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Skin type determines method of cleansing

By Al Varela

Dear Al: My son’s recent interest in taking care of his skin, is the result of a facial he received in his health class. He was shown how to use a cleanser, astringent and moisturizer. How do I choose a moisturizer that is best suited for him?

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out a teenager, period. But it’s a particularly difficult thing for a parent or teen to accurately determine what skin type they have and how to care for it.

First examine the skin to determine the skin type. If oil appears on four spots on the face -- the forehead, cheeks, chin and nose -- then you have oily skin. Oil only on the forehead, chin and nose, is considered combination skin. And, if you have no shiny spots then you likely have normal skin.

Now that you have determined your skin type, it’s time to select the correct cleanser. Gel cleansers are well-suited for combination skin and the clear gel cleansers are best for oily skin. Foaming and lotion cleansers work best for normal to dry skin. A water soluble cleanser is non-irritating and works well on a variety of skin types.

Remember to be gentle on your skin. Over scrubbing and using wash cloths or loofas on the face can harbor germs and spread infections on the skin. Also, avoid touching your face during the day to prevent the spread of bacteria. The only time you should touch your face is when you are cleansing it. The hands and fingertips are the best method for washing your face. And, don’t forget to rinse with tepid water.

There are many types of moisturizers that will work on all three skin types. Normal to dry skin can use light formulas that range from water-based moisturizers to ones that have heavier emollients. Oily or combination skin should use oil-free products that come in gel forms and are also water based. How you apply it to combination or oily skin is important. Start on the drier parts of the face and then lastly to the oily areas.

Also, you don’t need the same kind of moisturizer for day and night use. Day moisturizers are lighter in feel, while night moisturizers have heavier emollients for deeper moisturizing and relief at night.

I can’t help you solve the entire puzzle of raising teenage children, but good skin care doesn’t have to be a missing piece.

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