When it comes to building an effective skincare routine, it’s really important to figure out the ingredients that will best suit your skin type and concern. If you’re confused or just getting started, here are some of the best ingredients you can use for acne, hyperpigmentation, and/or aging skin.
Acne & Breakouts
There are a lot of factors that can cause those pesky breakouts. For many of us, acne can appear due to our genetics or our ever-changing hormones. Call these our “internal factors”, if you will. Then there’s the “external” factors like acne-causing bacteria, skin inflammation, and excess buildup of dead skin cells. And depending on what your lifestyle is like, diet, sleep, and stress can also play a role as well. With so many factors, it’s no wonder there isn’t a simple answer to pinpoint the exact cause of your acne.
Best Ingredients for Acne
BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid)
You’ve probably heard of BHA and its close association with acne. But what exactly is it? BHA, otherwise known as Beta Hydroxy Acid, is a chemical exfoliating ingredient that works by mopping up excess oils from within your pores. On top of that, BHA can also kill acne-causing bacteria and calms inflammation on the skin. You’ll find it in most products containing “salicylic acid” and/or “willowbark extract”.
Here’s another ingredient that almost goes hand in hand with BHA! Benzoyl Peroxide is another widely known ingredient for treating acne due to its ability to kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin. But here’s the catch: it’s a very potent ingredient that doesn’t get along with all skin types. How can you tell if your skin can’t handle it? You might see some inflammation, irritation, redness, or drying skin. But for those who can use it, it’s a great ingredient that shows promising results! Make sure you apply it all over your face to keep present acne at bay while preventing future breakouts!
If you find yourself reacting to benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid is a great alternative for a variety of reasons. Not only is this ingredient much gentler to the skin, but it also is a multitasking powerhouse! It can kill acne-causing bacteria, lighten up hyperpigmentation, strengthen the skin barrier, and act as an exfoliant to encourage cell turnover. Best of all, azelaic acid is one of the few ingredients that also benefits rosacea-prone skin.
When it comes to hyperpigmentation, the sun is a major factor. The reason? Prolonged or excess sun damage is the main culprit for a variety of skin diseases because it is able to damage your DNA. Fortunately, your skin is a very smart organ and won’t back out without a fight. When you notice discoloration or pigmented marks, it’s a sign of your skin acting as a shield for your DNA cells. Other signs of hyperpigmentation include changes in hormones (melasma) and post-acne marks.
Best Ingredients for Hyperpigmentation
Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding this potent ingredient, hydroquinone still continues to be known as the “gold standard” ingredient for hyperpigmentation. It’s only meant to be used for a short period of time and can help control excess melanin production. It’s also worth noting that this ingredient is currently banned in Europe and in South Korea, and is not recommended for pregnant women.
For those who can’t use hydroquinone, a great and gentle alternative is tranexamic acid. This is an ingredient that is making itself known in the skincare community — and for good reason, too! Tranexamic acid is shown to improve hyperpigmentation without the irritating side effects of hydroquinone. If you’re using this ingredient, keep in mind that it might take a couple months of consistent use in order to see results.
When it comes to using niacinamide, you’ll find out that this ingredient does much more than helping with hyperpigmentation! It’s also known for repairing skin barrier, regulating sebum production, tightening pores, and brightening your overall complexion!
Vitamin C can help with a multitude of skin concerns — not just hyperpigmentation! It’s potent but can help with hyperpigmentation and brighten your skin, and it can stimulate collagen production to smooth the appearance of wrinkles. It’s also an antioxidant, which means that it can help fight free radical damage and even work with your sunscreen to help shield your skin from sun damage.
If seeing signs of aging is a concern for you, you’ll find there are different ways to slow it down. For starters, sun damage is the number one factor for aging. As mentioned earlier, the sun’s UV rays can attack your DNA cells, but it can also damage elastin and collagen. These are what keep your skin intact, protected, bouncy, and youthful. Other factors involve smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, environmental stressors, products that overly dry out the skin, repetitive facial movements, and even the motion of rubbing and tugging at the skin.
Best Ingredients for Anti-aging
This is is a well-known ingredient with a reputation for smoothing out wrinkles and keeping breakouts at bay. Retinol works by stimulating collagen production from deeper layers of the skin, which eventually can help leave your complexion plump and youthful looking.
Ceramides & Peptides
These two ingredients are almost like long distance partners — they complement each other to keep the skin in tip-top shape! Ceramides are especially great for dry or dehydrated skin types since they retain moisture in the deep layers of the skin. As for peptides, they act as signallers to stimulate collagen production and promote healing.
Since the sun is the skin’s number one contributor to aging skin, applying sunscreen regularly can help prolong your youthful appearance. Be sure to pick a sunscreen that filters both UVA and UVB rays, and feels good applying to your skin!
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