Minggu, 30 November 2008

Keep Your Mouth Clean

Taking good care of your mouth and teeth throughout your whole life can help prevent problems as you get older. Taking care of your teeth means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist regularly.

Infants and children
The first set of teeth is already almost completely formed at birth. At first these teeth are "hiding" under the gums. These teeth are important, because after they come in, they let your baby chew food, make a nice smile and talk well. You baby's first set of teeth also holds the space where permanent teeth will eventually be. They help permanent teeth grow in straight.

You can care for your baby's teeth by following these suggestions:
* Clean the new teeth every day. When the teeth first come in, clean them by rubbing them
gently with a clean wet washcloth. When the teeth are bigger, use a child's toothbrush.
* Children under 2 years of age shouldn't use toothpaste. Instead, use water to brush your child's
* Don't let your baby go to sleep with a bottle. This can leave milk or juice sitting on the teeth
and cause cavities that are known as "baby-bottle tooth decay."
* Encourage older children to eat low-sugar snacks, such as fruits, cheese and vegetables. Avoid
giving your child sticky, chewy candy.
* Teach your children how to brush their teeth and the importance of keeping their teeth clean.
* Take your children to the dentist regularly. The American Dental Association recommends that
children see their dentist starting at 1 year of age.

Taking good care of your mouth and teeth will help you have pleasant breath, a nice smile and fewer cavities. Here are some simple things you can do:
* Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
* Floss your teeth at least once a day.
* Don't smoke or chew tobacco, which can stain your teeth, give you bad breath and cause
* Wear the right protective headgear while playing contact sports.
* See your dentist every year for regular check-ups and cleanings.

Continuing good mouth and tooth care as an adult can help you avoid tooth loss, painful gums or other problems. Here are some helpful things you can do:
* Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
* Floss your teeth at least once a day.
* Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
* Ask your doctor if your medicines have side effects that might damage your teeth. (For
example, some medicines may cause you to have a dry mouth.)
* Look inside your mouth regularly for sores that don't heal, irritated gums or other changes.
* See your dentist regularly.

If you have any problems with your teeth or concerns about your mouth, see your doctor or dentist right away. (familydoctor.org/online)

Kamis, 27 November 2008

Water for Life

How much should you drink every day? Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids. A simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.
Though no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Health benefits of water
Water is your body's principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired

How much water do you need?
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Several approaches attempt to approximate water needs for the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate.
* Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day.
You lose close to an additional liter of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel
movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2
liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet,
you will typically replace the lost fluids.
* Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Another approach to water intake is the "8 x 8 rule" -
drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The rule could also be stated,
"drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," as all fluids count toward the daily total. Though
the approach isn't supported by scientific evidence, many people use this basic rule as a
guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink.
* Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3
liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of
total beverages a day.

Even apart from the above approaches, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.

Factors that influence water needs
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
* Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink
extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5
cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than
an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional
fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, the duration of your exercise
and the type of activity you're engaged in.

During long bouts of intense exercise, it's best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as
this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia,
which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you're finished exercising.

* Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of
fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further,
altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more
rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
* Illnesses or health conditions. Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, cause
your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases you should drink more water and may even
need oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. Also, you may need
increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary
tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of
kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you
limit your fluid intake.
* Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional
fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute
of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily
and women who breast-feed consume 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) of fluids a day.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water
Although it's a great idea to keep water within reach at all times, you don't need to rely only on what you drink to satisfy your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake, while the remaining 80 percent comes from water and beverages of all kinds.
For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent to 100 percent water by weight. Beverages such as milk and juice also are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages - such as coffee, tea or soda - can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is one of your best bets because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.
Staying safely hydrated.
It's generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you become thirsty, it's possible to already be slightly dehydrated. Further, be aware that as you get older your body is less able to sense dehydration and send your brain signals of thirst. Excessive thirst and increased urination can be signs of a more serious medical condition. Talk to your doctor if you experience either.
To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. Nearly every healthy adult can consider the following:

* Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
* Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
* Substitute sparkling water for alcoholic drinks at social gatherings.

If you drink water from a bottle, thoroughly clean or replace the bottle often.
Though uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who consume an average American diet.
If you're concerned about your fluid intake, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that's best for you. (www.mayoclinic.com)

Rabu, 26 November 2008

How Soft your hand?

