The definitive list of Skincare Ingredients

skincare, top tips

Suffering from a myriad of skincare ailments during my 25 years of life thus far has given me a natural interest in skincare, and ingredients used within skincare products.

Over the years I have experimentally tried various homemade concoctions and shop bought products in the search for perfect skin; ranging from grinding green tea leaves with Manuka honey and smothering the sticky mixture onto my face in a clumpy manner, all the way to using a £130 Chanel face cream, and actually being naïve enough to believe it would make me look ten years younger. I believe I have researched, reviewed, tried and tested so many skincare products that I have now become somewhat of a skincare connoisseur. What I have reluctantly realised is that informing yourself on ingredients is paramount to choosing the right skincare for your skins needs. Below I have compiled a list of what I have found to be the most popular and effective ingredients presently being used in skincare.

IMG_2589

A – Amino Acids – Formed to build Creatine, Amino Acids will support natural skin functions. Cells are stimulated to produce more collagen and elastin. This helps to maintain younger looking skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

Vitamin A – Topical Vitamin A used in creams and serums is proven by dermatologists as anti-aging. UV Exposure and other environmental factors cause the production of collagen to slow down, consequently causing early signs of ageing. Vitamin A (and Retinol / Retinoid which are derivatives of Vitamin A) ‘’turn on cells’’ that are responsible for producing new collagen, actively fighting signs of ageing and blitzing fine lines (Canyon Ranch, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types]

B – BHA – BHA is an acronym for Beta Hydroxy Acid. This is the structural name for Salicylic acid that can be used to fight signs of acne. Salicylic Acid gets through oil and helps to normalize pores, reducing the production of blackheads and spots. Don’t let the word ‘’acid’’ put you off (skincare acids are not the type that burn through your skin, thank goodness because that would be worrying!), BHA contains naturally calming and exfoliating properties, giving skin a rejuvenating glow.

[Recommended for Oily skin & Acne sufferers]

C – Caffeine – Being a stimulant, caffeine can offer anti-oxidant benefits to skin. It penetrates skin and is ultra-soothing.

[Recommended for those with non-sensitive skin as Caffeine can potentially be an irritant]

Collagen – Perhaps one of the ingredients we are more familiar with, but what does Collagen actually do for our skin? Collagen is a protein found throughout our body. It is produced naturally within our skin, and one of its fundamental functions is to provide elasticity. However, with factors such as stress, ageing, pollutants and UV damage affecting skin over time – collagen production can slow down. Using skincare products with added collagen will help to maintain the skins elasticity and firmness that we associate with youthful skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

D – Vitamin D – When we talk about Vitamin D we generally think about UV Rays, However, Vitamin D oils and serums can be hugely beneficial to skin. Vitamin D helps to minimise acne, retain skins elasticity and lessen fine lines. UV Rays from the sun help the body to naturally produce Vitamin D; moreover if you live in a northern climate it is possible to develop a deficiency. You can orally take Vitamin D supplements, or search for skincare that contains Vitamin D.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

G – Glycolic Acid – Glycolic Acid exfoliates the skin, it is often used in toners / toning solutions. It helps to shed dead skin, giving a natural glow and radiance.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

H – Hyaluronic Acid – Ah yes the wonder ingredient that is absolutely everywhere at the moment! Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is a moisture binding ingredient. It helps to keep skin plump, firm and younger looking. FYI – it is a naturally found compound in the body, which is also used (completely safely may I add) in lip fillers, hence the ‘’plumping’’ affect.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

IMG_2591

M – Marula Oil – Marula Oil is essentially made up of many fatty acids. Because of this it has the potential to deeply hydrate skin, healing skin and improving elasticity. If used regularly it can improve skin softness.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types / Particularly Dry Skin]

P – Peptides – When collagen breaks down, short segments of amino acids are formed. These are the tiny proteins and active molecules known as peptides. Peptides in skin care can provide significant anti-aging benefits (Mango Madness Skincare, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

R – Retinol – Retinol is essentially a large dose of Vitamin A, used for anti-aging in skincare. Retinol, like Vitamin A, will boost collagen production – banishing fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to remember to only use one Retinol treatment at a time, and to use sun protection – Retinol can thin the skin layers by gently scrubbing away at dead skin cells. This can leave skin open to sun damage if you use Retinol daily for longer durations.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types /Also recommended for Acne & Hyperpigmentation]

