Hey everyone and welcome back to my blog!
Procrastinating the idea of comprehending what your skincare regime is targeting and adding up just another bulk load of products to the ever-increasing stash is not unusual but, if you look closely into how every product is formulated, the combination of ingredients used and the 100 steps that you follow, you would be surprised that barely half of them, if even less are actually doing some good. It is extremely crucial to understand your skin requirements because a famous best selling product won’t be for you and will leave you disappointed.
“Skin psychology”, as I like to call it, relies on so many factors that there is no one single reason to blame because in every case there is more than one problem to deal with and that’s why the results differ. For example, a friend and yourself have fair, clear, combination skin with very similar post-acne marks. Both of you are using the same products but your friend’s skin is showing good results while you haven’t seen much improvement in your skin. However, certain ingredients guarantee “better days ahead” as they have the capacity to work in the deeper layers of skin and interfere with the cell activity.
There is a reason why these ingredients have made their way to today’s skincare guide list. These have not only been backed by numerous scientific research but, they show tremendous results when added in the right amounts and used correctly. The benefits they have to offer are not just one but all of them have multitasking capabilities. And the best part is, you will find these ingredients in hundreds of well-formulated products. Read further to find out which one suits your requirements the most.
(Ingredients mentioned in no specific order)
When it comes to achieving a glowing skin, Vitamin C is the first ingredient that comes in most people’s mind. The number of consumers purchasing skincare with this ingredient is growing with each second but, it has been used since hundreds of years in many countries.
However, for consistent long-term use clinically developed forms are not only effective but safe. Daily usage of laboratory formulated versions will do everything from lightening dark spots, improving skin tone, working as one of the best antioxidants, strengthening sunscreen’s protection capacity and, also induce collagen production.
However, there are few things to understand and implement to avoid irritation and dryness. Vitamin C derivatives like Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and more, work slower but are your best picks if you didn’t have a good experience with pure Vitamin C before. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a very stabilised derivative of Vitamin C has been researched and found to not only perform the functions that other forms of Vitamin C do but also as a supplementary to acne treatments(anti-inflammatory). There are also some brands offering Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, which is again a promising direct derivative of Pure Vitamin C. Pure form of Vitamin C— L-ascorbic acid in scientific terms, works really well between 5-12% but, some brands contain more than 15% and it can be sensitising. But, if you prefer them anyway, use only at night, few times a week and make sure to add moisturiser, even if you have oily skin. Whether or not you are looking to lighten dark spots and get an even skin tone, there is so much more this ingredient has to offer so, it is a definite must in everyone’s skincare routine.
Try my current Vitamin C serum—contains 10 Ascorbic Acid with Collagen, here
This ingredient may not be new to many but, only a few percentage of mass consumers are aware that it is naturally present in our body. It is an essential carbohydrate that has a vital role in our skin tissues, protecting eyeballs and helping to lubricate the joints. But, what is actually does?
No, it does not work like AHAs and BHAs, despite the word “acid”. It retains the moisture between the cells, this keeps them plump and smooth, leading to smoother plumper skin appearance. This function makes it a common addition to anti-ageing ingredients. With age and oxidation, the percentage starts to deplete which can have a negative effect on how our skin looks and feels. Whether you are suffering from dehydration, lack of suppleness and have dryness associated fine lines, Hyaluronic Acid based serums will be very helpful. In fact, this ingredient is the most versatile because of it’s no side effect, non-pore clogging and no sticky residual properties. It also provides an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin by protecting and improving skin’s barrier function, the reason why it is suggested for post laser and peels and also for rosacea and eczema. Some researchers also suggested it’s antioxidant properties, so add it to your morning routine ASAP. You can use it with any other product and the results will be enhanced.
