One of the latest developments in this seemingly limitless industry is a broadening of appeal to extend to the current breed of young upwardly mobile metrosexual men. Yes, that's right, grooming products for men now go way past the standard deodorants and after shave lotions of just a few years ago into the realm of flawless looking skin - a phenomenon that would have seemed absurd to the generations before them.
But how far have the new wave of products gone beyond the standard Vitamin E creams and Sorbolene of yesteryear? A long way many adherents maintain. They do produce varying degrees of results usually according to how much you are prepared to pay and how dedicated you are to adhere to what can be demanding regimens.
Inspired by the success stories they have seen and heard today's skin-conscious women are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about all the latest developments in what has become an accelerating branch of science.
Skin care products based on natural ingredients have long been popular among women seeking the secret to eternal youth. More recently, 'cosmeceuticals' which are part cosmetics and part pharmaceuticals have become the new anti-aging genre with ingredients such as Retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's).
The reasons for this acceleration in skin care advancement can be largely traced to startling advancements by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons in the US who have introduced near prescription strength formulations to over the counter products for everyone. Names like Dr Fredric Brandt and Dr Gregory Bays have become celebrities in their own right.
The mini revolution began as recently as 2003 when the world's leading cosmetic research company - NPD Beauty Trends - announced that the medical fraternity was outpacing traditional products in the market thus starting a new wave of frenzied development.
One example of this was the stampede created by the introduction of StriVectin-SD that claims to reduce wrinkle depth and visibility in just 28 days. The rush will continue with the soon to be released over the counter version of Prevage that is currently available only through dermatologists. The same company that came up with the now ubiquitous Botox produces Prevage. Prevage is scientifically proven to counter fine lines and wrinkles as well as providing protection against sun and environmental damage.
Another product about to take the world by storm is an anti-wrinkle gel serum Allure. Allure contains a powerful anti-oxidant idebenone. This reputed to fight free radicals better than any other anti-oxidant. Free radicals are among of the main causes of prematurely aging skin.
Facial scrubs are another part of the total skin care revolution phenomenon. These work on the basis that scrubbing away dead surface skin is the quickest way to revitalize and regenerate tired complexions. Previously the domain of cosmetic surgeons and beauticians, cosmetic companies have recognised the need for do-it-yourself dermatology kits and products.
Lancome recently introduced Resurface-C Micro dermabrasion kits, which consist of Resurfacing Cream and Radiance Booster Serum with Vitamin C. The popularity these kits have created is partly because of the instant results they produce. You can see a more radiant complexion in just five minutes! The serum contains ascorbic acid, which is good for women living in harsh climatic and environmental conditions. The Resurfacing Cream allows deeper penetration of the Booster Serum to more effectively counter damaging free radicals.
Many women undergo medical peels just before big occasions like wedding days because it offers a quick way to improve your appearance. Because of this L'oreal's ReNoviste Anti-Aging Glycolic Peel Kit took off in the US when it became known that it produces clearly visible results after the first application although the company recommends use three times a week over a four-week program.
Dr Veronique Delving says Lancome Resurface Peel is great for women who want to see results straight away. She says it offers a huge psychological boost for women but stresses they must be diligent in applying sunscreen to protect the newly exposed tender "new" skin.
Other giant strides have been made among creams and patches that "fill-in" or reduce wrinkles and lines. Estee Lauder has introduced Perfectionist Power Correcting Patches. You apply these to the skin and wait just 20 minutes for a revitalised look. They work by emitting a micro-current of energy that releases patented Biological Water from the patch to the skin. In clinical tests women reported a 70 per cent improvement in their wrinkles and lines after just four weeks use.
As good as these products are there is still no substitute to looking after your skin in the first place. And this means sticking to the proven four step daily regimen. If you are serious about healthy beautiful skin you need to cleans, exfoliate, moisturise and apply sun screen for as long as three or four minutes daily.
The best way to cleanse your skin is to use a rinse off cleanser and forget about using soap. Unlike soap, cleansers remove make-up leaving your skin healthy and supple. Some of the most recommended cleansers are Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, Dr Hauschka Cleansing Cream, Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foaming Lotion Cleanser and Lancome Galatee Milk Cleanser.
To exfoliate literally means to rub the top layer of skin loose to make way for the fresher layer of skin below. Exfoliation makes it easier for the skin to absorb moisture and evens out the texture of the skin for a smoother less wrinkled look.
Moisturising your skin is not an option if you want to have beautiful skin no matter what age you are. Moisturisers attract moisture from the atmosphere and draw it into the skin cells. They seal the moisture in and they fill in the gaps between the cells. Moisturisers will not prevent wrinkles but they will plump up the skin tissue to make it look better. Some of the better moisturiser brands are Creme de La Mer, Clarins, Dr Hauschka, Shiseido. Clinique, L'oreal and Oil of Olay.
The vast majority of wrinkles are caused by the sun's ultra violet light. Women used to protect the skin from the sun with parasols, gloves and wide brimmed hats. When suntans became fashionable it was the single most damaging cause of premature skin aging. Yet exposure to the skin is the one cause of aging you can control. Even at low levels exposure to ultraviolet light breaks down collagen causing wrinkles and sagging.
To protect your skin from both UVB rays, which cause sunburn and suntan, and UVA rays, which cause photo aging and melanoma, your sunscreen must contain one of three ingredients, - titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or Parsol 1789 as an "active" ingredient. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the only sunscreens that offer "broad" or "full spectrum" protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And make sure your sunscreen has a minimum SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15.
If you only follow one beauty tip rule, let it be - always protect your skin from the sun!