When it comes to food, it’s fair enough to say that most of us know how to read a label, but when it comes to skincare, not so much. How can you expect to find the best product for your skin if you don’t know what you’re putting on it or if it's appropriate for your skin type?
Here are some of the most popular skincare ingredients and what they do.
Hyaluronic acid has been having a moment for a few years now. It’s something that we naturally have in our bodies, but the levels decline as we age. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so it’s one of the most hydrating ingredients out there. It also gives the skin a fresh and plump appearance. This ingredient can be found in products such as moisturizers and serums.
Product to try: L'Oreal Hyaluronic Acid. With 1.5% pure hyaluronic acid, this affordable serum can be used on its own or along with other products.
Using retinoids is one of the best ways to fight aging, acne, or even both at the same time. This ingredient is derived from Vitamin A. It increases cell turnover, making it ideal to get rid of stubborn pimples and prevent new ones from forming. Because it also helps the skin to produce the protein collagen (which improves hydration and elasticity), it can help fill in lines and wrinkles.
Product to try: Retin A Micro. Available by prescription only, Retin A Micro is one of the strongest and most effective products you can buy.
Using retinoids is one of the best ways to fight aging, acne, or even both at the same time.
Vitamin C has been considered a powerhouse ingredient for years now. It’s also been climatically proven in multiple studies to help fight the effects of aging. Sometimes labeled as L-ascorbic acid, it brightens the skin while kicking free radical damage to the curb.
Product to try: Instytutum Anti-Wrinkle Brightening C-Serum. I’ve personally been using this product for a while. Unlike most serums, it’s creamy and moisturizing. I don’t even need a separate moisturizer during the day.
Is your skin looking super dull? You might want to incorporate a product with glycolic acid into your routine. This ingredient is excellent for exfoliation. In fact, you can find it in the chemical peels you get at a spa or your dermatologist's office. Glycolic acid can also be used to treat a variety of skin conditions including psoriasis and melasma.
Product to try: Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. Mario Badescu toner is a great way to get a quick dose of glycolic acid in. Use a cotton ball and slough off those dead skin cells.
Salicylic acid is another exfoliant that perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for its effectiveness. Derived from willow bark (yes, willow bark), it can penetrate deep into the pores and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. This ingredient cleans out the gunk in your pores and reduces the appearance of pimples.
Product to try: Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads. If you like a pre-soaked pad, these pads have both glycolic and salicylic acid, making this product a great multitasker to help clear up your skin immediately as well as prevent future breakouts.
Salicylic acid can penetrate deep into the pores and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Lactic acid is another ingredient that doesn’t quite get enough credit for its power. More gentle than glycolic acid, it’s great for exfoliating, improving the look of lines and wrinkles as well as lightening up dark spots. But there’s one important thing to keep in mind: it can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. So, if you use it, don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you go outside.
Product to try: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA. This super-affordable serum has both lactic acid and hyaluronic acid. What a dynamic duo!
Knowledge is power, and when you know what ingredients are in your skincare, you’ll be better able to pick the right products for your needs and your skin goals.