Look for concentrated serums and follow with a moisturiser containing the same ingredient for added benefits and moisture retention. You will find it under the names, HA, Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid. There are also algae derived hyaluronic acid serums and The Ordinary makes a good one at an extremely affordable rate– Marine Hyaluronics. Buy from here
Pro Tip– Sodium Hyaluronate has the ablility to reach bit deeper into the epidermis(top layer of the skin) and feels lighter so if you have very oily skin types, then look for this ingredient in a serum form. It is cheaper too.
Try this lightweight serum containing 90% Sodium Hyaluronate with Peptides and Niacinamide for multiple benefits.
Quite a debatable ingredient here, Peptides are quite essential part of our body, performing functions for our hormones, tissue structure, and very important for cell function, growth and metabolism. Peptides are similar to Proteins, yet different and are chains of different types of Amino Acids bonded together yet, shorter than Proteins. They work with cell receptors(functioning as growth factors EGF) to enhance cellular growth and proliferation- simply put, they help grow and divide cells(which slows down significantly with age) that gives a regenerating effect.
In skincare, they have been researched for many years to find out their performance as anti-ageing ingredients. Modern laboratory synthesised Peptides have shown to perform functions that prove that either by penetration or breaking down, they pass through the skin’s barrier and improve visible signs of ageing such as wrinkles, dullness, saggy skin, irregular skin texture and tone to some extent. Consider them as healing agents, accelerating wound healing, internal and external. Some Peptides have been found to show significant results after continued use. Copper Peptides have shown to also work as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. It is a great ingredient to include from the late 20s when you start noticing fine lines, uneven texture(think spiderweb-like pattern on the skin), loss in the firmness of your skin, laugh lines, horizontal forehead lines and crows feet. If you are very sensitive to Retinol and need gradual anti-ageing benefits without any irritation, switch to a product containing multiple Peptides in your anti-ageing routine but, the former has many other benefits such as treating acne, read below.
Try products containing these forms of Peptides;
This is tagged as the gold ingredient for anti-ageing, and it deserves the top spot because of it’s one major quality—the capability to penetrate really deep and being one of the cell-communicating ingredients, yes, it can actually talk to the cells and tell them to function efficiently. When cell function improves, all the necessary activities to keep skin looking great speeden up. Retinol turns into Vitamin A inside our bodies where it regulates cell turnover, increases cell metabolism by influencing the transportation of nutrients and toxins inside and out of the cells. So what you can expect it to do? Reduce fine lines, lighten hyperpigmentation, get rid of congestion, reduce acne breakouts, work in combination with other anti-agers to firm sagging skin. While nothing compares to cosmetic procedures such fillers and botox, one can’t deny the skin-transforming benefits of Retinol.
You may have also heard of Retinoids(Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, Trans-retinoic acid) they work in a similar way but, are stronger as they are direct forms of Vitamin A and often prescribed to patients whose skin do not respond to other forms of acne treatments and also to those looking to improve the appearance of ageing skin(mature skin types). These work by creating a stimulation inside your skin, these speedens things up and that causes redness, mild peeling, sensitivity to hot, cold and sun, dryness, sore feeling in the first 3-4 weeks. Gradually your skin starts to improve and the results are satisfyingly visible. You can commonly find them under the names Renova and Retin-A, if you have severe acne or deep wrinkles, ask your dermatologist to understand if you are a suitable candidate.
Another type of Retinoid that is gentler and precribed more often for mild to moderate acne is Adapalene/Adaferin, it is great for comedonal acne— blackheads, whiteheads and inflamed comedones, also for keratosis pilaris. It is often combined with antibacterial ingredients like Benzoyl peroxide to provide acne fighting and exfoliating benefits.
New generation Granactive Retinoids(HPP-Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate) are claimed to give all the benefits of Retinol without the side effects and The Ordinary brand have already launched different strength versions. But, there isn’t proven reasearch showing how soon before you can start noticing visible results. However, they are worth a shot before you try Retinol.
Another multitasker, whether coupled with other ingredients or on its own, Niacinamide is a sure giver. It offers anti-inflammatory, dark spot lightening, barrier strengthening and acne-fighting benefits.
