We’ve all heard our fair share of fairy-tales and horror stories about the
chemicals in our cosmetics & skincare, and I don’t know about you guys but
I get totally sucked into it sometimes! There was a time not too long ago when
I really had no clue about skincare ingredients, and frankly, I didn’t care
much to find out! But recently, as I’ve been trying to look after my skin more
as I approach the big 3-0, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what the
products I use have and haven’t got in them!
When I’ve been in conversation with friends and family about my skincare
routines (they always wanna talk blogging…but so do I, let’s not lie!) I
always end up mentioning the odd ingredient or chemical that is received with a
vacant look, or a question something like ‘a sulph-wha’?’. So, in response I
decided to do some proper, in-depth research and put together a bit of an
introductory guide to skincare ingredients and chemicals, to try and break down
the gobbledygook that seemingly comes along with a skincare routine these days!
I’ve separated the list into two categories; the goodies & the baddies –
this post will be all about the good stuff, you can find the post on the baddies here!
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Added to a
lot of creams and lotions in the las few years due to their fine lines &
pigmentation reduction properties. This family of acids include glycolic, lactic,
tartaric, and citric acids. Their strength varies from product to product, with
higher potencies being known to cause some irritation, so getting the right
balance for your skin is super important. They also cause mild sun sensitivity,
which can obviously be remedied by wearing a daily sunscreen!
Beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid)
ingredient is one that is used in varie strength, dependant on the product. It
can be bought over the counter in small doses, but higher strength potencies
require a doctor’s prescription. Often considered less irritating that AHAs,
salicylic acid helps to remove dried, dead surface skin, and also help improve
the condition of sun damaged skin. It’s deep penetration properties mean that
it’s usually a great ingredient for acne sufferers, as it can get deep into the
pores and hair-follicle opening to remove excess oil.
Another increasingly popular skincare additive, retinol is a vitamin A
derivative, and is hailed as one of the only proven skincare ingredient to
actively reverse aging (along with hyaluronic acid).
A stronger active ingredient in the same chemical family is Tretinoin,
and is an active ingredient in prescription Renova creams & Retin-A, but if
your skin is too sensitive then store-bought Rentinol will suit you perfectly.
These ingredients work because of vitiman As ability to penetrate the
lower layers of the skin, where collagen and elastin are found. This means
that, when used correctly, this could be the most powerful ingredient in your
regime for fighting a multitude of ski issues, as well as aging.
A form of vitamin C, it’s probably the only form of the vitamin that really
makes any difference in your skincare. It is proven that vitamin C is the only antioxidant
that can stimulate collagen, which can help counteract the effects of age and
sun exposure, leaving the skin looking brighter and fresher in its appearance.
An acid that is often used in conjunction with vitamin c, hyaluronic
acid is a great ingredient for penetrating the skin. It’s Sunday name is glycosaminoglycan,
and it considered another super hero product in the fight against aging! It is
a substance that is naturally occurring in humans, but is found less abundantly
in the skin as we age.
Another naturally occurring substance, ceramide helps hold skin cells
together. It also helps to form a layer of protection for the skin as well as
retaining some moisture and encouraging plumping! Using ceramides in skincare
can enhance the effects of naturally occurring ceramide, that have been diminished
by environment, aging and other drying skincare products.
Popular in eczema treatment products, ceramides can also help form a
barrier for the skin.
Primarily used to aid elastin reproduction in the skin, peptides are a
set of active proteins that encourage the skin to bounce back and heal when
wounded. They are able to communicate with skin cells, and are usually beneficial
in skincare because of their ability to encourage collagen production, redness alleviation,
fine-line minimising. They are also used in conjunction with other ingredients to
help penetrate their effects deeper into the skin.