Shopping for skincare ain't easy but knowing what certain ingredients do can help you decipher whether or not a product is likely to work for your complexion.
Below we have listed the 5 most asked about skincare ingredients, revealing what they do, why to use them and the benefits you can expect, plus the products you can find them in. Happy reading, your skin will thank you for it!
Alpha Hydroxy Acid - AHA
[al·far hi·drox·e ah·sid]
What are AHAs? AHAs are water soluble acids and can be derived from various sources such as milk (lactic acid), sugar cane (glycolic acid) or fruit (magic acid).
Why use AHAS? Often found in face masks and toners, these acids nibble away at dead cells to exfoliate the skin. Of the two most used acids, glycolic acid is the most potent, whereas lactic acid is gentler but has a hydrating benefit too.
AHA results: Incorporate these acids into your routine 2-3 times a week after cleansing for best results. Your complexion will look smoother and more radiant with regular use and it will be able to absorb other skincare products more effectively.
Beta Hydroxy Acid - BHA
[bee·tar hi·drox·e ah·sid]
What are BHAs? BHAs are fat-soluble acids. The most frequently used BHA in skincare is salicylic acid.
Why use BHAs? Since it is fat soluble it can cut through sebum and into pores to exfoliate which makes it ideal for tackling blemishes.
BHA results: Beyond battling blemishes, Salicylic acid also exfoliates dead skin cells (just like AHAs), tackles inflammation, reduces acne bacteria and prevents future breakouts. Use a few times a week after cleansing for best results.
What is Vitamin C? Vitamin C is a hero ingredient for skin. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, it is a water-soluble vitamin naturally found in food.
Why use Vitamin C? It’s an antioxidant which means it protects your complexion from aggressors like free radicals caused by UV rays and pollution. For anyone noticing fine lines, Vitamin C is your friend since it promotes collagen production which, over time, can leave skin firmer and smoother. Lastly, it inhibits melanin so pigmentation will appear less noticeable.
Vitamin C results: Your complexion will look smoother, firmer and more even toned. Some complexions can be sensitive to Vitamin C so build it into your routine gradually. Apply in the mornings and build up to nighttimes too. If your skin can tolerate it, you can apply after an AHA or BHA.
What is hyaluronic acid? Naturally occurring in our own bodies, hyaluronic acid is a large sugar molecule.
What makes hyaluronic acid so great in skincare? Its ability to bind over 1,000 times its own weight in water to plump and hydrate the skin. It is gentle enough to apply to skin every day, morning and night.
Hyaluronic results: Your complexion will look smoother, softer and fine lines will be diminished.
What is retinol?
A derivative of Vitamin A, retinol is a skincare superstar! It is a hardworking ingredient that increases cell turnover, essentially making skin act younger.
Why use retinol? A great addition to any 30+ skincare routine, retinol should be used at night (it’s sun sensitive). Since it speeds up skin cell turnover some irritation can occur, so start slow applying it 1-2 nights a week and building up gradually to 3-4 nights after cleansing. Retinol is super potent so keep it simple and don’t apply at the same time as other actives like Vitamin C or acids.
Retinol results: Your complexion will benefit from fewer breakouts, reduced pigmentation, less noticeable lines, smoother texture and a more luminous appearance.
What is charcoal?
Charcoal is created by burning carbon-based substances.
Why use charcoal? Charcoal is absorbent so, in theory, it can draw dirt and oil away from the skin and pores.
Charcoal results: There isn't tons of science to back up the use of charcoal in skincare, but for oily complexions you should notice less shine and if you're prone to spots hopefully fewer breakouts.