What's Missing From Your Skin Care Routine Quiz?

Staff

What should you use to wash your face?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, using a washcloth or mesh sponge can irritate your skin and cause dryness or breakouts. Use your fingertips and a gentle cleanser, then rinse and pat dry.

What ingredients have been shown to reduce the signs of aging?

Cocoa butter is moisturizing and oat extract can help soothe irritated skin, but only alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) have been shown to help slough away dead skin cells and promote the growth of new, younger-looking skin underneath.

When should you apply face lotion with built-in SPF?

Using a moisturizer with built-in SPF is a good way to make sure that you're protected every day. (Even on cloudy days, you can still be exposed to harmful UV rays.) But to reduce your exposure to unnecessary (and expensive) chemicals, it's better to use a lotion or night cream without SPF before going to bed.

When should you use toner?

If you have oily skin, a toner applied to clean, dry skin can help reduce shine throughout the day. Toners can be irritating and drying, however, so you should apply a moisturizer with built-in SPF immediately afterward -- or skip them altogether.

How often should you change your razor blade or replace a disposable razor?

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests replacing razor blades after five to seven shaves. Be sure to use a shaving cream or lather, and shave in the direction of hair growth.

Which of the following can help reduce facial acne?

Oily hair can be a cause of blocked pores and acne on the face, especially on the forehead and around the hairline. Washing hair once a day can help. (Exposure to sunlight or too-frequent face washing can irritate skin and contribute to more problems.)

How do you know if a new product is safe for you to use on your skin?

Even if your doctor recommends a product, there's no guarantee that you won't have a reaction to one of its ingredients. Choosing a hypoallergenic product also lowers your risk, but the best way to know for sure is to apply a small amount of the product to your inner forearm twice a day for several days. If you don't see any unpleasant side effects, the product should be safe.

If a skin-care product stings, burns or turns your face red, what should you do?

Generally, red and irritated skin is a bad thing. Some prescription-strength products and medications, however, may have this effect -- including those used for anti-aging or anti-acne purposes. Your dermatologist may be able to suggest ways to lessen these side effects, like changing your dosage or staying out of direct sunlight.

What's the most important thing to look for when buying sunscreen?

A sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum" has been shown to protect against both types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB. You should also look for an SPF of 30 or higher, and for the words "water resistant." Sunscreens are no longer allowed to use the terms waterproof or sweatproof, since their effectiveness has not been proven to last if they are not reapplied.

When should you apply body moisturizer?

Damp skin absorbs and locks in moisture better than dry skin, so it's best to use cream or lotion right after bathing.

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About This Quiz

You wash your face and slather on moisturizer, but is that enough to maintain healthy, problem-free skin? Test your skin-care know-how and get creative ideas for keeping your complexion clean and clear.

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