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Jan 10, 2009
Dermatologists recommend washing the face with soap twice daily, the body once daily - and the hands as often as necessary to keep them sanitary. How do you know which soap is right for you? Soap used to have a bad reputation because of the inclusion of harsh detergents, which stripped oil from the skin. However, that is no longer the case with all soaps anymore.

Before we discuss what skincare routine to follow, you need to know your skin type. To do so, look at your face in a mirror in natural daylight (i.e., outside or near a window) and observe the various areas of your face. In general: Oily skin is shiny - especially along the T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin areas), where oil glands are most prevalent - and tends to break out with pimples. If you have large pores, these may also indicate oiliness. Dry skin feels tight and dehydrated and pores may be very fine. It may also look flaky, and has a rough, papery texture. Normal skin has a uniform texture and tone that only occasionally break out in spots. Combination skin has oily and dry patches: It may be shiny/blemished along the T-zone and scaly around the cheeks.

Once you have determined your skin type, you use this information to pay attention to your specific skincare needs.

If your skin is oily and/or acne-prone, select soaps that contain salicylic acid -- a skin-sloughing beta hydroxy acid that keeps pores unclogged. Similarly, choose products with the pimple-drying ingredient benzoyl peroxide.

For dry skin, stick with gentle, super-fatted soaps, many of which contain up to one-third moisturizers. Pure glycerin soap will also help your skin retain moisture. However, avoid deodorant soaps, which can dry your skin even further.

Those with sensitive skin should opt for hypoallergenic soaps, and avoid perfumed, antibacterial and deodorant soaps, which can be irritating. Try to use very little soap, do not scrub too hard, and make sure to rinse well with cool water (warm or hot water can be drying).

People with normal skin have plenty of options: feed your skin with plant-based soaps, lather up with triple-milled soaps or use a gentle face bar soap that is non-comedogenic (won't clog pores).

Those suffering from windburned, sunburned or chapped skin can calm it with soap rich in soothing glycerin and aloe vera. As much as possible, avoid bars with overpowering fragrances since they can irritate the skin further.

Even when you're partying until the wee hours of the morning or pulling overtime at the office, it's essential to cleanse your face thoroughly before you hit the sack. Ideally, you should wash your face twice a day, put on toner, and moisturize immediately after cleansing your face. By removing makeup and daily grime from your face daily, you can avoid clogged pores and breakouts. However, we don't live in a perfect world and there will be times when you just want to slip into your bed and forget about your beauty ritual.

When you're too tired or there isn't that much time to conduct your full facial regimen, you can save time and effort by using a multipurpose cleanser that'll strip away dirt, oil, and even hard-to-remove makeup like waterproof mascara all at once. You can also try using disposable cloths that you simply moisten (to activate the built-in cleanser) and smooth over your face to lift away the day's dirt.

There are plenty of ways to protect and beautify your face, and establishing a regular beauty regimen is one of them. Start one today and your skin will thank you for it.


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