About Face

The importance of skin-specific care

It seems so simple. You’re fresh out of the shower, ready to moisturize your body; why not just use your body cream on your face, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, skin care products are specifically formulated for the different parts of your body. That means that what’s good for your feet, back, legs or hands, may not necessarily be good for your face. In fact, nine times out of ten, non-facial products are actually detrimental to the skin on your face. Don’t buy it? Here’s what you can expect:

Clogged Pores
You wouldn’t use spackle to paint your bedroom walls, would you? Imagine the result (a thick, bumpy wall instead of a smooth one). Well, using body lotion on your face is basically the same thing. Body lotion is meant to be applied to the thicker, more durable skin found below your neck and décolletage where it can sink into the holes where moisture has dissipated. If you apply a moisturizer like that to your face, clogged pores are bound to happen. That can lead to breakouts, blackheads and a generally dull complexion.

Irritated Surfaces
Most body products (moisturizers, soaps, cleansers, etc.) contain fragrances, which is why we smell so great when we get out of the shower. However, these added scents aren’t usually non-comedogenic. These sweet smelling additions to the product can be irritating to your face and even cause black heads. The result is red, splotchy and itchy skin. Go for products that have a much lower level of fragrance than your body products.

Dry Patches
pH levels play a big role in your skin looking healthy, hydrated and radiant, especially the skin on your face. pH stands for "potential hydrogen". The skin's barrier, which is known as the acid mantle, is responsible for keeping in oils and moisture while blocking germs, pollution, toxins, and bacteria. Your skin’s acid mantle should be slightly acidic with a pH of about 5.5, but when it's too alkaline, skin becomes dry and sensitive. This keeps your skin from fighting off the enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles and sagging.  
Using soap on your face that is intended for your other body parts will throw that pH level off. This can make your skin dry, flaky and dull, even if it’s normally oily and acne-prone. A face wash that’s specifically formulated for your skin will keep your pH levels, and your breakouts, in check. Sure it’s an extra investment, but we shudder at the alternative.

Infections
Last, but certainly not least, if your skin is in any way sensitive, body creams and washes used on the face can actually cause infection. These usually manifest in the form of a rash. That’s because products developed for the face are designed specifically for that skin. If you use a non-hypoallergenic product on a part of your body other than where it was intended, be prepared for it to come back to bite, or blemish you.
Stephanie K. Smith is a freelance writer working across mediums. Her pieces have appeared on sites ranging from CNN.com to National Lampoon and she’s written television pilots for Fox, CBS, The CW and Legendary Television. She lives in Los Angeles with her son, Dash and their (girl) cat, Fred.  http://www.stephanieksmith.com/

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