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Washing more than twice daily may trick your skin into producing more oil, the very thing you are trying to avoid.
When you were in school you had to learn your ABCs.
But, now that you're all grown up, there's a new alphabet for you to learn - a version that holds the key to a lifetime of healthy-looking skin.
The new alphabet consists of C, M and T, for Cleanse, Moisturize and Treat. If you adhere to this daily formula, your skin will look its best at every age.
C IS FOR CLEANSE: If your skin is dry or sensitive, soap-free is your buzzword.
Many soap-free cleansers come in lotion form and cleanse the skin of daily dirt, grime and impurities. A new one, CeraVe, goes further to help hydrate the skin and replenish its outer layer with ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid. If you prefer cleansing bars, check out Neutrogena, Basis or Purpose. They also are soap-free and won't irritate sensitive, dry skin.
If your skin is oily or has an oily T-zone, don't make the mistake of over-washing. Washing more than twice daily may trick your skin into producing more oil, the very thing you are trying to avoid. Try Olay Total Effects Age Defying Cleansing Cloths, or Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleansing Pads, which perform double duty, gently exfoliating while cleansing away makeup and daily grime.
Your dermatologist may also carry a line of niacin-based products called NIA 24. Try the Gentle Cleansing Cream for cleansing with a plus - the niacin helps reduce hyperpigmentation, even skin tone and texture, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
M IS FOR MOISTURIZE: An integral part of your daily skincare routine is moisturizing, not just your face, but your body as well.
Winning combos in moisturizers are those that provide the added benefit of sun protection. Look for an SPF of 15 or higher. Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Parsol 1789 and SPF 15 is great for sensitive skin and protects from harmful UVA and UVB sunrays.
MOISTURIZER BENEFIT Today's moisturizers can also offer many other benefits for your skin.
Look for products such as L'Oréal Dermo-Expertise RevitaLift Complete Multi-Action Treatment Cream, SPF 18. It helps firm and moisturize while offering protection from the sun. Obagi's NuDerm System is physician-prescribed with your particular skin needs in mind.
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is an excellent choice to apply at night.
T IS FOR TREAT: A huge selection of great products is available these days to treat your skin and meet your varying needs, from firming and whitening to fading and wrinkle-fighting.
Just remember to apply your treatment products to your skin after cleansing and moisturizing. Medicalia has more than 40 products that can be customized into a regimen that suits your particular skin's needs.
If your dermatologist has prescribed an acne product or a topical cream for rosacea or eczema, apply it as the last step in your skincare regimen.
Check out Alpha Hydrox Fade Cream to help lighten brown spots, or, if your skin could use a boost of tightening and firming, try Cellex-C Skin Firming Cream Plus or Cellex-C Advanced-C Skin Tightening Cream.
THE EYES HAVE IT Don't forget your eyes - they'll give away your age faster than any other part of your face. There are many good products from which to choose. Ask your dermatologist for a few suggestions.
Don't forget - your new alphabet is important to your total look. Your dermatologist is your ally in helping you choose the best products for your skin type.