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Every woman I know thinks the same thing come spring-time to go out and play! But visions of a re-activated lifestyle and the accompanying healthy glow soon give way to a less pleasant vision of seriously aggravated skin. Fine lines look a little less fine, and that glow has mutated into blotchy discoloration. The very things that are good for our minds and bodies can do a number on our skin without the proper antidote.
The summer heat combined with outdoor activity has us in a constant panic over those ever-present oil slicks. Since we spend so much time trying to banish excess oil, it’s easy to assume our skin needs anything but more. And we’re right-sort of. It doesn’t need more oil, but our skin still needs moisture. The heat and sun actually dehydrate skin, and over-producing oil is the body’s way of trying to remedy the problem.
Using a quality oil-free moisturizer helps our bodies find the right balance. A good oil-free moisturizer will plump up lines and wrinkles, while helping to keep the skin hydrated throughout the day. The result: our oil glands kick it down a notch. In addition, most oil-free moisturizers are non-comedogenic, helping reduce break-outs.
Of course, not all oil-free moisturizers are created equal. Some hydration is better than none, but if the product uses inferior, artificial ingredients, they can further aggravate skin. If an oil-free moisturizer is loaded with chemical irritants, from dyes and fragrances to preservatives and harsh additives, the overall effect is counter-productive.
On the flip side, the right oil-free moisturizer can offer fringe benefits. Look for products with quality, all-natural ingredients designed to soothe skin as they moisturize (keeping in mind that nature produces poison ivy, so plant-based doesn’t automatically equal good for you).
One of the most important fringe benefits, but potential irritants, is sun protection. Even though we all conscientiously slather on the SPF when we go out for a day in the sun, we forget how much sun exposure happens in the course of a normal, errand-running day. It adds up to years of direct exposure to aging, cancer-causing UVA/UVB rays and free radicals. While you may not need a thick coat of high-octane sunscreen, you need something.
The easiest solution is a combo oil-free moisturizer and sunscreen. However, many products rely on chemical sunscreens to avoid a heavy, chalky look and feel. These chemicals are highly irritating to many skin types, and may contribute to flare-ups and break-outs. Oil-free moisturizers that employ micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, mineral particles that create a physical barrier, are ideal and won’t look or feel heavy. Â Zinc oxide acts as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and has been shown to sooth and rejuvenate the skin, while titanium dioxide is considered by the FDA to be one of the most effective natural sunscreens.Â
Oil-free moisturizers are a dime a dozen, but finding a product with all the benefits and none of the irritants can be tricky.
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