Monday, March 9, 2009

Skincare 101

I found an article from Real Simple that educates about common skincare product ingredients.  Have you ever read multiple labels, only to be confused about what it is exactly that you're slathering all over your face?  Here is the low-down on what they are and why you might want them or not want them in your regimen.  

1.  Vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid, l-ascorbic acid, ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate,                                     ascorbyl palmitate)

Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant (meaning that it combats the free-radicals our skin encounters daily) that is good for aging and sun-damaged skin.  Watch for this ingredient if your skin is sensitive.

2.  Salicylic Acid (a.k.a. beta-hydroxy acid)

Look for this ingredient if you have normal-oily skin and want to treat acne.  Do not use products containing salicylic acid if you have sensitive skin, dry skin, or have an allergy to aspirin (FYI - I just read in a magazine that a quick at-home remedy for combating a pimple is to crush an aspirin and make a paste with water - leave mixture on pimple for 10 minutes and rinse off).  Aspirin and salicylic acid come from the same family.  

3.  Ferulic Acid (a.k.a. 4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid)

Use products with this ingredient if you have normal-dry skin and are interested in fighting sun damage and aging.  According to Real Simple, this ingredient is usually used in conjunction with Vitamins E and C as a stabilizer.

4.  Retinol (a.k.a. retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate)

This ingredient is good for normal-oily skin and treats acne, aging, and sun-damage.  Avoid   this one if you have sensitive skin.  

5.  Idebenone (a.k.a. ubiquinone, coenzyme Q-10)

This one is good for all skin types and is a powerful antioxidant that treats sun damage, 
irritation, and aging.  As an antioxidant, it possesses anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the skin.    

6.  Hyaluronic Acid (a.k.a. sodium hyaluronate)

Look for this ingredient if you want to treat aging; it's good for all skin types - especially 
dry skin.  

7.  Green Tea (a.k.a. EGCG [epigallocatechin gallate])

This is another antioxidant good for all skin types.  It treats sun damage, irritation, and aging.  An interesting factoid on the Real Simple page states that "...studies have shown that a product containing at least 5% green tea extract may help prevent skin cancer."  

8.   Niacinamide (a.k.a. nicotinamide)

Especially good for dry skin, this ingredient treats sun damage, irritation, and aging (I'm noticing a theme here - ha).  A full description regarding what exactly this ingredient does can be found on the website, but it translates to this: that it gives your skin a "healthy, youthful glow."  Yes, please.

9.  Alpha Lipoic Acid (a.k.a. lipoic acid)

This is a powerful exfoliator used to treat sun damage and aging.  All skin types can use this, but avoid it if you have very sensitive skin.  

This completes our first lesson; now you are armed with more knowledge to go out and embark on the wonderful world of skincare.  At the very least, you will know what those ingredients are doing in your products.  Check out the full article here; it goes into more depth regarding why these ingredients work and provide some examples of products containing the ingredients.      

Happy skin-caring......Tiff.

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