Have you seen the back of your skin care product? If you have, I am sure the hard-to-understand ingredients stated often confuse you. It is important for you to know which ingredients you should look out for, and which you should avoid. Know what goes into your product to keep your skin healthy!

 

A:

Alcohol (SD Alcohol)

Alcohol enables other ingredients to penetrate into your skin. In toners and acne products, it can help dissolve oil and temporarily tighten pores. However, it breaks down skin barrier at the same time, destroying the very substances that keep your skin healthy.

Allatoin

Allatoin is a natural chemical compound that is found in botanical extracts. Chemically synthesized allatoin is identical to natural ones, so it is considered safe. It is known for its natural soothing and anti-irritant properties that increase the water content. It also smoothes skin by increasing cell turnover.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

AHA is an organic skin care ingredient from milk, fruit and sugar cane. It is best for normal to dry skin. It works only at the surface of the skin, loosening the molecular bonds and easing the removal of dead skin cells. It also helps to bind moisture and aid production of collagen and elastin, moisturizing, smoothening and brightening your skin.

However, it can cause sun sensitivity and skin irritation. The most common types of AHA are glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpho Lipoic Acid is the perfect anti-aging agent. It is an antioxidant that can prevent and repair damage by neutralizing free radicals. It is soluble in both water and oil that it reaches all body parts effectively. It diminishes fine lines and is capable of preserving other powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E.

Amino Acid

It is important in building the structure of the skin. It is responsible for proteins that make up collagen and elastin and contains skin-firming properties. It also helps in the penetration of your skincare products.

Avobenzone

This is a common sunscreen ingredient that offers protection against UVA rays. It absorbs UVA rays and converts them to less damaging infrared heat reducing photo-damage. However, it does not protect us from UVB rays.

 

B:

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is an effective acne medicine! It takes off the layer of dead skin cells and clears your pores. In addition, it also kills bacteria that trigger breakouts on your skin. However, it can cause irritation to your skin, so it is best to start from low concentration.

Bisabolol

Bisobolol is a thick oily liquid from chamomile plant. It is an anti-inflammatory extract that helps alleviate skin discomfort. It enhances absorption and reduces skin dehydration and damage. It also increases skin penetration, especially of skin antioxidants.

 

C:

Caffeine / Coffeeberry

Caffeine not only has the function to keep us awake, it is also beneficial to our skin. It reduces the appearance of cellulite and puffy eyes. It is also a powerful antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulate oil glands.

Ceramides

Naturally occurring in skin’s oil, these fats act as ‘glue’ of the epidermis cells to reinforce the skin’s protective barrier. These barriers can reduce infections and holds moisture preventing wrinkles. Research has proven that people with eczema and sensitive skin have a lower level of ceramides. Many of the moisturizers off counters contain ceramides.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

I’m sure you have seen supplement pills with coenzyme Q10 advertised as the best anti-aging pills. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 in abbreviated form) is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance in charge of cell protection. It prevents the appearance of wrinkles, repairs sun damage and boosts collagen production, acting as a powerful antioxidant.

Collagen

Most of you would know collagen deals with skin elasticity, boosting a youthful look. It comprises 80% of skin and keeps skin firm and strong. Collagen, like CoQ10, breaks down over time.

 

D:

Dimethicone

This silicone based polymer works as a safe anti-foaming agent, skin protectant, and skin and hair conditioner. It is easily spreadable and creates a subtle gloss that feels smooth and silky to touch when applied. Besides these functions, it fills fine lines, giving even texture and tone. Lastly, it forms a membrane that keeps water from evaporating.

 

E:

Elastin

A protein named elastin is always mentioned when it comes to anti-ageing. Along with collagen, elastin supports the epidermis. It keeps skin flexible but tight and smooth. Hence, if the elastin breaks down, your skin cannot be supported and thus becomes saggy and wrinkly. It is vulnerable to sun damage, so always apply sunscreen!

Emollient

It is usually used as a synonym for moisturizer. Emollient keeps skin hydrated by restraining water evaporation. It also softens your skin by delivering moisture by itself!

Emulsifier

Emulsifiers refer to ingredients that create a stable mixture of different elements. They are used to bind non-mixing ingredients such as water and oil.

 

F:

Ferulic Acid

Ferulic Acid is one of the few powerful antioxidants from plants. It is often used with Vitamin C and E to facilitate stabilized combination and boost their functions. This is not all! It is a fabulous ingredient that maximizes photoprotective capacity for dry to normal skin.

Feverfew

Feverfew, a plant related to sunflower, has a huge soothing effect. Since one of constituents, parthenolides, may irritate or sensitize the skin, it has to be purified when used in cosmetics. Thanks to its calming effect, it reduces inflammation, minimizes redness by sunburn, and protects against free radicals making it suitable for treating acne, rosacea and irritated skin. However, it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women and children under 2 years old.

