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Good skin care can make a world of difference


By Maria Geist

Modern beauty standards demand a lot of women, not the least of which is beautiful skin. We’ve all seen the commercials – acne cream, wrinkle cream, cream for age spots and cream for cellulite. Got a skin problem? There’s a cream for it!

It can be hard for consumers differentiate between a great value and a bottle of snake oil. Amber Foster, a professional esthetician for seven years, helps women and men get back that healthy glow they may not have seen since their preteen years.

Common skin concerns consumers often seek help for include rosacea, acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging issues such as wrinkles, loss of elasticity and dark spots.

Foster, who does facials, waxing, makeup and body treatments at LaVida Massage in Gainesville, Va., evaluates her clients skin, then creates a personalized skin-care regimen for them that details a.m. and p.m. care, including instructions for cleansing, toning and exfoliating.

But Foster also has some general advice most people find useful, even without an individual evaluation.

“Certain products are bad for everyone,” Foster said, warning against the use of mineral oil, petroleum products, sulfates, washcloths or granular scrubs.

Mineral oil and petroleum form a barrier on the skin, but they can also seal in dirt and bacteria, aggravating conditions such as acne. Sulfates, like washcloths and granular scrubs, are abrasive and can cause dryness, redness and itching and can exacerbate the appearance of rosacea.

Once you make the adjustments to get your skin back in great shape, it’s time for some enhancements.

Trying out different looks with makeup can be a fun way to help boost your self-esteem. Many people enjoy sampling a new lipstick shade or eyeliner from their neighborhood drug store. Once you know what look you’re going for, you can consider splurging on a higher-quality product sold in department stores. Foster’s favorite is Jane Iredale makeup, a line made with no paraffins or fillers.

Another popular product is cream made from the retinol family – vitamin A and plant stem cell serums. Applied in the morning and at night, they can help to plump up skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. These topical treatments can be purchased at a number of outlets and used at home.

Many women and men also look to hair removal products to improve their appearance. Most use a razor, but this can be a daily chore that can result in redness and itchy rashes. Depilatories can work better, but some people prefer the ease and longer-lasting results of waxing. Foster says she prefers Nufree wax, a soy-based product that doesn’t harbor bacteria so you are less likely to get bumps or rashes after treatment.

Proper skin care and treatment of problem areas can make a definite improvement in the appearance of your skin, which often translates to a greater sense of well-being and higher self-esteem, so don’t suffer in silence – put your best face forward!

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