When we approach skincare for the first time it may seem to sail in the high seas with no life vest, and we know that feeling: there are many different products, routines, and ingredients, and being able to understand what they can do for us is not easy.
Your skin is dry or you have dyschromia and you don’t know which ingredients are right for you? Don’t worry: we made a list of the most Googled skincare ingredients of recent years to keep in mind when looking for a new product, plus those ingredients that cannot miss in our beauty bag!
Top of the list there is she, Vitamin C!
We hear about it all the time and there is a reason for that: this powerful ingredient has an antioxidant effect that acts against oxidative stress to protect the skin that has lost the ability to neutralize free radicals over time causing tissue aging, in addition to countering the appearance of the signs of time, protecting the skin from external environmental agents or daily aggressors such as pollution. Moreover, Vitamin C is perfect to even out skin tone if you have skin blemishes or skin dyschromia caused by sun exposure and it stimulates the production of collagen attenuating small wrinkles.
PRODUCT: Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum, Olehenriksen. A lightening serum with 15% vitamin C, exfoliating acids, and pigments inspired by banana powder that will help you fight the signs of aging. It is also vegan and without animal ingredients.
Who hasn’t heard of retinol? Nowadays it is considered a bit like the Holy Grail of skincare ingredients thanks to its multiple functions. It is ideal for dry skin because it promotes the synthesis of collagen helping our skin regenerate its cells and regain elasticity and density. In addition to that, it prevents skin aging and wrinkles, improves the appearance of acne (also treating its scars) thanks to its sebum-regulating function, and by reducing the secretion of sebaceous glands. Furthermore, retinol is an excellent ally to fight skin blemishes caused by exposure to UV rays, neutralizing the molecule that originates the main responsible for cellular aging: free radicals.
Retinol, however, is not an easy ingredient to use and when you apply it you have to follow some basic rules! Start gradually, leaving time for the skin to get used to it, monitoring its response to the new treatment, and gradually increase its use until you can use it daily. Never forget to use some good SPF: retinol is photosensitizing, meaning it increases skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, which absorbs the energy transmitted by light, increasing the production of free radicals.
PRODUCT: Overnight Retinol Oil, Pixi. A smoothing oil for the night formulated with retinol to plump the skin and ceramides to hydrate it. Use it after cleansing and tonic, before moisturizing.
Another very popular ingredient is definitely Hyaluronic Acid: if you need a real boost of hydration, do not think twice! Known for its moisturizing properties, it promotes hydrolipidic balance and the production of collagen and is suitable for dry and inelastic skin that has lost the ability to retain water over time.
PRODUCT: Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask with Avocado & Swiss Glacier Water, The Origins. A mask that acts overnight, containing Swiss Glacier Water and hyaluronic acid, fatty acids such as Omega-3 and vitamins A, D, and E and that allows the skin to retain moisture for 72 hours, for continuous hydration.
A plant derivative of olive oil, rice bran, and sugar cane, squalane is a wetting agent naturally present in human sebum that helps maintain the hydro-lipid layer of the skin. It is also known for its emollient, moisturizing, and nourishing properties and is also used to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier.
PRODUCT: 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, The Ordinary. A serum containing 100% Squalane that helps prevent the loss of transdermal hydration, to apply daily, ideally after water-based treatments. You can also use it on your hair as a thermo-protector and nourishing product.
Do you have oily skin prone to blemishes and pimples? If you do, salicylic acid is what you need. This BHA (beta hydroxy acid), thanks to its high level of acidity and its antibacterial properties, exfoliates and refines skin texture, eliminating impurities that block the pores by reducing them and removing the surface layer made of dead cells, in this way promoting cell exchange. Furthermore, salicylic acid also has a smoothing and illuminating effect!
