Skin Care and Cosmetics 101


For most women, makeup is the one gift you will definitely score points with. Give her a Sephora gift card, and you’ve just sealed your friendship for life. From lipstick to concealer, every woman has her favorite product. However, many of us tend to focus so much on the makeup aspect of cosmetics that we forget about basic skin care. If we adhered to important skin care routines, many makeup products would not even be necessary. How can we get our skin to achieve that perfect glow? How can we prevent it from looking like it is aging? What ingredients can be harmful to our skin? How do we take proper care of our skin?

I am going to cover the basics of skincare and cosmetic ingredients so you can apply them to your daily life, starting now. There are many stories and ideas out there on the internet, but we’re going to sift out the true facts from the information overload.

One of the most important steps of skin care is exfoliation. It only takes a few minutes, yet the results are worth years of anti-aging. First of all, make sure to exfoliate your face and neck every night. Exfoliating removes dead skin, helps blood circulation, and leaves room for new, glowing skin to appear and reach the surface. If you do not own an exfoliator, don’t worry—mix lemon juice and sugar together, and scrub your face with that. The lemon works as an antibacterial, and the sugar exfoliates to remove the dead skin.

Moisturize every morning and night. As we age, our skin begins to produce less collagen, which eventually leads to wrinkles and aged skin. Moisturizing can help improve elasticity and contribute to your skin’s much-needed moisture. There is a moisturizer for every skin type: from oily skin, to combination skin, to super dry skin. It does not make a difference if you are prone to breakouts, or have very dry skin. All skin types need moisturizer to stay glowing and young.

And, by the way, your mom was right. Drink that water! Or change it up with some freshly squeezed lemon water. The lemon’s properties flush out toxins from your body, and the antioxidants contribute to your skin’s overall health, leading to radiant and glowing skin.

I’m sure you are tired of hearing this, but seriously, apply sunscreen every morning. Besides protecting your skin from skin cancer, you will avoid premature age spots and skin aging.

When it comes to food, we check carefully to make sure it contains ingredients which are good for us, and that the harmful ingredients are left out; but when it comes to makeup, many women do not realize what they are putting on their skin.  Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to cosmetic ingredients, not everything we put on the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, but there is a reason we need to remove our makeup at night. Your skin acts as a barrier; it protects your bloodstream from absorbing many chemicals, at least in high amounts. (And some chemicals are filtered out of our body through other means.) However, there are chemicals that make it past your skin and can enter your blood stream. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry, and have an idea of which ones can be harmful, so you can stay away from products which can potentially be detrimental to your health.

The long-term effects of certain chemicals, which are commonly found in makeup, range from birth defects to cancer. Specifically, phthalates, in high doses, are believed to be linked with birth defects, kidney problems, liver damage, and altered pregnancy states. Talc has been associated with asthma, respiratory problems, and ovarian cancer. Parabens have been linked with certain types of breast cancer cell growth, and have been found present in breast tumors. Triclosan has been associated with endocrine disruption and the ability to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Now that you know a little more about what is in your skincare products and makeup, it is up to you to use your best judgment to take care of your health. There’s no clear-cut answer when it comes to cosmetic ingredients, but we can do our best to stay educated, prevent harmful effects, and stay healthy!