Know your skingredients
Writer: Chona Elaine Reyes | Artwork: Melissa Rivera
With so many skin care products on the market, it’s important to know the ingredients that really matter.
In a world where beauty is defined in thousands of ways and may differ depending on the culture you are born into, one common indicator for judging beauty is your skin’s health. That’s the reason why for thousands of years, skin regimen has been taken seriously by women, especially those who come from royalty.
Because of the overwhelming number of products in the market, add to that the intimidating “science-y” terms on the labels, it is tempting to give in to sales talk. Many end up buying products lacking a proper, informed choice.
To better equip ourselves with the knowledge of what we are putting on our face, here are five basic active ingredients to look out for the next time we indulge in a skin care product.
These active ingredients are responsible for delivering a product’s supposed benefits. They are vital in making skin care products do what they promise.
When used topically, hyaluronic acid creates a moisture barrier on the skin, helping to make it smoother and softer. This ingredient could hold up to one thousand times its own weight in water, thus producing hydrated skin.
Hyaluronic acid is also a smart and responsive nutrient as it can adjust its moisture absorption rate based on the humidity of the season and climate. It also improves elasticity and reverses free radical damage. Hyaluronic acid is one ingredient that could work well in all skin types. In a nutshell, it is a moisturizer and wrinkle- diminisher.
Retinol is an active form of the vitamin A molecule. It attaches to almost any skin cell and makes it behave like a younger, hea
lthy skin cell. Touted as a skincare miracle, retinols are powerful exfoliants th
at removes dead skin cells and problematic layers and turn over younger, healthier cells.
Using retinols can improve the firmness of skin, reverse signs of sun and environmental damage, treat acne, reduce hyper-pigmentation, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles.
Ceramides in skin care products are used to replenish the natural lipids that are lost from exposure to harsh environmental factors, use of drying products, and the inevitable results of the aging process. They restore moisture, strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and help protect it against harm from foreign elements.
Research shows that ceramides are also particularly effective in treating eczema and psoriasis.
The peptides used in anti-aging products enter skin cells and induce them to do certain things like produce collagen, alleviate redness or signal muscles to relax, therefore minimizing wrinkles. One common peptide found in skincare products is ‘palmitoyl pentapeptide’ which has been shown effective in fighting wrinkles.
There are other peptides that don’t directly stimulate our skin to do anything but because they are so small can penetrate deep into the layers and act as a delivery mechanism for other ingredients. Copper peptides, for example, bring molecules of copper deep into the skin where it can improve wound healing from the inside out.
Peptides are best applied in serums or creams for a long period of time. One can start to see results in four to twelve weeks.
Alpha and Beta Hydroxyl Acids
Popularly called AHA/BHA, these are exfoliators that works on different levels of the skin.
AHAs, which are water soluble, work at the surface layer of skin only while BHAs, which are oil soluble, penetrate deeper and remove dead skin cells clogged in pores. For oily or acne prone skin, BHAs are recommended whereas AHAs are used to brighten dull or dry skin. You may often times find both ingredients in one product for more effective exfoliation.
Acne and aging are obviously the two sworn enemies of women (even men) today. Who wouldn’t want clear, glowing and youthful skin? Many of us are not winners in the genetic lottery of great skin. However, with the help of these active ingredients along with a healthy lifestyle, achieving healthy skin is not an unreachable goal like going to the moon.
With the right choice of products and consistent good habits, you could wake up one day to a more beautiful skin.