I’ve filmed this video which is Part #1 of my Skincare Series, where I talk about the essentials on skincare: key ingredients for a beautiful skin, what to look for in a skincare product, the difference between AHA, BHA, etc.
You can watch it all in the video but I’ve listed in this blog post all the details as well.
Cleansing is an essential step to our routine. Failing to cleanse properly can lead to clogged pores, makeup can lead to inflammation and collagen breakdown, and that’s all because every day we have on our skin pollution, excess oil (sebum), makeup and dead skin cells. We want to remove that with a gentle and effective cleanser, not one that will strip down our skin.
Water itself can get rid of only 65% of oil and debris from skin’s surface, so we need to use a cleanser morning and evening. But be careful, over-cleansing can be unnecessary and be drying.
*Tip*: You don’t need overspend on cleansers. They will only stay in our faces for a few seconds and are made to mainly remove impurities (any other benefits would require a greater time of action).
Our skin renews itself every single day, but that process can slow down in time and with age. We want to remove excess of dead skin by exfoliating, otherwise, we can end up with clogged pores, dull, flaky skin, bumps, more wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
There are two types of exfoliants: mechanical and chemical.
- Mechanical exfoliants are those products with little particles which we rub in our faces and they will physically exfoliate dead cells. We should also be careful not to use harsh exfoliants with sharp edges.
- Chemical exfoliants are those that we leave on the skin so it can act on its own, and they are the BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) and AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). These are a great option as they are meant to be gentle and very effective.
AHAs are acids like glycolic, malic, lactic and others, and BHA is salicylic acid. This one is greatly used for acne prone skin as it not only exfoliates but also melts the dirt in your pores, helping remove blackheads. They can be left on the skin for a few minutes or even overnight as part of your daily routine.
Two important things to check on a chemical exfoliant:
- Concentration: AHAs, for daily use, normally have a concentration between 5%-10%. A great concentration for BHA is 2%.
- PH: These acids should have a PH ranging from around 2,5 – 4,0 to be effective, otherwise they will be unable to exfoliate the skin.
We want to keep our skin supple and retain its ideal water balance. Skin replenishing ingredients are known as ceramides, glycerin, fatty acids, hyaluronic acid, sodium, peptides, amino acids, and cholesterol. They will protect against moisture loss and keep the skin supple and soft.
Hyaluronic acid, for example, is great for both oily and dry skin, and 1g of it may retain up to 6 liters of water. Today there are many different types of hydrating products to keep the skin plumped, as creamy formulas for drier skin, gel formulas for oily ones, and face oils for all skin types.
Products largely used to treat acne include:
- Benzoyl Peroxide: which are also great to prevent acne eruption. Concentrations vary from 2,5% to 5%
- Retinol: Helps skin maintain its oil balance and also get rid of acne scars.
- Tea Tree Oil: natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps calm skin.
- Azelaic Acid: it’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and brightens the skin because it inhibits the skin’s excess production of melanin.
It’s always important to find the causing factor of the acne, which can be hormonal, stress related, food related, or even can be caused by other skincare products that are not ideal for your skin type.
To target aging skin we have antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients.
Antioxidants will protect our skin from environmental damage and prevent free radical damage. The main ones are listed here:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C (in great concentrations of 5% and above can also help fade dark spots)
- Green Tea
Skin restoring ingredients will target the signs of aging and will fight wrinkles, roughness, uneven skin tone and dullness. They are:
- Retinol: It’s vitamin A and can be presented in different forms and concentrations. It has over 40 years of research prooving to be a powerful and effective age-fighting ingredient (targeting multiple signs of aging).
- Peptides: They are fragments of proteins, made of amino-acids and help build the blocks of the skin.
- Niacinamide: It’s vitamin B3 and helps improve enlarged pores, eneven skin tone and fights wrinkles. It’s non sensitizing.
- Lecithin: Has skin restoring abilities as well as moiturising properties.
- Adenosine: powerful anti-wrinkle ingredient.
Sunscreen can’t be left out as it’s the best anti aging product you can use. Daily use of sunscreen can decrease chances of skin cancer and prevent early signs of aging caused by the sun. It’s also a crucial product when you’re using acids like exfoliants, retinol, etc to avoid sunburn and further hyperpigmentation problems.
When buying a skincare product, always look for a container that will keep ingredients stable. Many ingredients will degradate when exposed to light and air, so packaging is extremely important to maintain their beneficial properties.
Also check the expiry date of the packaging when opened. They usually range from 6 to 12 months (sometimes less), and there’s no point of using the product after these dates! They might simply no longer work.