No one has perfect skin, but choosing the perfect products for your skin type is easier than you think. Here, Dr. Joseph Lam, a Vancouver-based clinical assistant professor in paediatrics and dermatology, offers his top tips when it comes to shopping for the right creams, cleansers, and oils.
Natural does not equal better
“There’s an artificial divide between natural and artificial products. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it gets a free pass,” explains Lam. He says poison ivy is a great example — it’s completely natural, but if you put it on your skin you’ll definitely get a bad reaction. Keep this in mind and remember that you can experience an allergic reaction even with natural products, many of which are still being tested for use on the skin. Ever-popular olive oil was shown to cause redness in a recent study, making coconut oil a better choice.
“Free” isn’t always necessary
Always looking for sulphate-free, paraben-free, SLS-free, and whatever the latest “free” trend is? Don’t worry. Lam says despite widespread alarm, not everything that’s taken out of products needs to be. “It’s good to have media and social awareness about what goes into the products we put on our skin, but there’s a gap between science and public perception of many ingredients.”
He assures that concerns over parabens and sulphates aren’t supported by good data, and reminds that if something is removed, it needs to be replaced with something else that may or may not be better.
Opt for something designed with you in mind
What works for your best friend may not perform the same miracles on you, so use common sense and pick products designed with your skin type in mind. For example, if you have sensitive skin or eczema look for products with the Eczema Society of Canada seal of acceptance. Products identified as accepted are free of ingredients known to be irritating for sensitive skin and have undergone dermatologist formulation review.
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