I hear it all the time–I try a skin care product and don't like it, and a friend uses it with very different results. It may have something to do with body chemistry, but something else is probably going on. It may have to do with how you are applying the products. I'm not saying that because you are not getting the results you want you are applying the product incorrectly; some products work just fine regardless of how you apply them, and it is quite true that one product works for one person yet will not work for another. Even so, it may not be working because of the way it's applied. So this article is going to delve into why and how the method of application makes a difference. Actually, in the long run, the effectiveness of a product will depend on whether the ingredients penetrate into your skin deeply enough and in sufficient amounts and whether the ingredients work. Many factors are involved in what happens when you apply something to your skin. For example, temperature, hydration, and environment all play roles. Following are some suggestions to help you get optimal penetration of your skin-care product:
Apply it to Clean Skin
Cleanse first. Always. Apply skin-care products after you get out of a warm shower or bath; your skin is clean, but it is also moist and will better absorb what you apply to it. However, do not wash your skin with hot water because that is one of the principal factors in the aging of skin. Make sure the water is warm but not hot. If the products you are applying are comedogenic, rinse your face in cool water to close the pores before you apply it. Avoid too much exposure to chlorine in the water by getting in and out of your bath quickly.
Apply When the Skin is Moist
The ingredients you are applying will penetrate better if the skin is moist; active ingredients work better when they are dissolved. By the time it has dried, penetration decreases considerably. What this says is apply the lotion, etc., before your dry yourself. If the skin is too wet, and the lotion slides off, just pat it dry with a towel, but don't rub!
Apply When the Skin is Warm
Absorption is greater when the skin is warm. By all means, don't try to apply it to cold skin. If necessary, warm a towel and hold it on your skin for a while before you apply the skin product.
Be Particular About Your Soap
Use a moisturizing soap or shampoo to cleanse your skin. Otherwise, just use warm water.
Use Special Procedures for Aging Skin
The outer layer of the skin is composed mostly of dead cells. If that layer becomes too thick, as it tends to do with aging or poorly maintained skin, the products have trouble penetrating. You can use exfoliating products, but you need to be very careful about overdoing it because you will very likely do more harm than good. A gentle scrub is usually sufficient and is a safe and sensible approach. A facial scrub using table sugar is mild, safe, effective, and refreshing. It will enhance the absorption of the skin-care products you are applying and won't damage the skin. Even so, facial scrubs should not be done more than four times a week.
Applying the Products
Use your middle finger and apply the product in short, firm strokes. Don't stretch the skin and don't rub. Then gently tap the area with your fingers for half a minute.
Did it Work?
It's still difficult to know whether the product has penetrated the skin enough to make a difference. However, perhaps you can test it. Your target for such things as lotion is the dermis, the layer under the surface. Some substances cause a tingling sensation when they reach the dermis, so you can test whether you are reaching the dermis by applying one of those tingling-generating substances to a small area so you can know whether your skin is receptive enough to absorb the ingredients you are applying.
Special Procedures for Sensitive Skin
How do you know if your skin is extra-sensitive? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it get very dry after you wash it with soap?
- Does it get extra oily and break out after you use a moisturizer?
- Does it itch or get red when perfumes touch it?
- Does it get red and itch when you have been in the sun, wind, heat, or cold for a while?
- Do you have acne or psoriasis?
If you answer “yes” to at least three of these, test the products you want to use on the skin on your underarm, which is soft and sensitive. You may need to try several products before you find one that doesn't irritate. Ask your supplier if samples are available.
Your Skin is What You Eat
Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to skin. Keep your system and your skin in good shape by eating a well-rounded raw-foods diet. Applying lotions to healthy skin is much less complicated than if your skin is not being properly nourished by your diet. Include plenty of raw whole grains and lots of vitamin C. Look at the article on aging for raw foods that are good antioxidants–absolutely vital in your quest to keep your skin healthy. Also, consider adding broccoli sprouts. They are a powerhouse of nutrients that will help keep your skin at its best. Also, make certain that any product you use on your skin is natural and organic.
By TTS Cofounder Botanical Chef Omid Jaffari