Q. How do you advise patients to select good skincare on a budget?
Proper moisturizer and cleanser selection are important to patients with a variety of dermatoses; however, cost can be a significant consideration. Patients may mistakenly think expensive products are necessary to maintain control of their disease and prevent recurrence. This is not true. Thus, it is important for the dermatologist to educate patients on selecting OTC products that can improve their skin conditions.
The most important selection for any patient is a good cleanser. Skin cleansing is necessary for good hygiene, but excessive detergency can remove the intercellular lipids and induce barrier damage. The least expensive cleansers are bar cleansers, but many dermatologists confuse a bar cleanser with soap. The only soap bar that is currently widely distributed is Ivory soap, which is a poor choice for most patients with skin disease. Any bar cleanser that is labeled a “beauty bar” can be used by most patients.
Liquid cleansers are more expensive per wash than most bar cleansers. They do not necessarily possess less detergency, they are just liquid forms of the bar cleansers. Part of the cleansing ability of a detergent is how much is used. It is easier to dispense too much liquid cleanser and harder to dispense too much bar cleanser. Thus, bar cleansers may be better in some instances.
Finally, the most important part of cleansing is not the cleanser, but the water. Eighty percent of cleansing occurs with water, while the remaining 20% is attributed to the cleanser. The temperature of the water is more important than the cleanser. Hot water will remove more intercellular lipids than cold water. Abundant water will remove more intercellular lipids than sparse water. Minimizing water contact and lowering the temperature is actually more important than cleanser selection.
Q. What is the difference between lower cost and expensive moisturizers?
After cleansing, the second most important skincare purchase is a moisturizer. There may be formulation differences between lower cost and expensive moisturizers. The primary ingredient in any lotion, the most popular moisturizer formulation purchased, is water. Water does not moisturize the skin, but it is important in getting the moisturizing ingredients on the skin and allowing them to spread to a thin layer. Lower-cost lotions may contain more water, meaning the consumer is getting less moisturization for their dollar. It is best not to purchase the least expensive lotion on the shelf.
Conversely, ultra-high-priced moisturizers may contain more elaborate packaging and better product aesthetics, which do not affect skin moisturization. It is probably best to avoid these expensive boutique moisturizers. The best moisturizers are moderately priced; however, I would recommend the brand name over the house generic because the brand named products have been through more tests, which is not typical of house brands. Even though the labels may read the same, the actual concentration and quality of ingredients may differ, allowing the moisturizers to vary significantly in performance.
Q. Are expensive cosmetics better for skin?
This is a simple question to answer. Expensive cosmetics are not better for the skin. The most expensive part of a cosmetic is the packaging and the fragrance, neither of which have any effect on the functioning of the product.
Q. Why may expired sunscreen be ineffective?
Sunscreens are expensive and seem to last forever, probably because they are seldomly used! It is a shame to throw away perfectly good expired sunscreen. Or, is the expired sunscreen not still perfectly good? Simply stated, the expired sunscreen is no good and should be thrown away.