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Skin Care Ingredients

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Skin Care Ingredients

Learn Which Ingredients to Look for to Solve Common Skin Problems

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As you wade through the endless sea of skincare products, wouldn’t it be nice to have a map to direct you to the exact item you’re looking for? By becoming a label reader, you can guide yourself! This doesn’t just mean reading the claims on the package; it means reading the actual ingredients and knowing which ones will best address the skin problem you are having. Master the art of label reading and you are on your way to clear, healthy-looking skin.

One thing worth noting is that ingredients in skincare products are divided into two categories. Active ingredients are the ones that actually perform. Other ingredients are referred to as inactive; they work to suspend the product, as well as bind and transport the active ingredients. When you read a label, the ingredients are listed in order of greatest amount to least. For example, if you pick up a product that lists water as the first ingredient, it means that water makes up the majority of the product. Below is a list of common skin conditions and the best active ingredients to treat them.

Dry/Parched Skin: winter weather can cause skin to feel tight, flaky, thin or papery. Try purchasing a small humidifier and running it while you sleep (the Eware Mini Bedroom Ultrasonic Humidifier is a great choice). The best way to tackle this particular skin condition is by layering on products containing hyaluronic acid. This is a substance made from plants and other natural substances that mimic the lubricating fluid in our joints. Hyaluronic acid works wonders, drawing moisture from the air and absorbing it into the skin. Recommended: DermaE Products. Apply the hyaluronic acid toner first, and then layer the serum and the day cream on top for maximum hydration.

Fine Lines: unfortunately, even women in their 20’s can have fine lines appear just from squinting in the sun (reason enough to invest in a stylish pair of shades). Fine lines respond very well to retinol products. Retinols are derived from vitamin A. It’s important to read the labels on retinol products and start out with the lowest percentage strength you can find. Use it until your skin builds a tolerance and then you can move on to a higher-strength product. A few skin care lines that carry retinol products are Philosophy, Murad, Neutrogena and ROC.

Oily Skin: oily skin is rich in sebum but can lack the balance of water moisture. Look for a face cleanser that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid comes from willow bark and has the ability to clear a greasy complexion right up. Don’t fall for the myth that oily skin doesn’t need moisture. A good choice would be a product containing aloe. Peppermint is another ingredient that can help balance the oiliness of skin. Recommended: Burt’s Bees acne line and Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser.

Blackheads: if you’re prone to blackheads, the best ingredient to treat them with is glycolic acid. Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane and has the ability to dissolve dead skin cells, resulting in clearer skin. Recommended: At-Home Brazilian Peel, available at Sephora. This is a safe, self-neutralizing product—be sure to follow the directions very carefully.

Acne Blemishes: to help treat acne look for products containing tea tree oil. This particular oil is actually a dry oil, acting as a solvent to unblock pores and kill acne-causing bacteria. It takes a little time to work, so don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. Another option is to see a dermatologist and ask for a prescription for Aczone Gel. This is the newest breakthrough product on the market. It gets rid of acne blemishes quickly with little to no side effects. As an esthetician, I would warn against using benzoyl peroxide products. In my opinion, they’re just too harsh to treat acne, and cause unwanted dryness and flaking.

Keratosis Pilaris (KP): this is a very common and harmless skin disorder characterized by numerous small white bumps behind the arms (they resemble goose bumps). To treat this condition, look for products containing lactic acid. Lactic acid occurs naturally in plain yogurt. If you have this condition, you can apply a thin layer of yogurt to the affected area, massaging it in. Wait a few minutes and then wipe it off, leaving the residue on your skin (it will help unclog the bumps).

Uneven Skin Tone: uneven skin tones can be caused by both internal and environmental causes. Genetics, diet, hormones, sun exposure, and other extreme weather conditions can all play a role. Those with uneven skin tones can benefit from products containing DMAE, a solution that combines antioxidants and amino acids. Recommended: PerriconeMD serums and creams.

Broken Capillaries: small broken capillaries frequently appear around the nose and on the cheeks. One of the most common ways to get these spidery veins is by allowing hot shower water to spray directly onto your face. Using products that contain witch hazel and horse chestnut extract will strengthen these broken capillaries over time, making them less visible.

Dark Spots & Scars: dark spots and dark facial scars fall under the umbrella of hyperpigmentation. As a licensed esthetician, I would strongly urge you to avoid using a product containing hydroquinone to address this concern. Hydroquinone has been used for many years in skin-lightening products; however, it can be toxic on the cellular level. There are much better, safer ingredients that will give you similar results without the unwanted side effects of hydroquinone. Look for a product containing vitamin C, kojic acid bearberry, arbutin, or licorice extract. Recommended: Skin Lightening Cream by Timeless Skin Care.

Now that you know which ingredients to look for, you will be better equipped to navigate the high seas of the skincare aisles.

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So much great info. I should print this out & keep it near my medicine cabinet.... This comment has been removed.
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You were right this is a great article. Thank you letting me know about it. I love Murad but it is a little pricy but works great. I actually bought it two weeks ago after coming to Taaz. Now can I can you roll back a few years? Haha, I am so glad I found Taaz I really love the expert advice here. :) This article is fabulous! This comment has been removed.
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@DianneV. You are right. I would suggest washing the area with a glycolic shower gel and then applying a lactic acid product afterward. You should get very good results with this combination. This comment has been removed.
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Thanks so much for the KP solution. I have had this problem since I was a kid and it's very hard to get rid of. I will try the yogurt and look for a product containing lactic acid. I was just curious, based on what your article mentions about glycolic acid, would lead me to believe that would also be helpful to treat KP. Am I right? This comment has been removed.
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GF: Your articles are always jam-packed with information gems. I won't be taking anymore showers with the hot water spraying directly in my face, if that leads to broken capillaries. I also appreciate your talking about the latest breakthrough for acne. I will pass that on to one of my friends, who is struggling with it. All I can say, is keep writing, cause we're all ears. This comment has been removed.
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Great article! I also recommend ROC products for Retinol, they make a nice night lotion and eye cream. I need to keep witch hazel and tea tree oil on hand! I agree about Perricone MD products....pricey but fabulous! Thanks Faith! This comment has been removed.
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@vamp1967 I would suggest applying Cetaphil cleanser all over your face & working it in-put a little extra around your nose. I know it's a cleanser, but it also functions as a skin protectant & it doesn't foam up like a real soap. Give this a try and I think you'll like the results. This comment has been removed.
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@taykaufman The ingredient to look for would be caffeine. It drastically reduces puffiness in the skin. Origins makes a product called GinZing & it works really well on under eye puffiness. This comment has been removed.
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Love the article. I was wondering if you knew any ingredient to correct puffy undereyes. My mom and I have this problem. I would appreciate it if you could respond. Thanks so much! This comment has been removed.
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@hchapin I know it's really frustrating to pay a lot of money for products & then find out you're not getting what you thought you were paying for. If you read the labels from now on, it will never happen again-though it won't be as easy to find products, it's worthwhile. This comment has been removed.
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Thanks for this article. I just looked at my shampoo and conditioner, and the first ingredient is water. They were fairly expensive. I would be interested in using a different one, can you make some suggestions? This comment has been removed.
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Its so dry in Southern Cali right now and Im glad you recommended that humidifer. I agree with Cr8, this article is a definite keeper! This comment has been removed.
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Wow, so much awesome information. Thank you! This comment has been removed.
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This is really good information to know. I enjoyed this article a lot. I think I will print it off/and keep it in my purse. This comment has been removed.
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