Common Ingredients in Our Skin Care Products
We try to find out more about the foods we put into our body so why not about our skin care products too?
Reading the labels of skin care products can be confusing and misleading. What are alpha hydroxy acids? Will resveratrol make a difference? What on earth is hidroquinone?
I cannot even pronounce half of them.
So I did a bit of digging and without getting too technical, here some of the more commonly found ingredients in your face care products:
1) Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Derived from fruits such as oranges, apples and grapes and other foods such as sugar cane; alpha hydroxy acid has been used for decades by cosmetic companies in various skin care products to get rid of dead skin cells.
This exfoliating acid usually comes in 5-15% concentration for most over the counter face care products and using it will make your skin smoother and brighter, but dermatologists will use 70% or more concentration in dermatologist skin care products for more serious cosmetic procedures.
(It is recommended to use dermatologist or professional skin care products for more severe skin problems)
The higher concentration will make your skin more sun sensitive and it is recommended to stay away from products containing retinol when using high dosage of alpha hydroxy acids.
If you have sensitive skin, alpha hydroxy acids may not be for you.
CBS did a 60 minute segment on resveratrol a few years back, touting it as the new anti aging ‘miracle’ ingredient.
Resveratrol comes from the skin of red grapes and although red wine does contain resveratrol, you will need to drink plenty to even get a small amount.
In skin care products, this anti-oxidant compound is used for anti-aging skin care.
Resveratrol claims to eradicate wrinkles, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can get rid of minor skin lesions. It is more potent in supplement form.
Skin lipids form the barrier between your skin and the environment. It is really a fatty layer that cannot be dissolved in water and constitutes 10-30% of the upper layer (stratum corneum) of our skin.
This layer of fat is responsible for maintaining the skin moist, keeping bacteria out and protecting our skin from other chemicals.
More commons types of lipids found in face care products are ceramides and liposomes.
Peptides are linked together by peptide bonds and are small chains of amino acids, where amino acids are the building blocks of protein. It is responsible for the skin’s regeneration.
Peptides used for the cosmetic industry includes copper peptides – a powerful anti-oxidant that helps reduce wrinkles, reverse sun damage and gives the skin more elasticity.
Another peptide used is Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 ( also known as Argireline ) which is injected into facial muscles to relax and lessen facial lines; it is considered better than Botox as it has built in hydrating components.
Hydroquinone is an aromatic organic compound and is part of the phenols chemical group.
It is used mainly in skin lightening products and has generated much controversy.
Banned in 2001 as it was found to have cancer generating as well as kidney degenerating abilities, using hydroquinone can have long term negative effects on our health.
This is a nasty compound and should be avoided at all cost.
Natural alternatives such as using lemon, aloe vera and buttermilk are all much healthier. Natural skin lightening may take time, but your health is much more important.
The FDA has just released this report on finding mercury in many anti-aging and skin lightening products.
Although banned in the US, mercury has found its way onto the market place via online sales and in Latino and Asian neighborhoods, where health and safety rules for beauty products from these countries are less regulated.
Mercury can affect your brain, kidney function, your nervous system and your unborn child even in minute quantities.
Check your labels carefully for mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio or mercury and discard any products containing these ingredients.
There are many more ingredients found in everyday skin care creams and lotions which we will cover in future posts.