IMG_2593

S – Squalane – Often named as the replacement for Argan and Coconut oil, Squalane oil offers many benefits for skin. It is derived from plants, and the same oil is naturally produced in our bodies. Using it topically helps to main Squalane oil levels as we age. It is also noncomedegenic, which means it is one of the oils least likely to clog pores (Popsugar, 2017).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

V – Vitamin C – We all aware of the health benefits of Vitamin C, as it is often recommended to fight to common cold. But did you know this Vitamin is also a powerhouse for skincare? Due to its anti-oxidant properties Vitamin C helps skin to fight off any oxidative stress. Results show that over time Vitamin C will help your skin to enhance its natural defence system.  Vitamin C is also great for anti-aging.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types] 

IMG_2596

 

 

Advertisements

Are commercial brands like Neutrogena suitable for sensitive skin? 

opinion piece

*Disclaimer; I am not a trained cosmetologist or scientist, opinions included within this post are based on my own experience, skin type, research and opinion* 

I know I have previously mentioned all of my hundreds of skincare concerns, however I am going to reiterate for the sake of this post. My skin seems to incessantly hate me, for it doesn’t matter how much time or money I spend trying to love it – it still misbehaves almost instantaneously. The main problem is that I have suffered with acne for the last 10 years, meaning my t-zone is naturally full of oil. I was taking accutane for a year to treat my acne (a very strong drug used to treat cancer and other ailments). This drug severely dries out your skin, so now I have both permanently oily and dry skin. Oily overall with dry peeling patches. So not ideal really. 

Over the last few years, I have tried and tested a myriad of skincare brands and products. And there seems to be one thing in common with a majority of them.  They are super stringent on sensitive skin, and consequently cause an over production of sebum – making any skin issues worsen. You see, if you strip your skin of its natural oils, as a defence mechanism your skin will start to product more sebum (oil). An over production of sebum is what causes acne. This is counter productive to treating your oily skin problem, as you are in fact adding to the issue. 

If your skin feels tight after your skincare regime, you may be using a cleanser containing alcohol. Or simply over cleansing. A lot of drugstore / commercial brands use alcohol within their face washes and toners. 

I recently attended a press event for Neutrogena, where I received these skincare products in my goodie bag:Using these products just emphasised to me how there is an entire branch of the skincare industry misadvertising. If we take the above cleanser as an example, ‘gently cleanses..’ – there is nothing gentle about this cleanser I can assure you. I have attempted to use this cream wash and it totally dried out my skin. It contains alcohol AND salicylic acid. Now, although salicylic acid is known for its acne fighting properties. What these advertisers often don’t mention is that prolonged use can dry and thin skin, and cause excessive dryness. The combination of these two ingredients plus a whole host of other chemicals makes these products very drying. There are also websites where you can check if a product contains irritant ingredients, this is helpful as you can check before investing. It’s important to remember that some of these ingredients are necessary, however try to choose products with less harmful amounts of these irritant ingredients. 

I’m sure that these products may be suitable for those with less sensitive skin. However the fact that some of the ingredients are harmful to skin, rings alarm bells in my mind. 

If you do have sensitive skin, I would avoid brands that make products similar to this. Remember to check ingredients before purchasing. Here are some other tips to stop you from over-drying your skin; 

1. Limit chemical exposure 

If you can, try to cleanse with a plain oil or water. Of course you can use a gentle oil or make up remover to take off make up beforehand 

2. Tone it down 

A lot of toners are stringent and drying. They often contain perfumes, alcohol and salicylic acid. Check the ingredients, and remove them from your skincare regime 

3. Creamy dreamy 

Invest in an appropriate moisturiser for your skin type. Especially for over night moisturisation, this will help to repair skin and leave it replenished in the morning 

The conclusion is that you must be over careful when purchasing skincare products. Always check and research ingredients – and be aware of what your own skin can handle and needs. Every facial wash out there is going to emphasise how brilliant it is – we must learn to read between the lines. I think as consumers we can often become lazy, and we trust certain brands because they have a huge reputation. This does not necessarily mean that they always have our best interests at heart. Products are produced on a mass scale to make money. Sometimes, you have to stop and think about what exactly you are choosing to lump on your skin.