If “Alpha Hydroxy Acids” and “Beta Hydroxy Acids” sound like terrifying and dangerous substances to you, I get it. What if I told you that just because something sounds like it may melt your skin away, doesn’t mean it will.
Skincare product labels are full of confusing scientific names for common things that sound daunting and scary—but aren’t. I mean who would put dihydrogen monoxide into their bodies? Except, that’s just plain old water.
In reality, these ingredients may be completely natural substances dressed up in fancy big names to sound impressive to the consumer.
Who are you, really?
Finding the perfect skincare regimen is no different than dating. You wouldn’t meet someone and decide whether or not you liked them based solely off their name, would you? Of course not. You would get to know them, spend some time with them, and see how they make you feel.
Use the same process with skincare ingredients too. It’s not all about the name, its about how they make you feel (on the outside).
There are endless amounts of ingredients found in skincare products, but there are five specific ingredients that are worth getting to know. Once you finish this post, hopefully their long, scary names won’t intimidate you next time you’re looking at what kind of moisturizer you want to add into your life.
Top 5 “You’re not who I thought you were” ingredients (H2)
Here are five ingredients you should look for in your skincare products, that sound scary, but are actually kinda awesome:
- Hyaluronic acid
Sound scary, I know. Let’s get rid of some of that fear, starting with hyaluronic acid.
This ingredient is really friendly, it works well with all the other skincare ingredients we’re going to discuss today. If you’re going to add anything into your current skin regimen let it be Hyaluronic acid.
- What it is: Despite Hyaluronic acid sounding like something you should stay far, far away from, its actually a naturally occurring substance already found in your body. That’s right, it’s quite literally already a part of you.
- When put on your skin (topically): It creates a great moisture barrier and maintains moisture and elasticity in your skin.
- When injected: I know, this sounds scary but don’t freak out. Hyaluronic acid is a great alternative to man-made fillers because it is already a natural part of your body. This lessons your chance of any kind if reaction to it. The molecule of Hyaluronic acid is fairly large, so injecting it actually creates a bigger impact compared to just putting it on your skin. More moisture in your skin means fewer wrinkles on your face, which sounds like a good thing to me.
Now that you’ve met Hyaluronic acid, you can be sure to make sure it’s a part of your skin care regime , or at least flirt with the idea of adding it in.
Allow me to introduce you to ceramides and peptides. They don’t sound too scary, and they’re very beneficial. They work really well with Hyaluronic acid, and they’ll get along great with you and your skin too.
- What is it: Like hyaluronic acid, ceremides are naturally occurring substances in our bodies. They act as a protective layer for the skin, and block any bacteria and environmental stressors from getting past them. They’re like little tiny body guards that don’t let anything past them that isn’t supposed to be there.
- What do they do: Ceremides more than anything are an anti-aging powerhouse. Yes, there are other ingredients that will help with anti-aging, but ceremides are just one of the strongest.
If you have skin care products that contain ceramides, slather that stuff all over your face, seriously. Hydration, anti-aging properties, and a protective layer from environmental stressors? Yes please.
Next up in our confusing and slightly scary sounding skincare ingredients list are peptides.
- What are they: Peptides are the building blocks that make up protein. The most important protein that we have in our skin is collagen. The more peptides we have, the more collagen we produce.
- What do they do: These little dudes are the coolest of all five ingredients. Peptides can communicate with the cells in your skin and teach them exactly what to do and how to improve your skin. If you’re skin is lacking elasticity, the peptides will literally say “hey guys we have to get moving here, quit slacking lets produce some elasticity’. Ok maybe that isn’t exactly how the communication takes place but regardless, pretty cool right?
The next time you see someone with glowing, young, supple skin you don’t have to think “I wish I knew what skincare products they used” because you’ll know, it probably had peptides in it.
Kind of amazing the first three skincare ingredients we just went over sound scary, but are all actually present in your body already and are huge contributors to hydration, protection and anti-aging.
Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids (aka not all acids are bad)
These next two skincare ingredients we’re going to break down sound even more intimidating, but bare with me on this one. You’ll be really glad you did.
Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are two different types of exfoliants. Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are a mouth-full I know, so let’s call them AHA and BHA (which is what everyone calls them anyway). I know the word “acid” sounds like something you don’t want to put on your skin but hear me out.
Take “citric acid” for example. That sounds like some sort of cleaning supply I’m going to mop my floor with, when really it’s basically lemon juice (lots of vitamin C to). Remember, it’s not all about the name, it’s about how they make you feel and what they do for you; and AHA/BHA exfoliants make you feel really good.
Maybe you’re thinking “so what, they’re exfoliants that doesn’t mean these chemicals are good for me”. Well, lets start with AHA exfoliants.
What are they: AHA exfoliants are derived from natural substances. That’s right, no chemicals. Fruits like apples and pears are mainly used, but sugar cane is also common.
What do they do: Since AHA exfoliants are naturally derived, they are water soluble and a gentle surface layer exfoliant. Removing the top layer of dead skin is extremely important. It affects how well your other skincare products work and how deeply they penetrate your skin.
If you’re investing in a moisturizer that has hyaluronic acids, peptides and ceramides, you want to make sure that product can penetrate deep within your skin. Use that AHA exfoliant to remove that top layer of dead skin that’s going to get in the way.
Don’t let dead skin ruin your relationship; that moisturizer has everything you need.
Alright, lets talk about BHA exfoliants, also known as Beta Hydroxy Acids.
What are they: BHA exfoliants are oil loving acids, meaning if you have acne prone or oily skin; a BHA exfoliant is going to be much more beneficial for you over an AHA.
What do they do: Similar to AHAs, BHAs also exfoliate the skin. Because they are able to fight through oil however, they exfoliate much deeper into the skin, riding any blackheads or whiteheads below the surface.
Regardless of if you use products with AHA or products with BHA, you’re going to promote new skin cells, collagen production, and overall healthier skin all together. Say goodbye to cracked dry skin and say hello to some confusing names you can finally get behind.
Last but not least, retinol. Almost all of us have heard the word before, and that it does wonders for our skin, but how and why does it work? Let’s clear up some confusion on one of the most popular skincare ingredients, shall we.
What it is: Retinolis a type of retinoid, also known as a vitamin A derivative.
How it works: Until you hit mid-thirties, your skin’s cellular turnover happens every 28 days. Once you’re in your thirties, that slows down to every 50-60 days. Retinol’s job is to trick your body into thinking its younger than it is, and speed your cellular turnover back up. In turn, less fine lines and age spots. Nice.
See? Not all skincare ingredients are bad
I hope this post made some scary sounding skincare ingredients less scary for you. It’s important to know what’s in your products. You need to know what to look for to get the right product for you, not just the product du jour.
Now that we know not to judge ingredients by their names, we need somewhere to find these products. Download the Moola app for a gift card to save some money on your next skincare purchases. Your skin (and bank account) will be glowing.