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How to Choose Facial Products

It's important to choose skin-care products carefully -- not only to protect against dryness and wrinkles, but also to prevent skin cancer. This is especially true for your face, which is more exposed to the elements than any other part of your body.

Dr. Neal Schultz, a dermatologist in New York City, recommends four protective elements as part of your skin-care regimen: sunscreen, antioxidants, exfoliants, and collagen stimulators. He explains how to choose each of these products.

Sunscreen
The risks of UV rays are well-known, but many people still don't make a habit of wearing sunscreen. Dr. Schultz suggests applying sunscreen every morning after cleansing and before moisturizing your face. Most people should look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 to 30 and UVA or broad spectrum protection.

Topical Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect skin against the damaging UV rays that get past sunscreen. They also repair skin that has already been damaged. Dr. Schultz recommends Vitamin C-based topical antioxidants.

Exfoliants
Exfoliants make skin smoother and restore luster to dull skin. They make enlarged pores appear smaller, help prevent breakouts, and fade any brown spots. It's best to use a gentle, chemical-based exfoliant with glycolic or salicylic acid.

Collagen Stimulator
Collagen stimulators, also called collagen builders, help reduce lines and wrinkles, and they restore lost volume to make skin firmer. You can purchase moisturizers with collagen stimulators. Important ingredients to look for include peptides or beech tree extract.

When to Use It
Morning
1. Cleanser and toner
2. Sunscreen
3. Collagen stimulator and/or moisturizer

Evening
1. Cleanser and toner
2. Exfoliant
3. Topical antioxidant
4. Collagen stimulator and/or moisturizer

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