The care should be taken about these useful hands. The condition of the hands depends on the care you give them. For many people especially housewives and manual workers, the hands are the most overworked and ill-used part of the body.
They are exposed to all kinds of wear and tear due to the effects of temperature, climate, frequent wetting, onslaughts of harsh chemicals and due to the risk of minor injury and subsequent infection. Yet the care of the hands is often completely overlooked until, say, the skin becomes rough and cracked or a nail is broken.

Get into the habit of giving yourself a weekly manicure , which will make your hands look good
along with helping them to combat annoying problems like chipping, splitting, peeling and cracking. Manicure is the care of hands, nails and arms. It prevents nail damage like fragile tips, splits.

Pedicure is the care of feet, legs and toe nails. Its purpose is to make the skin soft and smooth.
Here are a few ways in which you can take care of your hands better!

Hand Massage
To stimulate circulation, rub your palm over the back of the hand and then repeat with the other hand. This movement is very similar to washing your hands and it does not only stimulate circulation but it also warms the hands.

Silky and Soft Hands
Before you go to bed, lavish on the Vaseline or moisturizing cream and then pop on a pair of cotton gloves. Your hands will be incredibly soft by morning.

Too much water and chemicals
Get into the habit of wearing rubber gloves when you do any cleaning around the house.
Why? Cleaning agents can be extremely harsh on both nails and hands. The nails when exposed to water swell and then shrink back as they dry. This contributes to brittle nails.

Tips for taking care of hands:
* Apply olive oil on your hands.
* Apply the juice of cucumber juice and glycerine on your hands.
* Mix olive oil and lime juice and apply on your hands.
* Make a paste of tomato juice, glycerine and lime juice in equal proportion and apply on your
* Massage with almond oil a night to glow your hands.
* Apply a paste of ground almonds, milk cream and few drops of glycerine and lemon juice for
* Soak your hands in water in which potatoes have been boiled.
* One effective method is to rib warm boiled water and mashed potatoes on hands and finger
* Make a mixture of Vaseline and carbolic acid and rub in on your hands.
* Hands can be softened by taking a mixture of orange juice and honey.
* Mix rose water and glycerine and apply on your hands with cotton.

Home care Tips for Soft and Beautiful Hands
You can give an instant refresh treatment to your hands at home by soaking your dry hands in warm olive oil. Fill a teacup with the warmed oil, dip in your fingers and let them soak for a few minutes. When you remove them rub the oil into your hands and allow as much of it as possible to be absorbed before rinsing away the excess. Also, you can smother your hands with rich cold creams. (www.free-makeup-tips.com)

Selasa, 25 November 2008

Nice Legs

Leg care should be an important part of your overall health regime. Our legs help us get to work; play with our children, and exercise. Without them life is a lot more difficult. It's not hard to practice healthy leg care. Follow these steps and you'll have healthy and happy legs.

* Exercise regularly. Engaging in a regular exercise program is one of the best things you can do to ensure healthy legs. Exercise gets the blood pumping and flowing properly which is very important for circulation. Poor circulation can lead to varicose veins and other more serious problems.

*Move around more often. Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can lead to blood clots. Practicing healthy leg care by moving around when working at your desk or taking long trips is the easiest way to avoid blood clots in the legs.

* Eat a healthy diet. Plaque can build up in arteries and veins when you eat too much fat and cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet is a very important step in healthy leg care. Getting plaque buildup in an artery or vein in the leg is another cause of blood clots. Eating right and exercising will ward off plaque buildup and keep your legs healthy.

* Wear compression socks or support hose if you work on your legs for long periods of time. Healthy leg care is harder to achieve when you are on your feet all day long, but it's not impossible. Compression socks and support hose help with circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots. Use them as directed by your doctor to keep your legs healthy.

* Practice healthy leg care after surgery. During surgery small blood clots can form. If you don't move around after the operation you run the risk of the blood clots traveling and getting stuck in your legs, causing a blood clot. These can be life threatening. It's important to move around as much as possible after surgery. If you can't move on you own, there are devices the hospital can employ to keep the blood flowing correctly. Always ask about your options and do what's best for your health.

* Stop smoking. Smoking can lead to hardening of the arteries, which in turn can lead to blood clots. You will also be able to exercise more after you stop smoking because breathing is easier. Stopping smoking is part of healthy leg and overall body care.

