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How effective are Your Skin Care Products?

Posted Jan 26 2009 1:56pm 1 Comment

You may ask yourself from time to time whether the skincare products you are using are actually providing you with what you are looking for. You may also ask yourself, well, how would you know?

 

As banal as these questions may seem, they are actually important questions for you to ask, because while most skin care products provide that ‘moisturized’ feel and look, they may well not be doing much more for your skin.

 

So, how do you know whether the products are doing a superficial job or whether they are doing more for your skin than is initially obvious?

There are several factors to look for:

  1. Did you get some sort of skin reaction when you first started to use the products?
  2. Has your skin’s look and feel improved over the first 3 months of using the products?
  3. What happens to your skin if you do not continue using the products for several weeks?

 

These basic and simple questions have some fairly complex underlying meanings. For example the answer to the first question will tell you whether or not your skin care products are in fact doing what they’re supposed to.

 

You might ask what sort of reaction am I looking for and how can I tell whether the reaction my skin is having is a positive one? Fair question.

 

The key is that you should see some reaction, for example your skin may react by going slightly red for a little while. Why is this good? Because ingredients such as Rose oil, for example, is intended to stimulate blood circulation - so if your checks flush after using a cream that contains the essential oil of Rose, than that is a positive reaction. What you are seeing is the actions on your skin from one of the ingredients in your product.

 

Similarly, if your skin starts to peal after using a product that contains Papaya extract for a few days, again your seeing the AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), naturally contained in the Papaya fruit, working on removing the dead skin layers of your skin - again, that is a good thing.

 

In some cases, the skin will react quite strongly to the input of some ingredients. This is where things get a little more complicated, because at this point it may be more difficult to tell whether the reaction is a positive or negative one.

 

So let’s look at this type of reaction a little more closely.

Firstly there are two different types of negative reactions you may experience with a product.

  1. An instant reaction to applying a product to your skin that elicits an allergic type of response. That is, within a very short period of time after applying the product, your skin becomes red, itchy, possibly puffy and irritating.
  2. Over a period of days after using the products your skin becomes irritated and the longer you continue using the product the worse your skin becomes.

 

These two reactions are of a different type. The first, which is instantaneous, is probably an allergic reaction to at least one ingredient contained in the product (this is an over-active immune response).

 

The second reaction is an increasing intolerance to an ingredient; much like the lactose intolerance we hear and read about. It is initially not a problem, but increasingly your skin is reacting to a particular chemical (natural or not). This type of reaction is one of intolerance, similar to contact dermatitis.

 

These types of reactions may be experienced by people irrespective of whether the product they are using is natural or not. Strawberries, peanuts, cow’s milk, etc., are all natural, but some people do have negative reactions to them ranging from very mild to very severe and possibly even life threatening.

 

However, while the second reaction is more obviously a negative reaction, the first may not be. Let me explain. IF you are using a product that is 100% natural (or very, very close to 100%) than it is possible that the herbal ingredients, and/or essential oils may be working on correcting a problem. To find out whether the reaction is an allergic reaction and therefore a negative reaction or not you need to stop using the product and do a ‘ Skin Patch Test ’. (Read: ‘ How to do a Skin Patch Test ’.)


If the Skin Patch Test is positive, then you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the product and you need to stop using it. However, if the Test is negative, that is, you do not get any skin reaction during the time of the testing then there are several possible causes for your skin’s reaction.

  1. You may be using excessive amounts of the product on your facial skin (too much of a good thing can be bad);
  2. Your facial skin is particularly sensitive to one of the ingredients and is ‘rebelling’ to that ingredient. Similar to the example of the contact dermatitis, but the reaction is localized to the facial skin or parts of your facial skin such as the skin around the eyes, for example;
  3. Your skin is actually changing for the better, but is doing so in a rather strong way. In natural medicine this is known as a ‘healing crisis’. That is, the reaction, while positive, is excessive and needs to occur more slowly.

 

Try using less of the products less often and see if the skin’s reaction changes. If the reaction continues to occur, then it’s highly probably that your skin is reacting adversely to one or more of the ingredients and therefore you should stop using that product.

 

However, if the reactions stop, then the product is probably doing what it needs to do and your skin will undergo some positive changes over a period of time and become healthier.

 

Has your skin’s look and feel improved over the first 3 months of using the products?

This is probably much easier to answer - Yes, or No. If the answer is Yes - then the products are probably good, they appear to be working for you and that’s all you need to establish. If the answer is No - than, the products are just ‘pretenders’ and are doing little more than nothing. I say ‘probably good’ and ‘appear to be working’, because they may not be...Why, we’ll look at that in the next section.

 

Products that are working on the health of your skin should make an obvious difference and if they are not, than their effectiveness is zero. Change your brand and look for products that are obviously improving the health of your skin.

 

What happens to your skin if you do not continue using the products for several weeks?

 

This ties in with the previous question - Has your skin’s look and feel improved over time?

Let me explain. Some products have ingredients (usually isolated and probably synthetic ones) that will cause certain, apparently positive, reactions in your skin. Your skin will appear to have fewer wrinkles, look smoother and therefore appear to be healthier. BUT, and this is a biggie, if you stop using that product, not only will the wrinkles reappear, but usually they will be worse, deeper and more in number. Why?

 

This is because the product’s ingredients do not have a lasting effect. Its action is time limited and if you do not continue to reapply it, it will no longer be effective. In other words it’s ‘fixed’ nothing - it’s like symptom relief. We call these types of products fillers. They temporarily plump up the skin to smooth it out, but have no long-term beneficial effects.

 

So if you discontinue using your products and notice a change in your skin for the worse, chances are high that the products you are using are actually not beneficial, but detrimental to the health of your skin, because they’re just covering up the symptoms.

 

As you can see, finding products that work well and have a positive impact on your skin is not as easy as one might think and we all need to be careful that we’re not lead down the garden path as to their long-term effectiveness.

 

Using 100% natural skin and personal care products that contain several herbs, essential oils and other nutritive ingredients is a step in the right direction. The next step is to make sure that your skin will not react negatively to the ingredients and finally the effectiveness of the products needs to be established. This is done simply by actually seeing results over time and getting positive comments from other people.

 

Lastly, as the skin ages, its requirements change and as a result your choice of skin and personal care products should complement these changes. So, you need to stay aware of the needs of your skin and respond as necessary by including natural skin care products that are specifically formulated for ageing and mature skin.

 

Following the steps outlined above and thinking about the questions this articles has addressed you should be able to take the necessary steps to optimize the health and wellbeing of your skin with suitable products.

 

Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.

They practice Herbal and Chinese medicine at their Wildcrafted Cottage Clinic.

© Copyright: 2004 - 2009, Wildcrafted Herbal Products Pty Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide

Comments (1)
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i think, Ayurvedic skin care products are always good for skin. I am using Chandra Ayurveidc Skin Care products and find them really effective for my skin type.
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