Beauty Care: Tips for Healthy Skin
August 5, 2021
In This Healthy Insight:
This article will help you build your skincare routine. It includes a brief discussion on patch testing, active ingredients to treat specific skin concerns, the importance of sunscreen, and the natural alternatives you can use as part of your regimen.
The Importance of Patch Testing
Patch testing is essential whenever you add a new product to your skincare regimen. When you put a small amount of product on the skin, it allows you to check for any signs of allergic reactions.
This diagnostic method is for your safety and convenience, especially if you’re trying out products with active ingredients.
Active Ingredients in Skincare Products
Active ingredients are potent ingredients, such as vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), salicylic acid (BHA), niacinamide, and retinol. Thus, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires skincare brands to specifically categorize them on the packaging, listing them in the order of prominence within the formula(1).
Vitamin C is a robust antioxidant that can keep your skin looking bright and youthful. It helps protect your skin against harmful free radicals by neutralizing them. This active ingredient helps reduce the visible signs of aging on your face, such as dark spots, wrinkles, and loss of moisture(2).
Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
AHAs are derived from natural sources, such as milk, fruit, and sugar(3). Their benefits on the skin include brightening, exfoliation, acne prevention, and anti-aging. The most commonly used AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
The molecules of glycolic acid are smaller than lactic acid, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin and providing more potent benefits(4). But if you fall under the sensitive skin category, it is recommended to use lactic acid instead because it’s less irritating.
Lactic acid provides the same benefits as glycolic acid. It’s a non-friction exfoliant that breaks down dead skin cells without sensitizing the skin(5).
Salicylic Acid (BHA)
BHA is a popular active ingredient in many over-the-counter acne products. It’s particularly beneficial for oily skin types, as it can break down fatty compounds on the skin’s surface, such as sebum(6).
If you’re oily and you add BHA to your routine, it can help you clear out excess oils and fight blemishes that can clog your pores.
Niacinamide, a derivative of vitamin B3, is effective at soothing irritated skin. Topical niacinamide has antioxidant properties that can help minimize the redness and irritation associated with certain skin conditions. It also boosts your skin’s ability to retain moisture and rebuild your skin barrier(7).
Retinol, an artificial derivative of vitamin A, is converted into retinoic acid when applied to the skin’s surface. It’s a powerful anti-aging ingredient that fights the natural loss of facial fullness by increasing the skin’s ability to retain moisture(8).
Therefore, retinol is a favorite ingredient in many skincare products because of its significant benefits to the skin. With consistent use, it can soften age spots and even out skin tone(9).
The list of actives above only scratches the surface of what’s available across the skincare industry. As you begin to choose the right ingredients for your skin, make sure to do it slowly so you can check for any adverse effects.
Here’s how you can layer actives properly:
- Don’t Mix Retinol With Vitamin C and Acids in One Routine
These are all active ingredients that may irritate your skin when used all at the same time. So most dermatologists and skincare influencers recommend using them alternately.
- Use Niacinamide With Almost Every Ingredient in Your Skincare Regimen, Even With Vitamin C
There are confusing claims online about using vitamin C and niacinamide together. Several blogs and beauty magazines say that while these two are great on their own, combining them in a single routine negates their effectiveness. It’s time you learn that that’s a myth!
Niacinamide hydrolyzes into nicotinic acid when combined with Vitamin C. However, studies showed that such conversion only happens under extreme heat for an extended time(10). Therefore, the idea that niacinamide can cause redness and tingling when combined with vitamin C doesn’t happen in small concentrations.
- Use Niacinamide and Vitamin C to Reduce Hyperpigmentation
One study showed that a moisturizer with 5% niacinamide could reduce hyperpigmentation(11). Meanwhile, vitamin C is also widely used in dermatology to treat dark patches on the skin. According to research, vitamin C could help reduce melanin pigmentation(12).
SPF Is Your BFF
Cumulative sun exposure without protection can cause skin cancer(13). For this reason, the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology Association) recommends broadspectrum sunscreen protection with an SPF rating of 30 or higher(14).
Herbs for Beauty: Top Two Natural Remedies for Troubled Skin
Coconut oil is a multipurpose oil. Apart from using it for cooking, you can also slather it on your skin and hair. According to a study, virgin coconut oil improves skin by soothing and moisturizing the skin(15).
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is excellent for skin. Although one study suggested that benzoyl peroxide (BP) performed significantly better than tea tree oil, its side effects were considerably fewer than BP(16).
Your skin deserves some love. So start exploring different skincare ingredients and natural alternatives that are beneficial to your needs.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.