The information provided will help you understand the latest ingredients in our skin care products that may benefit your skin.
Use this information to sort through various skincare products available on the market. If youíre unsure on which skincare products are right for you, ask your dermatologist or consult with a skin esthetician at your local beauty counter.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Over-the-counter skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids) have become increasingly popular over the last five years. In the U.S. alone, there are over 200 manufacturers of skin care products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids. Creams and lotions with alpha-hydroxy acids may help with fine lines, irregular pigmentation and age spots, and may help decrease enlarged pores. To help avoid skin irritation with alpha-hydroxy acids, it is advisable to start with a product with concentrations of AHA of 10 to 15 percent. Also, make sure you ease into it. You want to get your skin used to alpha-hydroxy acids, so you should only initially apply the skin care product every other day, gradually working up to daily application. For a very mild non irritating form of AHA's, try a Natural AHA fruit acid blend that will cause no irritation and slowly loosen dead skin cells over a period of time with constant use.
Beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid)
Salicylic acid has been studied for its effect on skin that has aged prematurely due to exposure to ultraviolet rays. It exfoliates skin and improves the texture and color. While penetrating oil-laden hair follicle openings and, as a result, also helps with acne.
Skin care products containing hydroquinone are popularly referred to as bleaching creams or lightening agents. These skin care products are used to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and dark spots related to pregnancy or hormone therapy (melasma or chloasma). Some over-the-counter skin care products contain hydroquinone, but your doctor can also prescribe a solution with a higher concentration of hydroquinone if your skin doesnít respond to over-the-counter treatments. If you are allergic to hydroquinones, you can use products containing kojic acid instead.
This is a derivative of vitamin A, and you will see that a lot of skin care products contain retinol. Retinolís stronger counterpart is tretinoin, which is the active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova. If your skin is too sensitive to use Retin-A, retinol is an excellent alternative. Hereís why skin responds to skin care products with retinol: vitamin A has a molecular structure thatís tiny enough to get into the lower layers of skin, where it finds collagen and elastin. Retinol is proven to improve mottled pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, skin tone and color, and your skinís hydration levels. You may also hear about retinyl palmitate. This falls into the same family as retinol, but if the skin care product you choose contains retinyl palmitate, you will need to use more of this product than one that contains retinol to get the same effect.
VITAMIN C Ester (L_Ascorbyl Palmitate): a highly popular anti-oxidant that can assist in repairing damage, fight free radicals in the environment and is a required component in the production of building collagen, the tissue responsible for skin suppleness. Vitamin C has also been shown to help slow the production of ďage spotsĒ while providing some UV protection. Ascorbyl palmitate is actually a vitamin C ester (vitamin C that has been esterified to a fatty acid). In this case, vitamin C is esterified to the saturated fatty acid, palmitic acid, resulting in a fat-soluble form of vitamin C with itís ability to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin C in topical applications, overcoming the limitations inherent in ascorbic acid (the water soluble form of Vitamin C). Vitamin C is the only antioxidant that is proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen as well, which is essential since your bodyís natural collagen production decreases as you age. Sun exposure will also accelerate the decrease in collagen. Studies have shown that vitamin C helps to minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.
Skin care products containing this substance are often used in conjunction with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration. Hyaluronic acid (also known as a glycosaminoglycan) is often touted for its ability to "reverse" or stop aging. In news reports, you might have heard of hyaluronic acid as the "key to the fountain of youth." This is because the substance occurs naturally (and quite abundantly) in humans and animals, and is found in young skin, other tissues, and joint fluid. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the bodyís connective tissues, and is known to cushion and lubricate. As you age, however, the forces of nature destroy hyaluronic acid. Diet and smoking can also affect your bodyís level of hyaluronic acid over time. Skin care products with hyaluronic acid are most frequently used to treat wrinkled skin.
You may have heard of alpha-lipoic acid as "the miracle in a jar" for its anti-aging effects. Itís a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage. Alpha-lipoic acid has been referred to as a "universal antioxidant" because itís soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, gives skin a healthy glow, and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.
If youíve heard of fish referred to as brain food, you can thank DMAE. This substance is naturally produced in the brain, but DMAE is also present in anchovies, salmon and sardines, boosting the production of acetylcholine, which is important for proper mental functions. DMAE in skin care products shows remarkable effects when applied topically to skin, resulting in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.