Buying the right skin care products can be bamboozling. The beauty industry is extremely adept at assailing consumers with impressive-sounding ingredients that promise to transform their skin and their beauty regimen. It can seem as though every few months there’s a wondrous new ingredient that’s poised to take the industry by storm and render everything in your bathroom cabinet obsolete overnight.
From collagen-enriched skin care creams to moisturisers containing hyaluronic acid to skin care treatments containing stem cells. How do you know which ingredients live up to the hype and which will leave you feeling out of pocket and deeply dissatisfied?
Here we’ll look at some of the best skin care ingredients to look for, and which product lines are most likely to help you to achieve the results you want. We’ll also look at some ingredients that are best avoided.
Which ingredients to avoid
Before we look at which skin care ingredients are the real deal, it’s a good idea to highlight those that are best avoided. Aside from harmful compounds like sulphates, BPAs and artificial fragrances you should also look out for ingredients that sound impressive, but are really just a waste of your money.
- Collagen- Collagen is important for pumper, younger-looking skin. But its molecules are too big to be absorbed into the skin. Instead, the body needs to be encouraged to make its own
- Elastin- Just like collagen, elastin (while important for skin health) cannot be absorbed into the skin
- Stem cells- Expensive and pointless. While stem cells have antioxidant properties, they cannot penetrate deeply enough into the skin to be effective. Furthermore, they need to be living in order to be useful to the body, and it’s impossible to keep them alive within a skin care product
The following ingredients, on the other hand, are scientifically proven to promote younger-looking skin, soothe conditions like acne, and combat redness and puffiness. There are a number of ways in which they can do this, from aiding hydration to undoing the damage caused by free radicals in sunlight.
Let’s take a look.
The importance of getting enough vitamins in our diet is instilled in us from a young age. But while a healthy diet with lots of leafy greens can help the skin, it’s difficult to get the targeted results you need from ingesting vitamins alone. Fortunately, they can be absorbed into the skin, benefiting you in a number of ways.
The best vitamins for skin care include:
- Vitamin E— Guards the skin barrier, aids hydration and soothes sun damage
- Vitamin C— Boosts collagen production and decreases the formation of pigmentation
- B Vitamins— B3 can strengthen the skin and prevent dryness, while B5 aids hydration and prevents moisture loss
- Vitamin F— Vitamin F is found in fatty acids, which assist in normal skin functions, helping to ensure that the skin is hydrated and protected
Many of the vitamins above are also topical antioxidants. These help to combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals. These are unstable and highly reactive molecules that can break down collagen strands, ageing skin prematurely.
Antioxidants can help to reverse this damage and accelerate collagen production within the skin.
Peptides are compounds made up of two or more amino acids which are linked together in a chain. Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins that make up our cells. Collagen is also a chain of amino acids, and unlike collagen, peptides can be absorbed into the skin. The longer the chain of amino acids that make up the collagen strands, the fuller and more youthful your skin will appear.
Ageing and exposure to the sun’s UV rays can shorten the chains. When peptides are absorbed into the skin, they send a message that collagen stores are depleted, encouraging the skin to manufacture more.
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that helps to prevent the breakdown of collagen cells in your skin. This can help it to retain, or even regain, its fullness and firmness. It also encourages the upper layer of skin cells to die off more rapidly in order to make way for the healthier new skin cells beneath. This reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as sun spots which can age the skin prematurely. Retinol can also soothe skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.
Resveratrol is one of a group of compounds known as polyphenols. It is found in the skin and seeds of grapes as well as in peanuts and berries. It has been linked to a range of positive health outcomes from weight loss to a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.
It is useful in skin care not only for its antioxidant properties but as an effective natural anti-inflammatory. Because it is so effective in combating inflammation within the skin, it is a natural choice for combatting acne and psoriasis.
Arnica is a plant that is part of the sunflower family. While it is sometimes used as a herb to flavour foods, it also has potent anti-inflammatory properties when applied to the skin.
This makes it useful for calming and soothing irritated skin that has been subject to an acne flare-up, recently exfoliated or damaged by the sun. It can accelerate healing, while helping the skin to retain its moisture.
Sea whip extract
Gorgonian extract (more commonly known as sea whip extract) is extracted from a sustainably-sourced form of renewable coral found in the Caribbean Sea. Sea whip is an extremophile, able to thrive even in the most extreme conditions. This enables it to deliver protective and restorative enzymes into the skin, as well as acting as a natural anti-inflammatory.
It helps to protect the skin against environmental damage, keeping it calm, hydrated and nourished. This not only makes it effective in fighting the signs of aging but mitigating the effects of acne.
Bisabolol is another natural anti-inflammatory. It is a plant compound found in the bark of the candella tree as well as German chamomile. It is proven to be highly effective in calming irritated skin, and is often used in the treatment of sunburn, rashes, and rosacea.
Opuntia Ficus-indica extract
The opuntia ficus-indica, better known as the prickly pear, is a sustainable form of cactus native to Mexico. It has been used for centuries for its naturally soothing and hydrating properties.
As well as helping to hydrate inflamed skin, it is also a rich source of antioxidants compounds called polyphenols.
Boswellia Serrata Extract
Boswellia serrata, known as Indian frankincense, is a sweetly fragrant plant that is a much more natural alternative to harmful artificial scents. What’s more, it’s also a potent anti-inflammatory. It is commonly used in anti-ageing medications and acne treatments for its soothing and restorative enzymes.
Why you should consider Alumier skincare
When looking for new skin care products, it’s important to find a brand that you can trust. One that eschews harmful petrochemicals and artificial scents, while also steering clear of ingredients that are little more than buzzwords.
Alumier skin care is one of the world’s fastest-growing medical skin care brands. Developed by skin care specialists it is made using natural plant-based compounds that have been historically and scientifically proven. Its ranges include virtually all of the key ingredients mentioned above, combining nutrient-rich plant extracts with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This results not only in firmer, younger-looking skin but protection from the harsh elements and relief from irritation.