How to Wash Your Face: America's Leading Dermatologist Reveals the Essential Secrets for Youthful, Radiant Skin

Written by Barney J. Kenet, M.D. and Patricia Lawler



Patients come to me wanting to know more about their skin. It is a subject that can confuse even the most intelligent person because of the information and misinformation that barrages us every day.

My purpose in writing this book is to help you understand how your skin works, why it looks the way it does and what you can do to improve it, regardless of your age. There are a lot of books available by eminent skin specialists who claim they have the answer to looking young. It's tempting to think there is truly only one way to take care of all your skin problems. But the truth is, no single procedure, no one cream can do everything for everyone. Moreover, all the high-tech treatments and all the money in the world cannot replace what you must do for yourself every day at home. That's where it begins.

In order for you to be effective in caring for your skin, I have created a Skin Profile system. Instead of listing skin by "types," I use the phrase Skin Profile. I specifically chose the word "profile" because of its definition: "an analysis of the history and status of a process or relationship." To me, this is precisely how your skin should be viewed. Your personal Skin Profile is more than a category or type. It is really a process -- a dynamic, fluid and ongoing event. How your skin looks depends on the inner workings of your body, your state of mind, your environment and your willingness to do all you can to improve these interdependent factors. Of course, heredity plays a big role as well, but you can work with the genes that nature gave you to maximize your personal best.

You will be learning whether your skin responds and reacts most strongly to internal forces or external ones. For example, hormonally reactive skin responds to the chemical changes within your body that ebb and flow at various levels, day to day, month to month, year to year. Individuals with stress-reactive skin notice that variable emotions change the appearance of their skin more than anything else.

Other readers will discover that the outside world leaves its mark on their skin. Persons with environmentally sensitive skin experience irritation, rashes, breakouts and other problems when their skin comes in contact with perfumes, dyes and cosmetic ingredients, for example. I will show you how to eliminate irritants and allergens while maintaining a skin care regimen that will bring out the best in your skin. The environment can harm your skin over the long run as well. Too much sun and wind as well as other habits like smoking result in overexposed skin. Finally, I will briefly discuss how to keep hearty skin looking good. People with Hearty Skin look younger than people of the same age and find that using basic inexpensive products works well.

My approach to skin care has always been to ask my patients in-depth questions during each visit. Learning everything about a person makes caring for his or her skin easier. When you read this book, you will be treated like one of my patients. I will ask you many questions -- not just about your skin but about who you are and how you live. Your answers will provide the information that determines how best to care for your skin.

At first you may wonder about the relevance of certain questions when it comes to treating your skin. However, you will soon see that all the answers have a bearing on you, your lifestyle, your health and, by definition, your skin.

With that analysis complete, your daily skin care routine will become much simpler. I am committed to saving you time, money and effort. I want to support you in your quest to look great without a doctor's help and without unneeded risk to your well-being.

You will find that I have recommended a number of specific brand-name products. My choices are dependent on my personal experience, patients' suggestions and a review of the ingredients in the product. More than one product is given in each category to give you an opportunity to purchase items at a drugstore for usually under $20 or at a department store for usually over $20. The order in which the product is listed does not indicate preference. I have made an effort to choose items from a variety of sources. I have also limited my list to widely available national brands made by companies that have a long history of standing behind their products.

This book covers all there is to know about skin care. It also helps you decide how to select a doctor (if you choose to see one) who suits your needs.

After you have finished this book, I am sure you will never think about your skin in the same way again. I am also sure that your skin will look and feel better. People will notice, but, more important, you will too.


Copyright © 1999 by Dr. Barney J. Kenet and Patricia Lawler