We’re making more of an effort to educate ourselves on skincare ingredients than ever, but it can still be confusing. Here, we break down everything you need to know.
Skincare. It can be a bit of a minefield to navigate. Once you’ve figured out your skin type and skin concerns, you then have to set up your routine. With websites and shop shelves bursting with endless skincare products, not only can it feel overwhelming but confusing, too.
Within the skincare world, there’s a long list of ingredients that can be hugely beneficial. Dry or dehydrated skin? Look into polyglutamic acid. Skin feeling slightly irritated after getting too acid-happy? Slather on something with ceramides.
It’s no surprise that any time a new ingredient is pushed into the spotlight, our initial response is to find out everything we can about that product. According to data from online beauty retailer Cult Beauty, we’ve been googling skincare ingredients more than ever – no doubt spurred by lockdown and skincare being the only beauty step most of us maintained while sitting at home.
Coming in at the top spot, vitamin C has been searches a staggering 1,211,000 times (and counting). Touted as one of the few skincare ingredients that all dermatologists swear by, vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to shield your skin against environmental damage and daily aggressors, such as pollution and free radicals. It also brightens and evens out skin tone.
In second place, it’s retinol, also known as vitamin A. Known as the holy grail of skincare ingredients, experts swear by its ability to even out pigmentation, reduce acne, treat acne scars and encourage cell regeneration – which ensures new collagen is formed and prevents fine lines and wrinkles. As it’s so effective, dermatologists recommend starting with a low percentage and slowly building up your skin’s tolerance.
A natural oil made from castor beans, castor oil helps both skin and hair health. However, some products can irritate skin so ensure the one you’re buying is 100% pure castor oil. It’s particularly popular for eyebrow growth and is present in many eyebrow serums. However, results will vary for everybody.
Hyaluronic acid shot up into popularity a few years ago and has been a favourite amongst those in search of hydration. One molecule is able to hold up to 1000x its own weight in water and draws water into skin to keep it supple and hydrated. There are many hyaluronic acid options available on the high street, including many options under £20.
Another handy hydrator, squalane is a humectant that is also effective are strengthening the skin’s protective barrier and reducing redness. Additionally, pure squalane oil is great for hair health and leaves it stronger, shiny and smooth. It’s derived from plants, including olives, rice brand and sugarcane.
A favourite amongst the Stylist beauty team, niacinamide dishes up a long list of skin benefits. A form of vitamin B3, it strengthens our skin’s protective barrier, which helps to reduce dehydrated skin. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, treats blemishes and reduces oil production. A skincare wonder ingredient that works for all skin types.
Part of the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) family, lactic acid is a gentler alternative to glycolic acid. It’s an exfoliant that speeds up cell turnover, which helps to even out skin texture and fade hyperpigmentation. Additionally, it is a humectant that improves the skin’s moisture barrier and hydration levels, making it ideal for sensitive skin types, too.
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