Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) The AHA family of acids are derived from natural sources such as fruit, milk or sugar. Generally speaking, the benefits of AHAs on the skin include exfoliation, brightening, smoothing, anti-aging, and acne prevention. Two of the most commonly used AHAs in skincare, however, are glycolic acid that is derived from sugar and lactic acid which is made from milk. The former is unique in that the molecules of glycolic acid are smaller than those found in other AHAs which allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin providing its benefits more effectively and to more layers of the skin. Lactic acid, on the other hand, offers the same benefits of other AHAs but as a non-friction exfoliant that breaks down and dissolves dead skin cells without causing skin irritation, it is suitable for use on sensitive skin.
Vitamin C As an antioxidant, vitamin C is a key ingredient to keep your skin looking bright and youthful. First, it helps protect against harmful free radicals by neutralizing them which, in turn, helps to decrease the visible signs of aging on your face such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots from sun damage, and loss of moisture. But the most notable and popularized benefit of vitamin C is its ability to brighten your face and diminish any discoloration. Its antioxidant properties work to even your skin leaving you with a radiant glow. However, vitamin C is a temperamental ingredient and difficult to stabilize for extended shelf life so looking for a product that also includes vitamin E or ascorbic acid can help increase its longevity. Learn more about the benefits of vitamin C and start including this powerful antioxidant in your daily skincare routine.
Hyaluronic Acid Hyaluronic acid is a powerful ingredient that has garnered a lot of attention over the past few years thanks to its intense moisturizing properties and anti-aging capabilities. As a naturally occurring sugar found in the body, it is a major component of the skin’s structure. But as we age, naturally produced levels of hyaluronic acid begin to decrease which contributes to a loss of skin tone and volume. But topical application helps to counteract the visible effects of lost hyaluronic acid. First, its capacity to retain water and help regulate your skin’s moisture levels keeps your skin balanced and hydrated. Secondly, hyaluronic acid works to improve skin resilience. Together, these two functions combine to restore volume and fullness to the skin reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinol Within the family of retinoids, retinol is a man-made derivative of vitamin A and when placed on the surface of the skin, it is converted into retinoic acid. It is a key ingredient in many skincare products because of the significant benefits it has on skin including minimizing the appearance of skin damage caused by free-radicals and minimizing the visible signs of aging. Retinol helps to combat the natural loss of facial fullness by increasing the skin’s ability to retain moisture. And by increasing your skin’s hydration it will appear fuller and smoother. With consistent and extended use, retinol can even help to soften age spots and even your skin tone as it sloughs away layers of dead skin and unclogs pores.
Salicylic Acid Salicylic acid is a part of the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) family and a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter acne products and treatments. It is primarily used to treat non-inflamed breakouts and blackheads by breaking up dead skin cells and removing them from the surface of the skin. It also helps to reduce the presence of excess oil on your skin and can penetrate deeper into the pores to clear it of any otherwise clogging debris. Though it is naturally occurring in white willow bark and wintergreen, most of the salicylic acid used today is synthetic.
Ceramides A critical part of the skin’s natural barrier which helps to protect against a variety of environmental stressors while retaining moisture, ceramides are lipids naturally found in your skin. If there is an imbalance in the ceramide ratio of your skin, its protective barrier will become compromised and ineffective leading to dryness, itching, and inflammation. Unfortunately, your natural levels of ceramides can be easily decreased when exposed to hot water, soaps, certain chemicals, and other environmental factors. So utilizing products which feature ceramides can help to rebuild this barrier and prevent further damage.
Niacinamide Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B3 and is very effective at soothing irritated skin. Thanks to its soothing and antioxidant properties, applying niacinamide to your skin can help minimize the redness and irritation associated with certain skin conditions. It also boosts your skin’s ability to retain moisture while increasing the effectiveness of ceramides and rebuilding the skin’s natural protective barrier.
Vitamin E Found naturally on human skin, vitamin E levels are often depleted due to sun exposure and other environmental irritants. However, it has antioxidant properties that can help protect against and limit the damage of harmful free radicals. It can also be used to stabilize otherwise volatile or temperamental ingredients such as vitamin C.
Benzoyl Peroxide Benzoyl peroxide is an extremely effective ingredient for treating acne as it kills bacteria within your pores. Due to the fact that bacteria cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment, it is reduced when benzoyl peroxide introduces oxygen to the pores. Fewer bacteria (and clearer pores) means fewer breakouts. However, benzoyl peroxide can wreak havoc on the balance of your skin and result in over-drying.
Sulfur Another effective ingredient for acne treatment is sulfur. Sulfur works by drying out the top layer of skin and easily peeling it away from the surface of your face. Doing so helps to keep pores unclogged and promotes the growth of new layers of skin. It also has antibacterial properties which can help combat lingering bacteria on the skin.