Every morning (and maybe even every evening), you most likely use at least one lotion, serum or other skincare product to care for your delicate facial skin. Skincare has been under fire lately, with a few people taking to the internet to claim that the entire industry is a con or scam.
But is it? It all depends on what you’re using and how you’re using it. While there are definitely some products out there that aren’t worth their price tag, medical grade skincare typically has the research and ingredients to back up its claims.
Before you write off the entire industry, get to know the most common ingredients in skincare products and learn what they’re meant to do.
You’ll often find Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) in facial cleansers, moisturizers and toners. As a type of acid, AHA helps to improve the appearance of your skin by dissolving the top layer of dead skin cells. The ingredient can help fade dark spots to treat fine lines. It may also help to make large pores look smaller.
AHAs are actually a group of acids, and some are better for your skin than others. One of the best AHAs out there is glycolic acid. It works well because it’s made up of relatively small molecules, which help your skin absorb it more efficiently.
It’s important to note that AHAs can cause some irritation. For that reason, it’s a good idea to start using them slowly. Choose a product with around 10 percent AHA.
At first, don’t use it daily. Let your skin adjust. Try using AHAs once a week in the beginning and build up gradually. Starting slowly also gives you the chance to pull back or switch to a different ingredient if you find that AHAs are too much for your skin to handle.
There are a few different types of antioxidants that you’ll find in your skincare products. They include vitamins E and C and the various forms of those vitamins, such as L-ascorbic acid, which is a form of vitamin C. In fact, if you’re looking to take advantage of vitamin C’s benefits for your skin, your best bet is to look for a product that has L-ascorbic acid listed as an ingredient.
Another popular antioxidant is niacinamide, which is known for helping to improve the texture of skin. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) helps to improve your skin’s protective barrier. This means your skin is less likely to suffer harm from pollution, sun exposure and other elements.
One additional antioxidant to keep an eye out for is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). ALA also helps to improve skin’s protective barrier and can reduce damage caused by free radicals. Products that contain ALA can help to minimize fine lines and improve the overall appearance of the skin.
Beta-Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid)
You’re probably familiar with salicylic acid if you ever used an anti-acne facial cleanser as a teenager. Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid. It’s popular for anti-acne products because it effectively dissolve oils and sebum and exfoliates dead skin cells. If you struggle with acne, this ingredient can help you maintain clearer skin. Just don’t overdo it–drying out your skin can lead to more acne.
Hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient in fillers such as Juvederm, but that’s not the only place you’ll find it. The ingredient, which is actually a type of starch (not an acid), is also commonly found in lotions and moisturizers. It can help to plump up your skin, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Unless you’ve been out of the skincare loop for the past few decades, you’ve probably heard of retinol. A derivative of vitamin A, it’s found in both prescription and over-the-counter skincare products. Prescription strength products typically contain a higher concentration of the ingredient, known as Tretinoin.
Retinol’s claim to fame is that it fights wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and acne. The ingredient’s molecules are small enough that it can penetrate down to the dermal layer, where it increases collagen production and helps to encourage new cell growth (and the turnover of older, dead skin cells).
Titanium and/or Zinc Oxide
Titanium and zinc oxide are two mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are often preferred over other forms because they aren’t irritating and are safe to use on pretty much all skin types. Although titanium and zinc oxide are two separate ingredients, they are often used together in commercial sunscreens.
Now that you’ve got a basic idea of what’s usually in skincare, the next step is to figure out which ingredients will help you the best. You don’t have to guess, though. The staff at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique is happy to recommend cleansers, lotions and other products that can best help you reach your skincare goals. To learn more, drop by our office today or call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation.