Skin care 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. Skin care 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.
Skin care is at the interface of cosmetics, and dermatology, a traditional medical discipline; there is some overlap with each of these topics.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines 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.
Skin care differs from dermatology, as traditionally practiced, by its additional but less medical scope and by its inclusion of non-physician professionals, such as estheticians and wound care nursing staff. Skin care includes modifications of individual behavior and of environmental and working conditions. Nevertheless, dermatology has co-opted some aspects of skin care, particularly in the U.S., and to a significantly lesser extent elsewhere, such as the U.K.