Skincare is the range of practices that support skin integrity, enhance its appearance and relieve skin conditions. They can include nutrition, avoidance of excessive sun exposure and appropriate use of emollients. Practices that enhance appearance include the use of cosmetics, botulinum, exfoliation, fillers, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, peels, retinol therapy and ultrasonic skin treatment. Skincare is a routine daily procedure in many settings, such as skin that is either too dry or too moist and prevention of dermatitis and prevention of skin injuries.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act define cosmetics as products intended to cleanse or beautify (for instance, shampoos and lipstick). A separate category exists for medications, which are intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body (for instance, sunscreens and acne creams), although some products, such as moisturizing sunscreens and anti-dandruff shampoos, are regulated within both categories.
Skincare differs from dermatology, as traditionally practised, by its additional but less medical scope and by its inclusion of non-physician professionals, such as estheticians and wound care nursing staff. Skincare includes modifications of individual behaviour and of environmental and working conditions.Nevertheless, dermatology has co-opted some aspects of skincare, particularly in the U.S., and to a significantly lesser extent elsewhere, such as the U.K
Guidelines for neonatal skincare have been developed. Nevertheless, the pediatric and dermatologic communities have not reached consensus on best cleansing practices, as good quality scientific evidence is scarce. Immersion in water seems superior to washing alone, and use of synthetic detergents or mild liquid baby cleansers seems comparable or superior to water alone.
Sun protection is an important aspect of skincare. Though the sun is beneficial in order for the human body to get its daily dose of vitamin D, unprotected excessive sunlight can cause extreme damage to the skin. Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation in the sun’s rays can cause sunburn in varying degrees, early ageing and increased risk of skin cancer. UV exposure can cause patches of uneven skin tone and dry out the skin.
This can reduce the skin’s elasticity and encourage sagging and wrinkle formation. Sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage; sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure and should be re-applied every four hours. Sunscreen should be applied to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to sunlight, and at least a tablespoon (25 ml) should be applied to each limb, the face, chest, and back, to ensure thorough coverage. Many tinted moisturizers, foundations and primers now contain some form of SPF.
Sunscreens may come in the form of creams, gels or lotions; their SPF number indicates their effectiveness in protecting the skin from the sun’s radiation. There are sunscreens available to suit every skin type; in particular, those with oily skin should choose non-comedogenic sunscreens; those with dry skins should choose sunscreens with moisturizers to help keep skin hydrated, and those with sensitive skin should choose unscented, hypoallergenic sunscreen and spot-test in an inconspicuous place (such as the inside of the elbow or behind the ear) to ensure that it does not irritate the skin.
Skin ageing is associated with increased vulnerability. Skin problems including pruritus are common in the elderly but are often inadequately addressed. A literature review of studies that assessed maintenance of skin integrity in the elderly found most to be low levels of evidence but the review concluded that skin-cleansing with synthetic detergents or amphoteric surfactants induced less skin dryness than using soap and water. Moisturizers with humectants helped with skin dryness, and skin barrier occlusives reduced skin injuries