Which skin care ingredients should you be looking for and what do they actually do?

Which skin care ingredients should you be looking for and what do they actually do?

Even though I spend an awful lot of time researching and reading anything beauty, I still get flummoxed by the thousands of ingredients in skincare. I’ve put together a list of some of these to help you decide what you should be looking for and what the ingredients do:

Adenosine – An anti inflammatory, aids wound healing and regulates healthy cell function.

AHA (Alpha-HydroxyAcid – such as glycolic, lactic and malic) A chemical compound that acts as an exfoliant, promotes cell turnover and possesses humectant (moisture preserving) properties.

Aloe Vera – Has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and humectant properties.

Amino Acids/Peptides – Anti inflammatory, used to promote collagen and elastin production.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate – A stable form of vitamin C which provides antioxidant, brightening, anti-acne and anti-aging benefits.

Azelaic Acid – An anti-inflammatory, antibacterial compound used to treat acne and skin pigmentation issues.

Betaine Salicylate – A salicylic acid and betaine compound which performs as an exfoliator as well as anti-acne and antimicrobial agent. Gentle alternative to salicylic acid

BHA (Salicylic Acid) – Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial chemical exfoliant used to treat acne and hyperpigmentation. Can be naturally occurring or synthetic.

Caffeine – Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient which can temporarily reduce redness and under-eye puffiness by constricting blood vessels.

Ceramides – Lipids that help repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier system.

Charcoal – A highly absorbent carbon material which absorbs excess oil and impurities. Used in deep cleansing and acne treatments.

Clay – An absorbent mineral used to absorb excess oil and impurities. Often used in acne and pore refining treatments.

Cocoa Butter – An antioxidant rich, plant derived lipid which moisturises and prevents water loss.

Collagen – A protein with humectant properties which usually appears as a soluble form. Provides hydrating and temporary skin plumping effects.

EGF/Oligopeptides – Peptides composed of amino acids. Anti-inflammatory and promotes collagen and elastin production.

Green Tea – Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant used in anti-ageing formulas as well as in treatments for sensitive skin.

Honey – Anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant rich humectant ingredient with emollient properties. Often used in formulas for treating dryness, acne and skin irritation.

Hyaluronic Acid – Highly effective humectant ingredient which provides hydration and temporary skin plumping effects.

L-ascorbic Acid – Common form of vitamin C which provides antioxidant, brightening, anti-acne and anti-ageing benefits.

Mango Seed Butter – Antioxidant plant derived lipid, which moisturises and prevents water loss.

Niacinamide – Vitamin B3, this maintains and improves skin elasticity, treats and prevents acne and redness.

Plant Based Oils eg argan, argan, olive, green tea seed, sunflower, camellia and marula. – These are plant derived fatty acid-rich lipids with emollient and antioxidant properties- some are also anti-inflammatory and/or anti-microbial.

Propolis – A resinous material produced by Bees: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. Used to treat acne or irritation.

Retinoids – A form of Vitamin A with the ability to regulate cell turnover as well as prevent and reduce fine lines, wrinkles and acne.

Shea Butter – Antioxidant rich, plant derived lipid that moisturises and prevents water loss.

Plant Derived Squalene/Squalane – A lipid derived from olives, wheat bran, rice or sugarcane with emollient and antioxidant properties. Squalane is a more stabilised form of squalene (so go for the Squalane). Make sure you look out for plant derived, as it can also be made from Shark’s liver.

Tea Tree oil – Antimicrobial and anti-fungal essential oil, effective for the treatment of mild to moderate acne.

Zinc Oxide – Anti-inflammatory mineral-derived material that can be used to soothe irritation and form a protective barrier over irritated or damaged skin. It also possesses UV protection properties.

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