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How to Select Cosmetics that Benefit the Skin

People assume that cosmetics are for looks only but today's cosmetics are doing much more than making faces more beautiful. This article gives brief descriptions of what to look for and gives tips for selecting the best cosmetics.

These days you watch your diet, you exercise more and you strive to keep your body healthy and strong. So shouldn’t you do the same for your skin? Cosmetic manufactures have answered this question by creating makeup products that do more than beautify the face. They soothe, smooth, heal and protect.

Whether you suffer from oily skin, acne or are just searching for that perfect wrinkle-fighter -- here’s what to look for:

These amino acids act as messengers, instructing our cells to produce more collagen and relax facial muscles. They’re often combined with copper which helps preserve elastic-like fibers and boosts firmness.  Makeup products that contain copper peptides are also valuable in minimizing the appearance of scars and enlarged pores.

Certain vitamins act as antioxidants and help destroy free radicals that break down collagen - a major source causing wrinkles, age spots and sagging. Vitamin A preserves smooth skin texture and helps blemishes heal faster. Vitamin C is not only vital in the elimination of toxins, it also helps the skin retain moisture by supporting the oil-secreting glands. Vitamin E stimulates healthy skin cell production which slows the signs of aging.

Sun Protection
Makeup formulas that contain sunscreen shield the skin’s top layer from UV rays that cause discoloration and the formation of fine lines. Choose an SPF of 20 or higher for all-over face protection and at least 15 for lip colors. Also look for foundations or powders that contain titanium dioxide, a natural ingredient that helps prevent sunburn.

Salicylic Acid
Several makeup lines now include this standard blemish fighter in low doses, designed to augment other acne treatments without causing too much irritation. Salicylic acid helps clear pores, dries out existing pimples and exfoliates dead skin cells. Natural or organic products might contain willow bark extract, a milder source of salicin and a good alternative for sensitive skin.

Lots of minerals benefit the skin in many different ways.  Kaolin effectively covers skin imperfections and reduces inflammation caused by acne breakouts. Silica absorbs sebum and helps makeup smooth on evenly. Zinc oxide minimizes redness and also offers protection from UV rays. Sulfur is a natural detoxifier and helps build collagen.

Plant Products
Chamomile contains an essential oil that's helpful in reducing the inflammation and redness associated with acne and rosacea. Cucumber eliminates swelling and unhealthy fluid retention and is especially soothing for people with sensitive skin. Seaweed and algae boost skin moisture and are great sources of vitamins A, C, E and the mineral, zinc.

Found in the surface layer of the skin, ceramides are one of the skin’s natural lubricants. They prevent water loss, improve texture and reduce the discoloration that comes with aging or damaged skin.

Aloe calms irritated skin, helps heal blemishes and adds natural moisture without clogging pores. Glycerin is a gentle hydrating agent that softens the surface of the skin without making it feel greasy. Argan oil is a powerful wrinkle-fighter as well as an effective antibacterial ingredient and is considered an excellent makeup additive for acne sufferers who also struggle with dry, flaky skin.

Natural Preservatives
Paraben preservatives are traditionally included in most cosmetics to resist bacteria and prolong the shelf life, but numerous studies point to a possible link between parabens, breast cancer and endocrine disruption. Products like dry mineral powder or oil-based lipsticks are particularly well-suited for natural alternatives such as grape seed extract, grape fruit extract or vitamin E.

Cosmetic experts caution that even healthful makeup ingredients can cause unpleasant reactions in sensitive skin. The key is to try several different formulas, to determine which ones offer the best results. They also suggest that more concentrated anti-aging creams, moisturizers and medications may be necessary for challenging skin issues.

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