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Skincare terms worth knowing about

Published: Tue April 23, 2013
Categories: Top 5 Advice
Tags: About, anti-ageing, fatty acids, Fiona Tuck, hydration, ingredients, Know, knowing, MythMinx, oils, red cheeks and nose, skin damage, skin issues, Skincare Terms, skinstitut, Top 5, Worth, Worthy

If “hyaluronic acid” makes you want to run and hide, rather than the first thing you’d want to put on your face and “ceramide” sounds more like something you might fertilize your garden with, than a skincare product, you’re not alone. Unless you’ve regularly studied skincare product labels as your foreign language of choice, it can be hard to figure out what all those science-y terms mean. That’s why Skinstitut decided to break it down to basics and give you the low down on the Top 5: Skincare Terms Worth Knowing About – and how they work on your skin. 1. Hyaluronic Acid The Low Down: A naturally occurring substance in the human body that regulates cell renewal lubricates connective tissue and maintains skin’s moisture and elasticity. How it works: When used topically, hyaluronic acid creates a moisture barrier on the skin, helping to make it smoother and softer. This ingredient is able to hold up to 1000x its own weight in water, thus producing amazing benefits for dehydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid helps support the lower layers of the skin, providing support and structure. Hylauronic Acid diminishes with age hence the skin loses firmness and moisture. 2. Retinol The Low Down: An active form of the vitamin A molecule. How it Works: Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient capable of normalizing cell function. They also increase the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, making skin more supple and smooth. Using retinols can improve the firmness of skin, reverse signs of sun and environmental damage, treat acne and reduce hyperpigmentation, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s no wonder retinols have long been touted as a skincare miracle! 3. Ceramide The Low Down: Lipid molecules that are found in high concentrations within cell membranes. In the top layer of the skin, ceramides hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and retains moisture. (Think of skin cells as the bricks and ceramides as the mortar.) How it Works: In skincare products, ceramides are used to replenish the natural lipids that are lost from exposure to harsh environmental factors, use of drying products, and during in the aging process. They restore moisture, fortify the skin’s natural barrier and help protect it against harm from foreign elements. Ceramides are also particularly effective in treating eczema 4. Peptides The Low Down: Peptides are segments of active proteins that communicate with cells and instruct them to behave in certain ways. In the skin, peptides may signal elastin production (elastin helps skin “bounce back”) or prompt skin to heal itself after a wound. How It Works: The peptides used in anti-aging products enter skin cells and instruct them to do certain things such as (surprise, surprise) produce collagen, alleviate redness or signal muscles to relax, thereby minimizing wrinkles. There are other peptides that don’t directly stimulate your skin to do anything, but because they are so small can penetrate deep into the layers and act as a delivery mechanism for other ingredients. Copper peptides, for example, bring molecules of copper deep into the skin where it can improve wound healing from the inside out. 5. AHA/BHA The Low Down: Alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid are classes of organic acids that act as exfoliants. AHAs are traditionally derived from fruit and milk and include glycolic acid lactic acid and malic acid among others. In cosmetics, BHA refers exclusively to salicylic acid, which is derived from plants. How It Works: While they both exfoliate, AHAs (which are water soluble) work at the surface layer of skin only while BHAs (which are oil soluble) penetrate deeper and remove dead skin cells clogged in pores. BHAs are used primarily for oily or acne prone skin with blackheads and whiteheads, whereas AHAs are used to brighten dull or dry skin. However, often you may find products containing both AHA and BHA for double duty exfoliation. The amount of exfoliation depends on the strength of the acid, with some forms only being provided by prescription.

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