The American Academy of Dermatology has issued guidance about skin care products that are OK for people with chronic skin problems. Patients with acne or rosacea are typically on a regimen of topical medications to control their symptoms. However, these same individuals may also have secondary skin concerns to address. For example, they will definitely want to wear sun screen to prevent UV damage. A good moisturizer is another must-have item. A product to minimize wrinkles or other cosmetic flaws is often desirable for older individuals. What products keep skin healthy, clear, and attractive?
Keeping the skin’s lipid barrier as intact as possible during washing is critical for reducing dryness and irritation. Gentle, pH balanced cleansers work best. Adult skin is slightly acidic – somewhere in the 5.5 range. So, products that have a pH between 5.5 and neutral (a pH of 7) are usually the closest match for the skin’s natural balance. Here’s a list of common facial cleansers with their pH rating.
A product that is more alkaline tends to be harsh and strips too much oil from the skin. Alcohol is an example of a cleanser ingredient that is alkaline and should be avoided by individuals with sensitive skin. Many bar soaps contain lye which makes them highly alkaline as well. In contrast, ingredients such as salicylic acid are significantly more acidic than normal skin. Mild acids are sometimes recommended for conditions like acne. But using multiple skin care products that are acidic can cause irritation. So, patients should use these only as directed by their dermatologist.
Moisturizers & Sunscreen
Facial cleansers that contain moisturizers can be helpful for keeping skin hydrated. Moisturizing creams and lotions can also be used after washing to keep skin from drying. This is especially beneficial for acne and rosacea patients who are using topical medications that cause dryness as a side effect. Ceramide, HA, and glycerin are other ingredients to look for in a moisturizer. Silicone additives such as Dimethicone that help keep moisture in the skin can be helpful for some patients.
The AAD recommends non-comedogenic, oil-free products for patients with acne. This applies to everything from makeup and moisturizers to sunscreen. Non-greasy spray or gel based sunscreens can also be a good choice for acne sufferers with oily skin. Since rosacea patients are particularly prone to symptom flare-ups after sun exposure, they may want to look for a high SPF rating in their sunscreen. It typically takes some experimentation and consultation with a dermatologist to find the right combination of cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, and cosmetics.