Top 10 Cosmetic Do's and Don'ts
For most women, "putting on their face" (a.k.a. applying cosmetics)
is an important step in their morning routine. However, for those with
sensitive skin, this beauty transformation can prove to be tricky as
they do their best to avoid cosmetic irritation and unsightly
breakouts. While some of these women feel the need to steer clear of
make-up altogether, the solution to protecting their sensitive side
could lie in following some simple cosmetic suggestions and reminders.
Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology's 2003 Annual
Meeting, dermatologist Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, Clinical Associate
Professor of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine,
Winston-Salem, NC, discussed dermatologists' best cosmetic bets for
keeping sensitive skin looking and feeling its best.
"Understanding the make-up of cosmetics can really pay off when it
comes to protecting sensitive skin," said Dr. Draelos. "Women should
know what type of ingredients to look for when they're purchasing
products at beauty counters or drugstores, as well as know how to
properly use those cosmetics once they bring them home." To determine
which cosmetic products are best for sensitive skin, Dr. Draelos offers
the following recommendations:
1. Choose powder when possible
Powder cosmetics are
not only great at removing shine, they have very few preservatives and
contain minimal ingredients that can cause skin irritation. This means
powder cosmetics are much less likely to cause problems for women with
sensitive skin than their liquid counterparts.
2. Avoid waterproof cosmetics
cosmetics, such as mascara, are great for tearful moments, they require
a solvent to remove them that also removes sebum, the oily substance
made by the sebaceous glands in the skin. Without this oily barrier,
skin is exposed to potential irritants that can cause a beauty breakout.
3. Throw out old cosmetics
"Women should keep track
of cosmetic expiration dates and throw out any items that have passed
their peak," cautioned Dr. Draelos. "Old make-up products may have
spoiled or become contaminated, a particularly important point when it
comes to eye products." A few standard product life spans include: one
year for foundation and lipstick; three-to-four months for mascara; and
two years for powder and shadows. It is also important to wash make-up
brushes and sponges regularly since they can harbor dirt and germs that
will aggravate sensitive skin.
4. Use black-colored eyeliner and mascara products
Women with sensitive skin will find that dramatic black is best when it
comes to eyeliner and mascara product colors. Dermatologists feel that
black is the least allergenic of all colorants.
5. Use pencil eyeliner and eyebrow fillers
to Dr. Draelos, "Pencil eyeliner and eyebrow pencils are wax-basedand
contain pigment and minimal preservatives. They are much less likely
tocause problems than liquid eyeliners that contain latex and may cause
problems in latex-sensitive individuals." The pencil forms of these
cosmetics are also water removable, making them easier on the surface
of the skin.
6. Stick to earth-toned eye shadows
tones, such as tan, cream, white or beige, seem to cause less
upper-eyelid irritation in women with sensitive or itchy eyes. "It is
possible that the higher concentration of pigments in darker colors
like navy blue can cause an adverse reaction in women with sensitive
skin," speculated Dr. Draelos.
7. Check sunscreen ingredients
recommend daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection
Factor 15 or higher. For women with sensitive skin, this sunscreen
should only contain the physical sunscreen ingredients zinc oxide or
titanium dioxide. Unlike chemical sunscreen agents which absorb UV
rays, it is impossible to be allergic to physical sunscreen ingredients
since they deflect the rays rather than absorb them.
8. Use products that contain no more than 10 ingredients
Simply stated, the fewer ingredients in a product, the less likely it
is that the product will cause a problem.
9. Avoid nail polishes
In addition to being easily
smudged and chipped, wet nail polish can be transferred to a person's
eyes and face before it dries. This casual transfer can cause problems
for women with sensitive skin if they find the polish irritating or
have an allergic reaction to any of the components of the polish.
10. Use foundations based on silicone
While powder is
preferred to protect sensitive skin, women choosing a liquid foundation
should look for one with a silicone base. Liquid facial foundations
based on silicone do not cause acne, and silicone has a very low
incidence of skin irritation.
According to Dr. Draelos, "Beauty products are a great way to
enhance a woman's appearance, but if you have sensitive skin and are
finding thatcosmetics do more harm than good, your best course of
action is to consult with a dermatologist who can help determine the
right beauty regimen for you."