If the term “benzoyl peroxide” sounds like an insecticide and “ceramide” makes you think of your pottery class, you’re probably not the only one. These terms are in fact beneficial skin care ingredients for our skin, but it’s not easy keeping up to date with all the different ingredients that can fix our skincare woes.
That’s why we rounded 10 of the top skincare ingredients that you should find in your beauty products, and what they can do for your skin. Note that due to their specific uses, some ingredients may be more suited to certain skin conditions, such as acne-prone skin. Read on for more details!
Definition: Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) are naturally-occurring gentle acids that act as exfoliants, helping us to get rid of dead skin cells that build up on our skin and clog our pores.
Both AHAs and BHAs can help to:
- Improve dull and uneven skin tones
- Smooth out rough skin textures
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Common examples of AHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid. Common examples of BHAs include salicylic acid.
The amount of exfoliation that occurs depends on the strength of these acids, with stronger formulas being available by prescription only.
How it works: While both AHAs and BHAs work to exfoliate our skin, they have minor differences. AHAs are water soluble and tend to work on the skin’s surface, while BHAs are oil soluble and tend to work on both the skin’s surface and at a deeper level, inside pores. BHAs also have skin-soothing properties, making them a good skincare ingredient for oily, acne-prone skin or sensitive, rosacea-prone skin.
Definition: This antibacterial ingredient is great for killing acne-causing bacteria.
How it works: Benzoyl peroxide is able to penetrate your pores, killing the bacteria that causes acne and inflammation.
Definition: A ceramide is a type of lipid (i.e. fat) molecule that helps to retain skin moisture.
Ceramides are often naturally found in the top layer of one’s skin, forming a protective layer that retains moisture, plumps up skin, and protects the skin against harm from foreign elements.
How it works: Ceramide moisturisers contain the same balance of ceramides that one’s skin does. These help to replenish naturally-occurring ceramides that are lost due to exposure to harsh environmental conditions or due to our skin’s aging process.
Given the protective nature of ceramides, such moisturisers are also beneficial for eczema-prone skin.
Definition: Glycerin is a substance commonly found in all natural fats, including our own skin.
How it works: Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it is a type of substance that attracts moisture. When applied to one’s skin, glycerin helps to maintain one’s skin barrier, especially against harsh environmental conditions, as well as prevent skin dryness, making it great for eczema or psoriasis-prone skin.
Definition: Commonly known as HA, hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance in our skin that helps to replenish skin moisture levels and lubricate connective tissues in joints.
How it works: HA is known to hold up to vast amounts of moisture – 1g of HA can hold up to 6 litres of water! But it’s not just the amount of moisture that HA can hold that’s impressive, but also the fact that HA is able to regulate the amount of moisture delivered to the skin. Too much water to the skin can also result in problems, such as causing key substances holding the skin’s surface intact to break down.
The result? Firmer, more supple skin with reduced fine lines and wrinkles.
Definition: Hydroquinone is a compound commonly used to lighten dark patches of skin, such as melasma, freckles, or age spots.
How it works: Pigmentation generally arises from too much melanin being clustered together, generally resulting in the dark melasma patches we see. Hydroquinone helps by interrupting this pigmentation formation process, preventing skin from creating an excess amount of melanin. Over time, this helps dark spots fade gradually.
While some over-the-counter products contain hydroquinone, stronger concentrations for more stubborn pigmentation require a clinic prescription.
Definition: Also known as Vitamin B3, niacinamide is a multi-purpose skincare ingredient that has many restorative effects for aging skin.
How it works: Niacinamide has multiple benefits, and can help to:
- Improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tones, and fine lines
- Reduce redness and blotchiness in skin
- Boost skin immunity
- Regulate oil flow, making it good for acne-prone skin
- Protect skin from infrared light
Definition: Retinoic acid is an active version of the Vitamin A molecule, and is a powerful anti-aging skincare ingredient. This is the form of Vitamin A that actually repairs skin.
Don’t confuse it with retinol! Retinol, retinyl acetate, and retinyl palmitate are other derivatives of Vitamin A, and are actually converted into retinoic acid when they come into contact with your skin. As a result, they tend to be gentler, but weaker.
How it works: Retinoic acid helps to stimulate skin cell renewal, promote collagen and elastin production, reduce the appearance of pigmentation, as well as keep skin hydrated. As a result, retinoid acid can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, ranging from stubborn acne to pigmentation from prolonged UV exposure.
Definition: Peptides are groups of amino acids, and are the fundamental building blocks of skin.
Peptides are what makes your skin supple and “QQ”, and without it, wrinkles, rough skin, and other aging woes tend to surface.
Different peptides have different functions, from increasing skin suppleness to smoothing wrinkles and maintaining the skin’s protective barrier.
How it works: Most peptides essentially signal to skin cells to carry out certain functions, such as reducing redness, relaxing muscles – thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles – or stimulating collagen production.
There are other peptides however that don’t signal anything but are small enough to penetrate deep into your skin and act as a delivery vehicle for other active ingredients – just like how copper peptides aid in wound healing.
Titanium Oxide/Zinc Oxide
Definition: These are mineral inorganic ingredients that can protect your skin from the full spectrum of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
How it works: Both titanium oxide and zinc oxide work as physical barriers against the sun’s UV rays, sitting on the surface of your skin and preventing UVA and UVB rays from penetrating through.
Sunscreens with these active ingredients start protecting you the moment you apply it, and are photostable: meaning they don’t break down when exposed to sunlight.
We carry the TiZO2 & TiZO3 range of mineral sunscreens that contain both titanium oxide and zinc oxide as active ingredients. For more information, click here.
With the above in mind, it’s good to ask yourself: are you on a pampering skincare range, or a functional skincare range? Some beauty products can be pampering and smell great, but may not do as much functionally for your skin.
Effective medical-grade skincare containing functional active ingredients is key to combating various skin problems, be it acne, pigmentation, or aging. At LS Aesthetic, we use the above ingredients in our skincare range to rejuvenate tired skin, as well as treat various skin conditions.
Furthermore, there’s no 1 magic ingredient that can solve all your skin’s woes. A combination of different active ingredients is key to achieve radiant, hydrated skin that can withstand the test of time. It’s best to get a doctor’s recommendation on what skincare products you should use, depending on your skin condition.
For more information on our skincare products, call us at +65 6738 4700, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at Wisma Atria Office Tower, #10-04, along Orchard Road.
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