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The Top 5 Ingredients to Look Out For In Skin Care Products

26th June 2015

Let’s face it, when it comes to skin care products, we’re more than a little spoilt for choice.

But knowing what, exactly, is in them is often a daunting task to say the least. Indeed, just reading the ingredients on a bottle of moisturiser or cleanser alone is often an intimidating affair.

So, for those of you who opted not to study skin care product labels as a foreign language, we give you the lowdown on the top five ingredients you should look out for in your skin care products.

Hyaluronic Acid

A naturally occurring substance in the human body, Hyaluronic Acid regulates your body’s cell renewal whilst also lubricating the many connective tissues in your body (such as your internal body fat, ligaments and bones) and keeping your skin’s moisture levels and elasticity in check.

Able to hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water, Hyaluronic Acid serves to create a moisture barrier on your skin, making any dehydrated skin much smoother and softer.

Sadly, our natural levels of Hyaluronic Acid will deplete over time, which makes it a popular ingredient in many anti-ageing products.

AHA/BHA

Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid (otherwise known as AHAs and BHAs, respectively) may sound like potentially hazardous ingredients to put on your face, but their effects are much less intimidating than their names.

Used primarily as exfoliators, AHAs and BHAs are derived from natural sources such as apples, pears, milk and plants.

But although both AHAs and BHAs exfoliate your skin, there is a slight difference in the function that each ingredient works.

AHAs (which are water soluble) exfoliate the surface layer of your skin only, making them a key ingredient in many exfoliating cleansers, whilst BHAs (which are oil soluble) penetrate deeper into your skin and help to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and can lead to blackheads and acne.

Peptides

Another popular choice in anti-aging products, peptides are segments of active proteins that communicate with your skin cells and instruct them to produce collagen (to strengthen your skin), elastin (to help your skin ‘bounce back’) or reduce any redness, amongst other things. They can even prompt your skin to heal itself after it’s been wounded!

Although there are many other types of peptides that perform a wide variety of functions in your body, the majority of peptides you will encounter in your skin care products will mostly help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on your face, although they could also be in creams designed to minimise the effects of sun damage.

Ceramide

Typically, ceramides are used to replenish the natural lipids, otherwise known as fats, that are lost from exposure to a range of factors including environment, products that dry the skin out (such as petroleum waxes and parabens) and through the natural process of aging.

They do this by restoring moisture to the skin, helping to fortify its natural barrier against harmful foreign elements such as pollution, harsh chemicals and the sun.

Retinol

An active form of the vitamin A molecule, retinols are powerful exfoliants that help the skin to shed its dead layers (which can lead to blockages in the pores, if left unattended) and turn over a younger, healthier batch of skin cells.

A common ingredient in products designed to reverse the signs of sun damage, retinols also increase the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, both of which make skin more supple and smooth, and are frequently used to treat a wide range of skin problems such as acne, hyperpigmentation, dark circles under the eyes, fine lines and wrinkles. Which makes retinols an all-round skin care miracle of sorts!

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