Fragrance

Fragrance often indicates synthetic chemical compounds used to generate delightful scents, but it is also the number one factor that triggers allergic reactions. Don’t be fooled by their pleasant scent!

 

These are common ingredients that go into your daily skin care products. Check the ingredients before you buy the product and you will be able to select the most suitable ones for your skin!

If you find that your skin is thin, turns red, gets irritated, swells, flakes, and suffers from blemishes easily, you likely have sensitive skin. By understanding your skin better, you will know what ingredients and treatments to go for and avoid. Read on to find out how to care for sensitive skin in humid climates!

Types & Causes of Sensitive Skin

Sensitive Skin in Humid Climates: A Guide

Most sensitive skin types fall under four categories: Rosacea, Acne, Burning & Stinging and Contact Dermatitis which includes Allergies and Irritants. Our recommendations below are meant for general skin irritations. More severe conditions like Rosacea and Eczema usually require oral prescriptions.

Common Causes of Sensitive Skin

Acne can be caused by hormones and/or genetics. Usually, they form because of a combination of excessive sebum production and high levels of P.acnes bacteria. Apart from hormonal fluctuations and genetics, using the wrong skincare products and/or lack of proper cleansing can increase breakouts. These congest pores, leading to whiteheads and blackheads. When P.acnes bacteria infect them, pimples and acne form, causing inflamed, painful and sensitive skin.

Rosacea is a chronic sensitive condition and may be caused by genetics, vascular instability and sun exposure. People with this condition experience pimples, flushing, broken vessels on the face and uneven skin.

Burning & Stinging can be caused by a myriad of irritants, the most common of which being AHAs, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Azaelic Acid and Benzoic Acid. Its actual cause has not yet been determined and triggers differ from person to person. E.g. Person A may react to Glycolic Acid but not to Lactic Acid and Person B may react to both.

Contact Dermatitis can be caused by either irritants or allergies. The latter may be caused by environmental or dietary factors, and/or topical ingredients. Allergens can cause increased redness, swelling, burning and itching, amongst others. Irritants may include chemicals, body fluids, environmental factors and mechanical factors, e.g. friction and pressure.

Active Ingredients & Their Concentrations

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Government regulations dictate that product ingredients must be listed in descending order of concentration. For ingredients with less than 1% concentration, they can be listed in any order. Hence, we can see that most products have Aqua or Water listed as their first ingredient.

Active ingredients account for products’ benefits. For example, a proper sunscreen should contain an appropriate amount of Zinc or Titanium Dioxide. We don’t need active ingredients to be listed as the first or second on the list as they aren’t usually needed in high concentrations to be effective. But also ensure it’s not listed as the last few ingredients! A product claiming to be an antioxidant, for example, should not have L-ascorbic Acid at the end of the list.

Parabens Or Not

There has been debate over the past decade on whether parabens are bad. Parabens, in the forms of Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben and Butylparaben, are widely used in all cosmetic products as preservatives. They prevent the growth of microbes and/or bacteria to extend our cosmetic products’ shelf lives beyond 2 months. They also keep products safe for use, without having to worry about potential infections.

Alternatives like DMDM Hydantoin have been offered, but in some formulations, parabens remain more effective alternatives. Hence, they’re probably still here to stay for a while.

“All Natural” Claims

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There is no firm regulation that dictates what “natural” means. Neither are there rules on the percentage of ingredients that has to come from natural sources for it be labelled as such. Many products claim to be natural although it contains only one or two such ingredients. Some “natural” ingredients constitute only a small percentage of the actual product makeup.

Did you know? Natural products may contain chemical substances too. Although they aren’t necessarily all bad, read the ingredient list carefully to ensure they do not use any chemical additives. These products tend to have a much shorter shelf life too.

Organic Claims

Likewise, there is no firm regulation for products claiming to be “organic”. Even if the product has a minute percentage of an organic ingredient, it can claim to be an “organic” product.

Marketing Terms & Techniques You Should Know

Terms such as Hypo-Allergenic, Dermatologically Tested, Allergy Screened and Fragrance-Free are commonly found on many products’ labels. In reality, these terms are vague and unspecific. There are no known industry standards of measurement and no legal definition to them.

Are All Chemical Ingredients Bad?

Most compounds in their natural states cannot be formulated into skin care products. They have to be chemically altered before they can be used. By enhancing these natural ingredients, they become more stable and safer for the skin. Moreover, advances of technology in cosmetic formulations have enabled formulators to create exciting new ingredients to benefit consumers.

Have you learnt more about how to care for your sensitive skin in humid climates yet?