If this post seems familiar, that’s because it was the second half of my post The Korean Skincare Regime Explained. The whole thing came up to a 2.1k word essay, so I decided to split the two into more manageable sections. This might be an ongoing series on skincare ingredients, we’ll see about expanding into makeup ingredients too.
Image from here. Literally, ingredients from a fruit salad, hee.
SKINCARE INGREDIENTS TO NOTE:
For All Skin Types
- AHA – alpha hydroxyl acids are naturally occurring acids like glycolic, lactic, citric and mandelic acids, found in fruit and milk. These are used in chemical peels (as well as lotions, serums, masks, etc.) and are used to treat wrinkles, blackheads, dull skin and clogged pores. They chemically exfoliate your skin and have anti-aging properties.
- BHA – short for beta hydroxyl acid. There is only one BHA – salicylic acid. AHAs are water soluble, while salicylic acid is oil soluble. Apparently this means BHA can penetrate deeper into the pores to clean out dead skin cells built up in the pores. BHAs are best used on oily blackhead prone skin.
- Vitamin A – this is the thing found in retinols that give them their magical properties. Retinols are prescribed for anti-aging and anti-acne effects. They make your skin very sensitive though, so only apply this at night. They’re usually only prescribed by dermatologists, and can’t be bought over the counter. Never never never combine a retinol with BHA or AHA as this will only irritate your skin. The acids will also probably render your retinol ineffective as it is a somewhat unstable ingredient (always store your retinols in cool dry areas!)
- Vitamin C – found in oranges, pomegranates, strawberries, lemons – basically any fruit that has lots of antioxidants. It brightens and repairs the skin, so it’s good for treating tired aging skin. It’s also found in a lot of whitening skincare products. Do note that this is an extremely unstable ingredient, and has to be applied at the right pH level. Do not apply if you’re placing any acids like AHA as they alter the pH level of the vitamin C product and degrades its antioxidant properties. Considering that a good vitamin C product tends to be ridiculously expensive, you don’t want this to happen. Also store these serums in a cool dark place so they don’t react.
- Vitamin E – I remember this always being touted as the miracle ingredient to get rid of scars. While I’m skeptical about how much it can actually perform, vitamin E does have skin-repairing properties. Highly recommended for sun damaged or dry skin.
- Zinc Oxide – Usually prescribed for irritated skin, this is a natural antibacterial, and helps to prevent acne. Plus, it’s a sunscreen. I’ve just been prescribed a tube of this for my eczema on my chest and back area, and the dermatologist said that it would help prevent acne from forming there too.
For Problem Skin
Note: While we’re always eager to get rid of our acne, be careful not to use too many anti- acne products to treat your skin at one go. You’re just going to get dry irritated skin as a result.
- Tea Tree – a commonly used antiseptic, this this will treat your acne. Spot treat, don’t use a sheet mask or moisturizer if you suffer from dry skin as it tends to dry you out.
- Cypress Oil – this is a sudorific product that makes you sweat. As gross as that might sound, this basically flushes out your pores (this is why your skin always looks glowy at the end of a hot spa treatment). As an antiseptic, I also like applying this to acne.
- BHA/Salicylic acid – this will be your best friend. I love it in my facial wash (I use a 2% one from Neutrogena) and have noticed that my blackheads are a lot more manageable since.
- Benozyl Peroxide – frankly I’ve never been a fan of this ingredient as it tends to discolour clothing and leave the skin around your pimple as dry as the Sahara. Though to be fair it works very well. All I can say is use sparingly, and never go beyond 5% concentration.
- Mung Bean –This is a gentler anti-acne ingredient as compared to all the others. I like it as I feel it soothes reddened skin.
For Dry Skin
Note: Your dry skin basically means that you have a damaged skin barrier, and you need to work on moisturizing everything ASAP. Avoid any product with alcohol in it as this will only dry you out more. Be careful when using harsh ingredients like retinol.
- Vitamin E – you’ll need this for repairing cracked dried skin.
- Honey – this one’s a heavy-duty moisturizing ingredient. Use a sheet mask, or make your own DIY honey face mask.
- Strawberry – a moisturizer, and has antioxidants to repair your damaged skin.
For Oily Skin
Note: Oily skin doesn’t mean your skin is hydrated. Water and oil are two very different things, and to achieve perfect skin, you should have a balanced oil and water level. You want to moisturize your skin to decrease oil activity. Pick oil-free products as you have plenty of them already.
- AHA and BHA – acids reduce the size of pores
- Lemon – this has natural astringent properties, and is an antioxidant. I like using this as a sheet mask on days my skin is especially oily.
- Tea tree – this decreases oil production, and treats problem areas at the same time. Use as a sheet mask.
For Ageing Skin
Lots of hydration, and throw in some antioxidants to keep your skin glowing. Don’t forget your retinols. I can’t go into great detail on this as I haven’t tried aging ingredients yet.
Do share your favourite ingredients in the comments! I hope this cleared up the crazy mess that is the skincare department. I plan to put up a post on my updated skincare regime over the next few days, and share what products have been working for me, and what haven’t.