To begin with, Niacinamide performs similar functions like many other hero ingredients but in a different way, I will tell you how.
Firstly, Niacinamide(Nicotinamide) and Niacin(Nicotinic Acid) are interchangeably called vitamin B3 that play a major role in our bodies, primarily digestive and nervous system as well as an excellent skin restoring vitamin.
Topically, Niacinamide silently works alongside other ingredients and enhances their capacity all while continually improving skin’s surface layer. It has been clinically tested for different purposes alongside other top ingredients such as Clindamycin and Hydroquinone and showed positive results but most of the research has been done and proved that Niacinamide activates the biosynthesis(formation) of surface’s lipid layer and help reduce dark spots. Our skin’s top layer is like a raincoat—protecting from all the aggressors by forming a strong bond. It is mostly made up of lipids(simply put, fats), enzymes, amino acids and dead skin cells. Niacinamide helps our skin to build more lipids(that decreases with age) and also are broken down due to harsh skincare routines.
Another major benefit is interfering with the transfer of melanin(pigment) to keratinocytes(cells present in the epidermis) that helps in reducing dark spots and brightening the skin at the same time. Not to forget, Niacinamide has been found in several studies to reduce pore size by improving skin’s elasticity and decreasing and regulating sebum levels on the skin. It works as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and helps reduce redness from spots.
However, there is one thing to follow while including Niacinamide in your skincare routine— products containing high percentage of Niacinamide and Pure Vitamin C(Ascorbic Acid, L-ascorbic acid) or AHAs and BHAs should be used at an interval of atleast 30 minutes or layer an Acid(AHA, BHA, Pure Vitamin C) with a moisturiser containing decent amounts of Niacinamide or use Niacinamide in the morning and Acids at night.
Extremely Sensitive skin?
If you are using something like 10% Niacinamide and Zinc, patch test for few days before applying all over. With the presence of Zinc, it is helpful skin concerns associated with oily and acne prone skin.
Buy from here
AHAs and BHAs fall in the category of Hydroxy acids. They are used both in cosmetic formulation for at home use and also in clinic peels. When used according to the requirements, they can give dramatic results after 2-3 months of continued use. I have an entire post dedicated from the sub categories of AHAs and BHAs, how to use them, what to look for when buying products containing them and also personal recommendations.
This may come as a surprise to many but Ceramides are hardworking soldiers that protect our skin from skin damaging effect of sun, environment, hot and cold temperatures. Remember what I told about Niacinamide’s property of increasing skin’s lipid producing capacity? Well, Ceramides are one of the lipids, in fact, they make up about 50% of the lipids present in the top layer of the skin. No wonder I had to share some more information on them. This ingredient is a must in your moisturiser, especially if you have just started using AHAs, BHAs, Retinol and your skin is sensitive.
Frequent long hours of sun exposure, using harsh cleansers and age start to affect how our skin feels and looks because they hamper the smooth protective layer on the skin. Chemical exfoliants work by increasing shedding of skin cells and breaking the sticky bonds and the fresh skin is bound to be sensitive. Adding Ceramides helps to keep the surface smooth, soft and prevents sensitivities from the above-mentioned reasons. In fact, using a moisturiser containing Ceramides with other antioxidants over an AHA or BHA actually penetrate well rather than sitting on dead skin cells.
If you have started to notice that your skin feels rough, sandy, dull, irritated, using even tap water gives an uncomfortable feeling, then its time to add Ceramides to your skincare routine.
Try this emulsion specifically formulated for sensitive skin and rough skin types containing Ceramide, Cholesterol and Amino Acids with Hyaluronic Acid to provide soothing, hydrating and moisturising benefits.
Tell me one ingredient that does it all, should you ask and my answer would be— “There is no such single ingredient that could solve all your skin problems, all by itself.” Include the above-mentioned ingredients based on your skin’s requirements and enjoy youthful looking healthy skin.
Thank you so much for reading.