking. Even if you were born with a perfect complexion, or one that is not so good, you should make an effort to take care of it correctly. When you are going through adolescence, your body is trying to adjust to changes in the hormone balance, and this affects your skin big time. (For acne concerns, see our Acne section).

Skin Types

There are three basic skin types, but you may find yours isn't exactly like any of those described here. Most skin is a mixture of these types and yours will be no exception. The basic skin types are dry, oily, and combination. Dark skins have a tendency towards greater extremes of dryness and oiliness than paler skins.

Oily skin
You can tell if your skin is oily because it usually has a shine to it. It may be prone to black heads and acne. Oily skin contains a lot of sebum which helps prevent the skin from drying out. However, oily skin tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin. It benefits from soap and water, so washing with a cleansing bar is an ideal way of caring for it. Use warm water to loosen the dirt, then use cold water to rinse. Use toners and astringents containing alcohol and always use a light, non-greasy liquid cleanser. Very oily skin needs no extra moisturizing at all while you are in your teens.

Dry skin
Dry skin looks dry, sometimes flakes, and often feels tight, especially if you have washed it with soap and water. Sometimes it is lacking some of the protective sebum and so it reacts to very hot and very cold weather by tightening up. One benefit of dry skin is that it is less likely to develop acne than oily skin, but it is easily chapped in a dry atmosphere. Always use mild, alcohol-free make up and toner, and a rich, creamy cleanser. Moisturize your face every day, including the throat and the skin around your eyes. When you wear makeup, use a moisturized foundation. You will need little or no powder. When you wash your face, use a liquid or a cleansing bar. Use warm water to lather and rinse it with cold.

Combination skin
Most of us have this kind of skin, with an oily center area or a T-zone across the forehead, nose, and chin, and areas of dryness on the cheeks, and around the eyes and neck. Ideally, you should have one product for the oily areas and one for the dry areas, but this is expensive and unnecessary unless the areas of dry and oily are very different. It's simpler to use a cleanser designed for combination skin. Use a skin cleanser for the central oily panel, diluted with water for the drier areas. The drier areas may or may not need moisturizing frequently. You may have to experiment a bit.

Read our section on Tanning to learn more about what the sun really does to your skin! You may be surprised by what you find out. Sure, it looks good now, but one day you will be 40! Remember your sunscreen and don't just put it on when you get to the beach or pool, but two hours before. Use one daily if you live in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Australia and other places where the sun is out most of the time and is very strong. When in doubt, ask your primary care doctor.

Check out Acne and Acne Skin Care...

See the Skin Care Table for more on your particular type of skin.

Get More Info on ClearSkin FaceWash for Clear Healthy Skin - I use it and it's also good for adult acne. (~ Amy, RN)

Facial Recipes (For the guys too!)

If you want to treat yourself and your skin, give yourself a facial. It's not only good for you, if feels great too. You can make a facial from ordinary kitchen goods. Here are two of them, which are inexpensive to make. More of them to come soon!

Honey Facial (do not use this if you are allergic to eggs)
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg yoke
1 teaspoon olive oil

Beat the egg yoke with a fork, add the oil and blend well. Add the honey using a spoon that you have rinsed with hot water and blend well again. Smear it all over your face with your fingers, except do not cover your eyes. Leave it on your face for 15 minutes, then rinse it off.

Cucumber Facial
1 cucumber
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon witch hazel (you can buy this in any drug store)
1 egg white, beaten with an electric beater until fluffy.

Peel the cucumber and run it through a blender or a food processor. Pour the cucumber pulp into a colander or strainer and force it through, catching the liquid that comes out in a bowl underneath. Combine the cucumber liquid with the lemon juice and the witch hazel. Stir it and add the beaten egg white gently. Put it on your face and leave it on for 15 to 25 minutes. Rinse off.

Remember: clean, prevent and treat. This is a good start to a lifetime of healthy skin.

Here are some facial mask recipes sent in by Marla from Kansas City, KS, USA

1 Peach, ripe, peeled, pitted
1 Egg white
Whip the peach and egg white together in a blender until smooth. Gently pat the mixture all over your face. Relax for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water.


1 Apple, cored & quartered
2 T Honey
Drop the apple pieces into a food processor and chop. Add honey and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Pat the mixture onto your face with a light tapping motion, tapping until the honey feels tacky. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse.


1/2 Cucumber
1 Egg white
1 T Lemon juice
1 tsp mint
Puree everything and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Apply the mixture to your face and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm, then cool water.


1/2 c Strawberries, very ripe
1/4 c Cornstarch
Mix strawberries and cornstarch together to make a paste and apply it to your face, avoiding the delicate area around your eyes. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water.


2 cups boiling water
1 vitamin C (a preservative)
Lemon peel (zest) from 2 lemons
Dissolve the vitamin in water. In a glass bowl put the lemon zest and pour the water over them. Let it sit over night. Remove the zest and put in a spray bottle. You can use any type of citrus peel.


1 Tomato, ripe, chopped
1 tsp Lemon juice
1 T Instant style oatmeal or old-fashioned rolled oats
Blend everything until just combined. Apply to skin, making sure the mixture is thick enough to stay on blemished areas: cheeks, forehead, or chin. If necessary, add a bit more oatmeal to thicken the mask. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then scrub it off with a clean washcloth dipped in warm water.

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