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skin

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What causes dark circles under the eyes?

A: Dark circles can be a result of visible blood vessels just below the thin skin under the eyes or shadowing from sunken areas around the eyes caused by the breakdown of collagen and elastin as we age. Browse Olay’s dark circle eye creams.

Q: What can worsen the appearance of dark under-eye circles?

A: Lack of sleep and UV damage caused by sun exposure can make under-eye circles look darker.

Q: What is hyperpigmentation?

A: Hyperpigmentation, such as brown spots and freckles, are caused by over-active cells that produce too much melanin, which is a natural skin pigment.

Q: How can I prevent hyperpigmentation?

A: Hyperpigmentation is primarily caused by UV exposure from the sun, hence covering up from the sun's UV rays and wearing SPF protection will help prevent hyperpigmentation.

Q: How can I maintain even skin?

A: Sun damage is the number one cause of discoloration, hence covering up from the sun’s UV rays and wearing SPF protection will help prevent this issue. In addition, dry skin can cause a dull look along with leftover dirt, oil and makeup. So be sure to cleanse and moisturize daily!

Q: What's the best way to care for dry skin in the winter?

A: To keep skin hydrated during the cold winter months, slather on a moisturizer that contains glycerin twice a day and take short, warm showers, as opposed to long, hot ones, which can strip skin of its natural moisture.

Q: How can I tell if I have dry skin?

A: If your skin is dry, you may experience a feeling of "tightness", itching, rough, scaly or flaky skin or cracks in skin.

Q: Why have I developed dry skin when I have never had it before?

A: Dry skin can develop at any time. Common reasons include sun exposure, climate or temperature changes and indoor heating or air conditioning.

Q: Why do women struggle with the loss of skin elasticity more than men?

A: Women's skin naturally has less collagen than men's. As we age and experience menopause, lower estrogen levels cause a decrease in collagen production as well.

Q: What effect do free radicals have on the skin?

A: Free radicals can harm skin by damaging DNA, cell membranes and collagen. They are the cause of some of the signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.

Q: What is collagen and why is it important?

A: Collagen is a skin protein responsible for the elasticity and resiliency of skin. As we age, collagen production slows resulting in wrinkles and other common signs of aging.

Q: What is the difference between a fine line and a wrinkle?

A: The difference is visibility. A fine line will almost always disappear when you are relaxed, whereas a wrinkle is always visible.

Q: What are the causes of fine lines and wrinkles?

A: As we age, collagen production slows and elastin (another protein found in skin) becomes less flexible, causing skin to be thinner and less elastic. Over time, skin slowly loses its ability to retain its shape and wrinkles begin to form.

Q: Are there foods that cause acne?

A: Some studies show no link between diet and acne, while others do. Dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods in particular may trigger breakouts.

Q: Will my acne improve during the summer?

A: Depending on the individual, acne can get better or worse during the summer. If it does get worse, increased sweat production is the most likely culprit.

Q: I have acne. Can I still wear makeup?

A: Of course. It's fine to wear makeup if you have acne. Just be sure to choose noncomedogenic products that won't clog pores.

Q: Why is acne more common in teenagers?

A: The appearance of acne is closely linked to hormonal fluctuations that occur most frequently during puberty, which is why it is more common in teens.

Q: Is acne hereditary?

A: It can be. Studies show that you are more likely to have acne if you have a family history of it, particularly if one of your parents had acne.

Q: What is acne?

A: Acne is the result of skin inflammation, usually caused by overactive sebaceous (oil) glands.

Q: How do I know if my acne is severe?

A: Severe acne is more than just red pimples or inflamed, pus-filled lesions; it also causes painful cysts containing pus and can lead to permanent skin damage and scarring.

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of sensitive skin?

A: Sensitive skin frequently stings, burns or becomes irritated, inflamed or red.

Q: What causes sensitive skin?

A: Sensitive skin is often caused by a weakening of skin's natural moisture barrier and may be the result of genetics, aging, hormonal or environmental factors.

Q: How can I improve my sensitive skin?

A: Gentle, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic moisturizers hydrate skin and improve its moisture barrier. A strong barrier will block potential irritants from entering skin.

Q: What causes oily or shiny skin?

A: Oily or "shiny" skin is often caused by overactive oil glands, that produce too much oil (also known as sebum). The activity of oil glands decreases as you age.

Q: Should I still moisturize if I have oily skin?

A: Definitely. It is important to use a light moisturizer even if you have oily skin, to keep skin healthy and counteract any dryness caused by washing your face. Allowing skin to become too dry will only exacerbate the problem by prompting skin to make even more oil.

Q: Why do pores get larger?

A: Pores can become enlarged due to a variety of reasons. Dirt may get in the pore, causing it to widen, or the pore may have less support as you age, which makes it larger.

Q: What is the difference between AHAs and BHAs?

A: AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) both work to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells. BHAs are often used in blemish or pore-minimizing products.

Q: How can I shrink my pores?

A: BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), such as salicylic acid, are an effective treatment for reducing the look of pore size by exfoliating the surface cells of the pore.

Q: Why does my skin look dull?

A: As dead skin cells build up, they cause light to scatter unevenly across skin, resulting in a duller-looking complexion.

Q: How can I have more radiant skin?

A: Skincare products containing AHAs (such as glycolic acid) or BHAs (such as salicylic acid) help exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal more radiant skin underneath. Skin scrubs work similarly by mechanically removing the top layer of dead skin cells.

Q: What is combination skin?

A: Skin is considered combination when some areas are dry or normal and others are oily.

Q: Do self-tanners protect the skin from the sun's UV rays?

A: Self-tanners do not protect skin from damage caused by sun exposure unless they contain SPF protection, so it is important to still wear a lotion with broad spectrum SPF protection — even if you self-tan.

Q: What does the SPF number mean on sunscreen?

A: The SPF number — or sun protection factor — refers to the length of time you can spend in the sun without burning. That means, for example, if you wear an SPF 15 lotion, your skin should be protected from burning about 15 times longer than without any lotion. The exact length of time will vary by your skin tone & genetic makeup.

Q: Do I still need to wear sunscreen on cloudy days?

A: Yes, you should apply sunscreen on cloudy days, as some UV rays penetrate clouds.

Q: What are the differences between UVA and UVB rays?

A: UVA rays are present all year round and can penetrate glass. They are more abundant than UVB rays, and are a key cause of skin aging. There are more UVB rays in the summer, and these are the main cause of sunburn.

Q: What causes sunburn?

A: Sunburn develops when skin is exposed to more UV rays than it can protect itself against with natural melanin.

Q: When are the sun's rays the strongest?

A: The sun's rays are most intense from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are strongest at high altitudes or when reflected off water, snow or sand.

Q: What is tanning?

A: Tanning is the result of increased melanin production, skin's natural pigment.

Q: What are the long-term effects of tanning?

A: Tanning is the primary cause of the look of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and dark spots. Long-term exposure will cause your skin to age more quickly, along with increasing the risk of developing skin cancer.

Q: How does air conditioning affect my skin?

A: Air conditioning can draw natural moisture from your skin, leaving it dry.

Q: What is the difference between a physical and a chemical exfoliant?

A: A physical exfoliant, such as a scrub, mechanically removes dead surface skin using beads, nut shells or another substance. Chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid, dissolve the bonds that adhere dead cells to skin's surface.

Q: How does stress effect my skin?

A: When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can cause changes to oil glands. That's why breakouts often occur during stressful periods.