Retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides…you may have heard about those. Maybe you use them. Maybe you bought them but you are afraid to use them on your skin because you don’t know how to properly use those super ingredients?
These are all powerful ingredients that bring out the best in your skin. But, did you know that you shouldn’t use them all, and at the same time? Also, some of super powerful ingredients don’t play well with others. Some may even negate the other’s benefits.
So to maximize the most out of your bottles and droppers, here is a list of all your favorite ingredient combinations to remember. Save this list and refer to it when in doubt or when you are creating your skincare routine.
Simply speaking, salicylic acid is one of acne’s biggest enemies. Once it penetrates the skin, salicylic acid dissolves skin debris that clogs pores, acts as an anti-inflammatory and also helps red inflamed pimples and pustules go away faster.
When applied to the skin, salicylic acid may work by helping the skin to shed dead cells from the top layer and by decreasing redness and swelling (inflammation). This decreases the number of pimples that form and speeds healing.
Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide, niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly minimise enlarged pores, tighten lax pores, improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, and strengthen a weakened surface.
Niacinamide also reduces the impact of environmental damage because of its ability to improve skin’s barrier (its first line of defense), plus it also plays a role in helping skin to repair signs of past damage. If you struggle with dry skin, topical application of niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturisers so the skin’s surface can better resist the moisture loss that leads to recurrent dry, tight, flaky skin.
Vitamin C products are packed with antioxidants that are known for providing a brightening and “glowy” effect on our skin. It naturally improves the appearance of skin by fighting signs of aging and UV exposure, along with hyperpigmentation and dark patches.
Uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, acne scars, general dullness — you can name just about any common complexion concern and there’s a good chance that vitamin C (and the skin-care products it’s featured in) is a recommended treatment.
The beauty of vitamin C in skincare? It really works!
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin, and can contribute to skin cancer.
Harmful UV rays affect your skin 365 days a year. Even when it’s cloudy and even when you’re inside. It’s therefore important to protect your skin every single day by always using a day cream formulated with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher.
Lactic acid is specifically used to treat hyperpigmentation, age spots, and other factors that contribute to a dull and uneven complexion. Other benefits of AHAs like lactic acid include improved skin tone and reduced pore appearance. However, unlike AHAs such as glycolic acid, lactic acid is a bit milder.
Glycolic acid is an AHA, or Alpha Hydroxy Acid. It’s a water soluble acid and an ingredient that increases luminosity of the skin because it exfoliates the outermost dead layer of the skin, which is called the Stratum Corneum, and improves the reflection of light on the skin.
Glycolic acid stimulates fibroblasts in the dermis to produce increased amounts of collagen. And by stimulating collagen production, it helps skin feel firmer and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Between the superficial action on your stratum corneum and the work it does below, your skin will feel smoother and look more radiant and even-toned.
Retinol boosts the amount of collagen your body makes and plumps out skin, cutting down fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone and color and reduces mottled patches. A derivative of vitamin A, it’s used for all sorts of skin remedies, including fighting acne, reducing wrinkles, reversing sun damage, and shrinking pores.
Using a retinol-based product may make the top layer of your skin dry and flaky. It’s best to apply it at night and wear moisturizer and sunscreen the next morning.
Peptides are amino acids that make up certain proteins needed by the skin. More specifically, collagen is made of three polypeptide chains, so adding peptides can stimulate your skin to make collagen. More collagen can lead to firmer, younger-looking skin.
Peptides can penetrate the outer layer of the skin, so instead of sitting on top of the skin, they sink in more deeply. Peptides are often touted as a miracle cure, with some saying peptides work as well as Botox — this is because neurotransmitter peptides can temporarily block chemicals that cause muscle contraction, but it’s not as effective as Botox.
Ceramides are lipids (fats) that are found naturally in high concentrations in the uppermost layers of skin. They make up over 50% of skin’s composition, so it’s no surprise they play a vital role in determining how your skin looks (and how it responds to environmental threats).
Ceramides help hold skin together by forming a protective layer that limits moisture loss and protects against visible damage from pollution and other environmental stressors. In addition, ceramides—even more than retinol, niacinamide, and peptides—are one of the anti-aging “powerhouses” responsible for supporting skin’s dynamic nature.
Well-formulated (and properly packaged) skincare products containing ceramides will help reinforce your skin’s barrier and increase hydration—giving you plumper, smoother, firmer-feeling skin with fewer visible lines and wrinkles, as well as fewer signs of sensitivity.
Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, and it helps to bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin, so that skin can appear plumper, dewier, and more hydrated. As we age, we lose collagen and hyaluronic acid naturally, so the skin becomes dehydrated more easily.
Hyaluronic Acid helps reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles retaining moisture to the skin, creating a plumping effect. When the skin is protected and hydrated, increased skin cell production can take place, as the skin isn’t busy fighting for hydration. This leads to smoother, plumper skin cells.
Vitamin E is most commonly known for its benefits for skin health and appearance. It can be applied topically to your face to reduce inflammation and make your skin look younger. Vitamin E oil can be used on your face as an overnight anti-aging treatment. Since vitamin E has a thick consistency, it’s best to apply it before bed so that it can fully absorb.
Vitamin E helps support the immune system, cell function, and skin health. It’s an antioxidant, making it effective at combating the effects of free radicals produced by the metabolism of food and toxins in the environment. Vitamin E may be beneficial at reducing UV damage to skin.
Tell me, what’s your favorite skincare combo?