Taking care of your legs should be a top priority. An overall healthy life style that includes exercise and proper eating habits is the best way to ensure healthy legs. Keep your legs healthy and there's no telling where they'll take you.
Adam Leeds is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn more about leg care, please visit Leg Beauty Tips for current articles and discussions. (http://EzineArticles.com)

Senin, 24 November 2008

Healthy Hair

No matter what type of hair nature blessed you with, there are things you can do to keep it healthy, lustrous, looking its best. Here are some tips for a healthy head of hair from the tradition of Ayurveda, the 5,000-year old healing tradition that originated in India:

1. Like everything else about true, lasting beauty, healthy hair begins within your body. Start with your diet. Include lots of green leafy vegetables and sweet juicy fruits. Dairy products such as milk and fresh yogurt will also help. Fresh coconut is also considered excellent "hair food" - sprinkle grated coconut over salads, diced fresh fruit, or rice.

2. Cut down on refined, processed and canned foods. Ayurveda considers foods with artificial preservatives and chemical additives stripped of their inherent "intelligence" and therefore not helpful in supplying nutrition to your body and mind. Ice-cold beverages also hamper the process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

3. Cooking with certain spices adds flavor to your food and provides nourishment for your hair. Cumin, turmeric and black pepper are some "hair-friendly" spices. Add a healthy pinch of each to single-portion soups and stews as they are cooking. Sauté 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon each of the three spices in a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil and add to cooked veggies. Roasted ground cumin and ground black pepper can be sprinkled over fresh yogurt.

4. Stress can be seriously injurious to long-term health and color of hair. Try and manage your time and tasks to minimize time-related pressures. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation. Seek out tranquil sights in nature to help restore balance to your mind. Relaxing or uplifting music can be therapeutic. Get adequate, good quality sleep to help the natural process of rejuvenation.

5. Ayurvedic herbs that help hair health include Eclipta alba and Gotu Kola. Eclipta alba is called "Bhringaraj" - literally, king of tresses. It nourishes the hair and helps resistance to stress as well. Brahmi, sometimes called Gotu Kola, also helps balance the mind and nourishes the hair and scalp. Since Ayurveda considers the health, color and luster of hair so dependent on overall mind/body health, synergistic Ayurvedic herbal preparations for hair can also include herbs such as Country Mallow, which is supposed to strengthen the physiology, and Winter Cherry, which aids resistance to stress.

6. Stay away from harsh chemical topical products that can damage hair over time. Look for gentle, natural cleansers and conditioners, especially if you wash your hair more than three times a week. Shampoos and conditioners that contain nourishing botanicals are even better. Read labels carefully - sometimes, products that say "herbal" or "natural" can include no-no chemicals.

7. A warm oil scalp massage two or three times a week will help stimulate and moisturize the scalp. You can use good quality coconut, almond or olive oil Ayurvedic hair oils also contain some of the herbs mentioned earlier. Apply some mildly warmed oil to your hair and gently massage into your scalp evenly with your fingertips. Leave on overnight if you can, if not, leave on for at least an hour or two, then get it out by shampooing your hair. The scalp massage helps you relax and aids sound sleep as well.

8. Never attack wet hair with a brush, no matter how rushed for time you are. Tangles in wet hair are best removed with a wide-toothed comb. Use a wooden comb if you can find one; it won't generate static electricity. Excessive blow-drying can damage hair in the long-term, making it brittle and causing split ends. If you can, let your hair dry naturally, then brush into place.

9. Last, but not least, brushing your hair regularly to stimulate the scalp will keep it looking healthy and lustrous. Brush each night in all directions in turn - left to right, right to left, front to back and back to front Use smooth long strokes from scalp to hair-tips.

Your hair can indeed be your crowning glory if you treat it right!

Note - Information in this article is solely for the purpose of imparting education on Ayurveda and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or mitigate any disease. If you have a medical condition, please consult a health professional.


Minggu, 23 November 2008

Tips For Healthy Eyes

Statistics suggest that by the time we reach 60, one in 12 of us will be blind or partially sighted. As it is National Eye Health Week (December 10-16), we find out how to slow the march of time and ensure you and your family enjoy good sight for years to come.
Forget a healthy sex drive or even being able to walk - given the choice most of us would sacrifice both of those if it meant we didn't lose our ability to see, according to the latest research.
It's the sense we apparently value above all others, yet looking after our sight seems to be a hit-and-miss affair, with half the population mistakenly thinking that not sitting too close to the TV, reading in a good light, and wearing an eye mask at night is enough to protect their eyes, according to a survey by eye care manufacturers Bausch & Lomb.
In reality, a regular eye test is one of the most effective safeguards, particularly as we get older when we are more at risk of eye conditions such as glaucoma and AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
But Iain Anderson, chairman of The Eyecare Trust, which is promoting the benefits of eye tests for the elderly during National Eye Week, points out: "Research figures suggest that more than four million OAPs miss out on vital sight tests every year - despite the fact that eye examinations for the over 60s have been free on the NHS for eight years."
And Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric advisor for The College Of Optometrists says research shows that more than one in 10 people have never had their eyes tested.
She says: "The eyes are one of the most amazing parts of the body. They can process 36,000 bits of information every hour, and in a normal life span the eye will generate almost 24 million images of the world around us. Yet people often underestimate how important it is to look after them."

