As a consumer, you are inundated with hundreds of skincare products.
As if it isn’t hard enough, most skincare brands will put certain phrases like hydrating, clarifying, or anti-aging on their labels to grab your attention and stand out in the sea of products you are faced with.
It should be easy to find a product that will address your skin concerns. However, it is often not the case and you may end up choosing to purchase a product that claims to produce a specific result and end up with lackluster results. Many people I speak to find themselves confused and overwhelmed when looking for the right skincare.
One way to combat this misinformation is to develop a deeper understanding of the ingredients in skincare.
This way you are better equipped to cut through the noise of the media to find the products that will be effective in achieving your skin care goals.
Have you ever looked at the skincare labels? They can appear quite baffling, can’t they?
All ingredients have to be listed, but sometimes we do not need to know what they are. As a consumer we are interested in the active ingredients that are going to make a change to our skin. However, it is also worth knowing about preservatives and making sure the products are not bulked out with unnecessary ingredients.
I want to talk about active ingredients in skincare.
These are the elements of a product that generally are designed to deliver the benefits that are advertised on its label. Although, inactive ingredients listed on the label may provide certain benefits, you can usually expect that active ingredients will do what they say they will.
Every single product, including natural formulas, utilise active ingredients although their strengths will vary depending on the type of product you are using.
LA Skincare is full of active ingredients and has helped many people transform their skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
The AHA family of acids are derived from natural sources such as fruit, milk or sugar.
Generally speaking, the benefits of AHAs on the skin include exfoliation, brightening, smoothing, anti-aging, and acne prevention.
Two of the most commonly used AHAs in skincare, however, are glycolic acid that is derived from sugar and lactic acid which is made from milk.
The former is unique in that the molecules of glycolic acid are smaller than those found in other AHAs which allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin providing its benefits more effectively and to more layers of the skin.
Lactic acid, on the other hand, offers the same benefits of other AHAs but as a non-friction exfoliant that breaks down and dissolves dead skin cells without causing skin irritation, it is suitable for use on sensitive skin.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C is a key ingredient to keep your skin looking bright and youthful.
First, it helps protect against harmful free radicals by neutralizing them which, in turn, helps to decrease the visible signs of aging on your face such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots from sun damage, and loss of moisture.
But the most notable and popularised benefit of vitamin C is its ability to brighten your face and diminish any discoloration.
Its antioxidant properties work to even your skin leaving you with a radiant glow. However, vitamin C is a temperamental ingredient and difficult to stabilise for extended shelf life so looking for a product that also includes vitamin E or ascorbic acid can help increase its longevity.
Hyaluronic acid is a powerful ingredient that has garnered a lot of attention over the past few years thanks to its intense moisturizing properties and anti-aging capabilities.
As a naturally occurring sugar found in the body, it is a major component of the skin’s structure. But as we age, naturally produced levels of hyaluronic acid begin to decrease which contributes to a loss of skin tone and volume.
But topical application helps to counteract the visible effects of lost hyaluronic acid. First, its capacity to retain water and help regulate your skin’s moisture levels keeps your skin balanced and hydrated. Secondly, hyaluronic acid works to improve skin resilience.
Together, these two functions combine to restore volume and fullness to the skin reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Within the family of retinoids, retinol is a man-made derivative of vitamin A and when placed on the surface of the skin, it is converted into retinoic acid.
It is a key ingredient in many skincare products because of the significant benefits it has on skin including minimizing the appearance of skin damage caused by free-radicals and minimizing the visible signs of aging.
Retinol helps to combat the natural loss of facial fullness by increasing the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
By increasing your skin’s hydration it will appear fuller and smoother. With consistent and extended use, retinol can even help to soften age spots and even your skin tone as it sloughs away layers of dead skin and unclogs pores.
Salicylic acid is a part of the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) family and a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter acne products and treatments.
It is primarily used to treat non-inflamed breakouts and blackheads by breaking up dead skin cells and removing them from the surface of the skin.
It also helps to reduce the presence of excess oil on your skin and can penetrate deeper into the pores to clear it of any otherwise clogging debris.
Although it is naturally occurring in white willow bark and wintergreen, most of the salicylic acid used today is synthetic.
A critical part of the skin’s natural barrier which helps to protect against a variety of environmental stressors while retaining moisture, ceramides are lipids naturally found in your skin.
If there is an imbalance in the ceramide ratio of your skin, its protective barrier will become compromised and ineffective leading to dryness, itching, and inflammation.
Unfortunately, your natural levels of ceramides can be easily decreased when exposed to hot water, soaps, certain chemicals, and other environmental factors.
So ,utilising products which feature ceramides can help to rebuild this barrier and prevent further damage.
Found naturally on human skin, vitamin E levels are often depleted due to sun exposure and other environmental irritants.
However, it has antioxidant properties that can help protect against and limit the damage of harmful free radicals].
It can also be used to stabilize otherwise volatile or temperamental ingredients such as vitamin C.
Benzoyl peroxide is an extremely effective ingredient for treating acne as it kills bacteria within your pores. Due to the fact that bacteria cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment, it is reduced when benzoyl peroxide introduces oxygen to the pores.
Fewer bacteria (and clearer pores) means fewer breakouts. However, benzoyl peroxide can wreak havoc on the balance of your skin and result in over-drying.
It’s great for absorbing excess oil. It soaks up acne-causing impurities.
Because kaolin clay often has a slightly grainy texture, it’s an ideal gentle exfoliator. As you massage it into your skin, this exfoliating clay not only buffs away dead skin cells, it also promotes blood flow to the complexion. It soothes sensitive skin. It has mild healing and inflammation-fighting properties that make it as useful for soothing facial redness and irritation.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Despite how many ingredients are described above, this list only scratches the surface of what is available across the skincare industry.
So, it is important to be careful when selecting the products and ingredients you use as each one has different uses and side effects.
As you begin to select and introduce new ingredients to your skin, you will want to do so slowly and individually so you can monitor your skin’s reaction for adverse effects.
While you may respond well to two ingredients separately, layering them on your skin essentially combines the ingredients which could produce undesirable side effects.
The strength and type of product you are using will also impact your skin’s ability to withstand an ingredient’s application. Many active ingredients come in both prescription and over-the-counter strengths, but don’t let this fool you into thinking the products you have access to without a doctor’s prescription can’t cause a reaction.
With that said, read your labels carefully if you want to find the right skincare products for your skin!
Lots of love
This is all said with love, I know many people have different opinions and that is absolutely fine. The biggest piece of advice I always say is:
If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Skincare should not cause any damage to your skin, if used correctly for YOUR skin!
Any questions, just ask…