What are you putting on your face?

I really hope this doesn’t come as a dread surprise to readers, but I want you to know that dermatologists are not trained (or necessarily versed) in knowing a lot about what cosmetics you should or shouldn’t use, or how. There are times when I would suggest you defer to the wisdom of the receptionist at your dermatologist’s office, rather than the doctor, about this stuff. I will say, though, that there some tidbits to keep in mind from a derm perspective any time you’re talking cosmetics:

  • Glitter and sparkle anywhere other than your lips are not your friends if you’re fighting wrinkles. There are some really snazzy shadows in the cosmetics aisle these days, and they’re tempting, but if you’re of a certain age—that is, if you have a certain amount of wrinkles on your eyelids—they’re not your friend. These products tend to settle into wrinkles and draw attention to them.
  • Foundations with SPF are gold. Whether you go with a tinted moisturizer or a traditional foundation, make-up with built-in SPF power is your friend. If your make-up doesn’t have SPF in it, then you need to apply sunscreen first—and because many sunscreens are greasy, makeup doesn’t tend to apply well over them.
  • Notice how sulfate-free shampoos have become all the rage? Consider them for your skin cleansers, too, if you’re particularly prone to acne. If you wash with cleansers that contain sulfates—an ingredient that produces foamy lather—you can develop a film on your face that contributes to pimples and blackheads.
  • Wash away your cosmetics every night. Your skin needs to be free and clear of the day’s accumulations in order to do what it needs to do at night—rebuild and refresh.
  • Over-the-counter can be just fine, but if you have very sensitive skin, look into dermatologic cosmetics, which offer a more sophisticated understanding of cosmetics in the context of skincare.

Last but not least, always remember that cosmetics aren’t what make you pretty. They’re what make you feel pretty. There’s nothing trite about saying what bears repeating: Beauty really does lie within.