The 5 Most Common Skincare Ingredients—and How to Actually Use Them
(Excerpt) Print this out and stick it on your bathroom mirror
In the last decade, the skincare industry has gotten really…complicated. Remember the days of the iconic three-step (three!) cleansing, toning and moisturizing system? Maybe an Oxy pad haphazardly swiped across a forehead here and there, during particularly trying periods. It was a simpler time.
These days, thanks in large part to social media and the limitless portal of information that is the internet, it appears as though the entire online skincare community has adopted the jargon and vocabulary of a seasoned dermatologist. Ten-step routines, filled with an array of active ingredients, have become the norm. Impressive but, yet again, complicated.
But whether you’re a skincare minimalist or maximalist, swear by the bible that is Reddit’s r/SkincareAddiction or prefer to just wing it on your own, there are certain ingredients that make up a common ground—regardless of skin philosophy. They’re the ones that are found in the bulk of the products on the market, have been studied thoroughly over the years and are proven to, you know, work.
We tapped the pros to find out, once and for all, how (and when and why) to use the five basic skincare ingredients that you’ll come across in your skincare regimen, no matter how simple or complex it may be.
What is it?
There’s no better place to kick off skincare school than with the crème de la crème of hydration: hyaluronic acid. The substance, which is naturally found in our skin, is a humectant (meaning it draws in moisture from its surroundings) and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
What does it do?
“It replenishes the amounts [of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in your skin] that have been lost due to photoaging and sun damage to allow for a firmer, youthful appearance,” says Jessica Burman, Founder of Cocoon Apothecary. “It’s known for increasing hydration levels to plump up fine lines and heal dry, flaky skin.”
It can also be used in injectable form, like Restylane Skinboosters, says Dr. Lisa Kellett, dermatologist at DLK on Avenue. Those “results can last up to one year because of the direct delivery into the skin.”
How should hyaluronic acid be used?
As a topical cream or serum, once a day is enough, says Dr. Kellett. Hyaluronic acid is generally pretty gentle and well-tolerated, so there’s usually no need to worry about using it with other products. However, a story published in The Cut this summer revealed that you can actually overdo it and cause skin irritation when it comes to using a low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (the type that penetrates into your skin more easily) too often. So if you’re experiencing any inflammation and suspect that your hyaluronic acid serum is the cause, check out its molecular weight (if it’s low, it’ll likely say that on the packaging) and opt for high-molecular-weight instead.
By Souzan Michael Galway | To read the entire article, please click here.