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Ask The Makeup Diva
Welcome to Ask The Makeup Diva™! Our resident expert, The Makeup Diva, answers makeup and skin care questions sent in by readers just like you.

Q: When it comes to skin care and the huge selection of products for seemingly every skin concern under the sun, I have to know: do I really need ALL of these products?

A: The honest answer to this question is both "yes" and "no"; the answer is different for every woman. It really depends on exactly what her skin concerns are. What may be necessary for treating and preventing minimal sun damage is vastly different from what a mature woman might need to help arrest the loss of elasticity and unevenness she sees.

There are three places to spend your time and money: a good cleanser, a moisturizer (there is almost always one that will address all your concerns), and finally, a good foundation.

The right cleanser should remove dirt, debris and make-up if you wear it. The only exception is "long wear" foundations. In most cases the pigment actually adheres to the skin surface, so a make-up remover may be necessary to completely break down the bond. Most cleansers come in a variety of forms, so it is really up to you, if you prefer a solid bar, or a foamy liquid. After washing, your face should feel comfortable, not tight or scratchy. Even the most moisturizing of cleanser should not leave a residue or film on your skin.

From basic hydration to smoothing fine lines and uneven tone and texture, a good moisturizer can and should address all of the concerns you have for the skin on your face. Periodically, there will be a buzz surrounding specific ingredients that are touted as "the best" for whatever may be the plague of the moment. Not so long ago it was alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids, then retinol became the catch of the day, and now we have vitamin C and lycopene. All of these ingredients have their advantages, so it really depends on what works best for your skin. Although several dermatologists I have talked with have indicated there is excellent evidence from ten-year studies on the use of retinols in significantly improving texture and tone, that is only if they are safe and comfortable for you to use. It may have been suggested that you need a moisturizer with sunscreen for day and another for night. There has been some evidence that moisturizers with sun protection can cause irritation or sensitivity in some people. If this is true for you, it is definitely advisable to stick with a good moisturizer without sunscreen and depend on your foundation to provide protection.

Now, that said, many women ask, "Do I really need a separate eye cream? Can't I just use my moisturizer all over my face?" Unfortunately the answer is a resounding "no". Moisturizers are not intended to be used in the immediate eye area; in many cases only eye creams are tested and approved by ophthalmologists. If that isn't enough to convince you, try this: moisturizers are humectants - they draw in and hold moisture. Do you really want something like that under your eyes? If the eye area is a concern for you, this may be a step worth adding to your routine.

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