If you are a skin care fanatic, you probably go through the list of ingredients on each and every product that you buy. Right? Even though you barely understand what some of those skin care terms actually mean. Reading the labels on your skin care products can make you feel like you’ve been transported back to chemistry 101. However, if you are well versed with the skin care terms and ingredients in your products, you will be able to tell whether or not a product is right for your skin. To help you brush up on your skin care knowledge, here are some common skin care terms. You’ve probably heard of them and now, you’ll know exactly what they really mean.
This is probably one of the most common skin care terms you will ever come across with skincare products. Non-Comedogenic products are products that are formulated to not clog your pores.
This is a term that those with acne and sensitive skin should be in the know about. You can also find this term on some makeup products especially foundations.
Disclaimer: There are no testing guidelines or requirements governing the use of the term non-Comedogenic. Therefore, the term could be employed as a marketing strategy. However, if you have sensitive skin, the rule of thumb is to avoid fragranced and alcohol based products. Anything that contains chamomile, calendula extract and/or aloe vera is most suitable for both sensitive and acne prone skin as they are gentle and soothing to the skin.
The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two harmful rays; Long wave Ultraviolet A (which causes pre-mature ageing and wrinkling) and short wave Ultraviolet B (which causes sun burn). A broad spectrum sunscreen is one that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. This is what you should reach out for. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher everyday whether rain or shine.
Understanding free radicals properly requires a basic knowledge of chemistry. However in the simplest term, free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and slowing collagen production. This will cause illness and ageing, which explains why you would come across this term in a cosmetic product.
Free radicals are introduced to the skin through environmental sources such as air pollution and smoking. The best line of defense against free radicals is using a broad-spectrum sunscreen as well as antioxidant-rich products. They are known to neutralize free radicals.
This is also another common buzzword. Antioxidants occur naturally in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, tea etc. They help to prevent or stop cell damage caused by free radicals/oxidants that damage the structure and appearance of the skin. The more you slow down free radical damage, the slower you age.
Some antioxidant rich foods include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grains
- Berries i.e. blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, Goji berries, cranberry etc.
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate
- Vegetables i.e. kales, spinach, broccoli etc.
Click here to find out what are the best and worst foods for your skin!
This is the main structural protein found in the skin and other connective tissues. Along with replacing dead skin cells, collagen is what helps give your skin elasticity and its smooth appearance. As we age, collagen production decreases. This is why it’s advised to use anti-ageing skincare products fortified with collagen stimulators.
These are chemical components used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products to prevent the growth of bacteria. Parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking oestrogen. Disruption in oestrogen is linked to reproductive issues and even breast cancer. Always choose paraben-free skincare products.
AHA’s & BHA’s
The thought of using acids on your skin sounds scary but there are certain acids that have proven to be very beneficial to your skin. AHA’s (Alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA’s (Beta hydroxy acids) are chemical exfoliants that are effective at getting rid of dead skin cells (exfoliating). This results to a brighter-looking complexion.
Lactic acid and Glycolic acid are some of the ingredients you will find present in AHA’s. They help to reduce rough skin texture, hydrate the skin as well as improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. AHA’s also help with age spots and skin discoloration.
Have you ever used a skincare product designed to address acne? Then you may be familiar with BHA’s also known as Salicylic acid. BHA’s are oil soluble. (Which is the main difference between AHA’s and BHA’s). They are able to get deep into the pores, cutting through the oil that’s clogging them, which is why they are used for clearing blemishes. They also contain anti-Inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.