The Life & Style Awards 2007
And she warns: "Many wrongly assume that because they can apparently see clearly there cannot be anything wrong with their eyes. While that is a good sign, it doesn't necessarily mean your eyes are absolutely healthy, as in the early stages some eye conditions may have symptoms that can only be detected by an optometrist."
She recommends that in general people have their eyes tested at least once every two years, or more often if advised by an optometrist.
"Wearing sunglasses even in winter to protect the eyes from UV rays, giving up smoking which can more than double the risk of some eye conditions such as AMD, and having a balanced diet, which includes leafy green vegetables, are all key ways to protect eyes."
Follow our guide, with advice from the experts, to keep your eyes healthy.

Eye Miths

Wearing someone else's glasses may damage your eyes
This just isn't true, although you may not be able to see very well with them and may get a headache or double vision, you won't come to any harm from wearing glasses that are not your prescription (unless you're driving a motor vehicle).

Watching TV too much or too closely will damage eyes
Kids will be delighted to know that this warning isn't true, but parents can fall back on the fact too much viewing can make your eyes tired or cause a headache. You're particularly vulnerable if TV's viewed in the dark when you are effectively looking at a moving light, like a torch.

Masturbation makes you go blind
No, the only correlation between the two is that semen contains a large amount of zinc and a deficiency in zinc (although nearly impossible to achieve solely by masturbating) will cause a decline in a person's vision.

Exercising eye muscles can allow you to 'throw away your glasses'
People (normally) need specs because of the shape and size of their eye (i.e. their eyes are too big or too small). Exercises won't help this.

Not wearing your glasses will make you depend upon them less
If you don't wear your glasses you may become more accustomed to the blur and won't remember how bad it is, and thereby think that your eyes have got better (when they haven't).

Eating carrots improves eyesight
There's some truth in this as carrots are a source of vitamin A, which is important for the eyes. Before embarking on an all-carrot diet, bear in mind that it's more important for eye health to have a balanced diet that supports your all-round health. Poor nutrition is implicated in diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Using your eyes too much can wear them out
Your eyes will last for a lifetime if they are healthy (or have conditions that are treatable). Eye health has nothing to do with the number of hours you use them.
Why are we obsessed with liquid foods?

Holding books up close will damage a child's eyes
Where or how a child holds a book has no effect on the health of the eyes or the need for glasses. Sometimes children find it more comfortable to read close-up and their good focusing ability makes it easy for them to do so. (http://style.uk.msn.com/)

Jumat, 21 November 2008

Keep Your Brain Young and Healthy

Senility, Alzheimer’s, and age-related memory loss: these conditions of mental decline that come with aging can be delayed or even prevented. Besides engaging in daily activities that work out your brain, a regular and balanced diet rich with essential amino acids, omega oils, minerals and vitamins will ensure a vibrant and sharp memory. Eat these foods to give your brain the nutrition it needs.

