Skincare ingredients: what to look for and what to avoid
We all want that baby soft, smooth-like-buttah skin that we see touted on by influencers, and ad campaigns.
Believe it or not, it's attainable, and you don't even have to use Photoshop to get it. I know, right, hard to grapple with.
As we age, our skin can get better (or worse) depending on how much attention we give our skin with a morning or evening skincare routine, if you wear sunscreen or not, and what you consume. It's never too late to get a thought out routine going to improve your skin.
What better time than now to get a routine going since we're hunkered down in quarantine anyway. Might as well give yourself a good pamper sesh that'll nourish your skin and make you feel refreshed.
If you're looking to start a routine or revamp your existing routine, here are some ingredients that you'll want in your products and some that you’ll want to avoid.
One of the best and most popular ingredients to look out for in your skincare products is Alpha-hydroxy Acids or AHAs. AHAs come in various forms, such as citric, lactic, and glycolic. These acids help with fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and can possibly shrink enlarged pores. This ingredient can be found in creams, toners, serums, and concentrated chemical peels. It's best to use at night, but if you're going to use it during the day, make sure to apply a generous sunscreen layer to avoid your skin burning.
Another great ingredient to have in your skincare is retinoid which come in forms like retinol, retinyl esters, and retinal aldehyde. Retinoids will improve acne and acne scarring, helping the skin look smoother and softer. This ingredient will also soften fine lines and wrinkles, and you'll find it in many anti-aging products. Retinoids can be prescribed, or milder versions can be found over the counter. Be forewarned; your skin will look worse before it looks better. Side effects of using retinoids are red, tight, dry, and flaky skin. These side effects can last from 2-4 weeks because your skin needs to adjust to this ingredient. If you stick with it, your skin will improve and look brighter and youthful so hang in there while your skin goes through its transformation.
This antimicrobial preservative is used by big companies to extend the shelf-life of products. It's a formaldehyde-releasing ingredient that is considered safe in small amounts, but it can also cause acne, skin allergies, joint pain, and headaches. Try to avoid this ingredient, if possible. Although it does allow other ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin, that also means not just good ingredients, so, again, skip products that have this in their ingredient deck.
We all love a decadent-smelling product, but fragrances added to products should be avoided for several reasons. Some of these fragrances come from petroleum-based chemicals that can clog your pores or irritate the skin. Others include phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors. What does that mean? It means that they can cause pregnancy loss or sterility. So if you're pregnant or looking to get pregnant, you definitely want to avoid fragrances. Look for labels that say fragrance-free, not unscented. The unscented labels mean they've added a fragrance to mask an unpleasant chemical smell.
There are many great and not so great ingredients that you need to be aware of when considering new products, so make sure to do some research if you're unfamiliar with that element.