1. Fish
Protein, an important component in the making of neurotransmitters, is essential to improve mental performance. Aside from being an excellent source of high quality protein, fish are packed with essential oils, such as Omega-3, which protect the brain and supports its development and functioning. Deep sea fish have the highest amounts of fatty acids, and they include salmon, sea bass, halibut, mackerel, and sardines.
2. Blueberries
These delicious berries are full of powerful antioxidants, which eliminate free-radical damage that causes aging, and they also possess neuroprotective properties that can delay the onset of age-related memory loss by guarding brain cells from damage caused by chemicals, plaque, or trauma. And they combat inflammation, the other factor in aging.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are wonder foods for your brain. Packed with protein and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds are also chock full of the amino arginine, which stimulates the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to release growth hormone, a substance that declines quickly after age 35; this is a real anti-aging boon to your brain!
Whip up a batch of my “Anti-aging brain mix” to bring with you anywhere and eat a small handful in between meals as a daily snack. It will nourish and support your brain. Pack in sealed container or zip-lock bag to preserve freshness.
1 cup walnut
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of dried goji berries (also known as lycium berry, and easily found in health food stores)
1/2 cup dried apricots
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all rich in choline, an essential nutrient for memory and brain health. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which contributes to healthy and efficient brain processes. As we age, our body’s natural choline output declines, and its neurochemical action weakens. You can eat choline-rich foods to increase your production of acetylcholine, which will improve your brain power.
Other sources of choline include: eggs, soybeans, peanuts, cabbage, black beans, and kidney beans.
5. Oil: Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats contain essential fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which are crucial for brain development and function, among many other excellent benefits for your health. Olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil, almond oil, flaxseed oil, and fish oil are rich in monounsaturated fats and are good choices for brain health. Population studies show that people with a diet that is high in unsaturated, unhydrogenated fats may have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, whereas those with a diet that is higher in saturated fats and trans fats have an increased risk.
6. L-carnitine Foods
Age-related memory problems are many times caused by plaque buildup and diminished blood supply to the brain, compromising the delivery of nutrients and oxygen. L-carnitine, an amino acid manufactured in your liver, increases circulation in the brain � among a myriad of powerful benefits for your health. Also, because it prevents fat oxidation in the brain, L-carnitine shows some promise in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Good sources of L-carnitine include: meats, fish, poultry, wheat, avocado, milk, and fermented soybeans.
7. Microalgae
Microalgaes from the ocean and uncontaminated lakes, including blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella, seaweed, and kelp are easy-to-digest, high protein and high-energy supplements- and contain over a hundred trace minerals! Available in your health food store, microalgae are simple to incorporate into your diet to ensure a good, strong brain function. Look for powders you dissolve in juice or flakes you can sprinkle on your food.
8. Green Tea
Green tea prevents an enzyme found in Alzheimer’s disease and is also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that help prevent premature brain aging. Drink two cups a day to get the brain benefits. To decaf tea, steep for 45 seconds and pour out the water, add fresh hot water to the leaves or tea bag � 95% of caffeine will be eliminated.
Herbal Boost
There are many Chinese herbs that support healthy brain functions, including ginkgo biloba and gotu kola. For support of healthy brain function I recommend our family formula called Enduring Youth, which contains Chinese herbs such as Chinese yam, goji berry, schisandra berry, Asian cornelian, China root, Cistanches, sweet flag, Chinese senega, dipsacus, anise, and Chinese foxglove. For more information, click here. (www.7vy.net)

Kamis, 20 November 2008

How is Face Washing

Beauty consultants might recommend a facial treatment trifecta - cleanse, tone and moisturize - but dermatologists say that comfortable-for-you cleansing is key, and moisturizing may help some skin types.
First and Foremost: The Cleanser Itself
Use a gentle, water-soluble cleanser to avoid irritating the skin - not one that needs to be wiped away with a tissue or washcloth.
Besides the fact that it washes away with water (use tepid, not hot), all you need to know about a cleanser is that it makes your skin feel soft, clean and neither dry nor greasy. Experts' picks for efficient, mild cleansing: Cetaphil, Aveeno, Neutrogena and Eucerin brands.
Second for Some: A Separate Toner
If you feel you need a toner, think about finding a better-for-you cleanser instead.
A toner's role is to remove oily residue and provide a fresh feeling; it does nothing to firm the skin long-term. With today's rinse-off cleansers, you'll rarely need a toner - you might want one, though, if your face has become oily over the course of the day.
Last but Not Least: Should You Use a Moisturizer? Maybe.
For dry-skin sufferers, a moisturizer can soothe and protect - the test is whether your skin feels too tight. There are many effective moisturizers - try one (sample size available?), then listen to your skin. These brands come recommended: by day, Oil of Olay; while you sleep, Estee Lauder.
Additional Products: A Matter of Preference
* To exfoliate or not? Removing dead skin cells can make your skin look less dull, but go easy or you could injure skin that's sensitive. Instructs dermatologist Lisa Donofrio, M.D.: Use a little grapeseed or olive oil, a non-soap cleanser like Burt's Bees or Cetaphil, or a cold cream such as Pond's, and with the rough side of a washcloth make small, gentle circles all over your face.
* Can creams turn you into a cover girl? These three ingredients are common in face creams:
o Retinoids. For rejuvenation of photo-damaged skin, these members of the vitamin A family
(the best-known being Retin-A) are effective - in prescription concentrations, at least - in
reducing wrinkles, as well as clearing up acne.
o Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Also known as fruit acids, these can give the skin a luster by
keeping the skin free of dead cells. Over-the-counter preparations don't make as dramatic a
difference as the ones used by dermatologists.
o Antioxidants. The vitamins A, C and E are said to have the ability to protect and possibly
repair the skin by fighting destructive molecules called free radicals. (health.discovery.com)