PRODUCT: Luce Liquida, Veralab.This face lotion containing salicylic acid is perfect for a light exfoliation. Being watery, you have to pour it on a cotton disk and dab the affected area for a few minutes and then proceed with serum and cream. If you want a lighter action, mix a few drops with your usual cream, and that’s it.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and will be the BFF of your stressed and dehydrated skin! This ingredient, in addition to being a powerful anti-inflammatory that also acts on acne scars, strengthens the protective barrier of our skin that, being weak and dry, cannot defend itself from bacteria that cause pimples. In addition to that, if used constantly, you will notice a more even skin tone, a finer texture, and a brighter and more radiant skin. Moreover, it is not photosensitizing and therefore, unlike retinol, it can be used day and night!
PRODUCT: 10% Niacinamide Booster, Paula’s Choice. A 10% concentrated niacinamide formula mixed with natural calming and moisturizing ingredients to counteract dilated pores and visible signs of aging. Boosters contain powerful concentrations of a skin-critical ingredient or a mixture of a specific group of ingredients in which similar structures of each ingredient combine to improve results and are lightweight and overlap with other products. Spread 2 or 3 drops on your hands and apply them on your face and eye area if you want. During the day Paula recommends using a moisturizer with SPF!
Ceramides are perfect if you suffer from eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, or dryness: they are naturally found in our skin and have the power to retain water, forming a barrier that slows water loss and does not allow external hydrophilic substances to penetrate inside, keeping the level of hydration high.
PRODUCT: Ceramidin Eye Cream, Dr. Jart+: Ceramidin Eye Cream, thanks to its complex of 5 ceramides, strengthens the thin skin barrier around the eyes and reduces the appearance of dark circles and bags.
Known as one of the “fruit acids” because of its origin from fruits such as citruses, it also belongs to the category of Alpha-Hydroxy acids (AHA) and is one of the most used exfoliating acids for chemical peeling. Perfect for regenerating the epidermis because its molecules are smaller and penetrate the skin by breaking the bonds between the cells of the corneal layer, it acts more strongly and powerfully than lactic acid.
Precisely because of its strong regenerating action, you must be careful with the dosage and suspend for a while at the first warning signs: excess in use can lead to skin microabrasions, irritations, ruptures of capillaries, and a thinning of the skin. Finally, glycolic acid is also photosensitive, so it should be used in the evening and the morning after sunscreen! No excuses.
PRODUCT: Tonic Glycolic Acid, Mario Badescu: a tonic to be applied twice a day after demake-up with a cotton disk, with circular movements from the inside to the outside until the disk is clean!
When we talk about exfoliants, lactic acid, which is part of the family of AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids), is a more delicate alternative to glycolic acid (which can irritate more easily) and is suitable for those with light and sensitive skin that tends to flare-up but who still do not want to give up a chemical peeling. Lactic acid is naturally present in the hydro-lipid mantle of the skin and, by regulating keratinization that accelerates cell turnover, it stimulates the biosynthesis of collagen and elastin and evens skin tone by attenuating hyperpigmentation. Be careful, always apply sunscreen in the morning and limit exposure to the sun during and in the week following the use of the product!
PRODUCT: Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% facial exfoliating, The Ordinary: an exfoliating product with 10% lactic acid and a pH of about 3.8, that can be applied once a day – ideally in the evening – and can be diluted with other treatments to reduce its power until the skin develops a fair level of tolerance to the product. Do not use it if in your skincare routine you use products that already include direct or ethylated vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), direct acids, retinoids, peptides, and EUK 134 0.1%.
Derived from vitamin A, Bakuchiol is an extract of the seeds and leaves of Babchi, a plant from East Asia, and has become one of the main ingredients of face creams in recent times and is known as the natural alternative to retinol, without being photosensitive. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties and, unlike retinol, it is also suitable for sensitive skin and can be added to your skincare routine with no need for training!
PRODUCT: Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment, Paula’s Choice: retinol and 2% bakuchiol of vegetable origin and active peptides, that help combat skin aging, work hand in hand in this treatment. Bakuchiol is one of the few ingredients that can stabilize retinol, allowing it to function more effectively and with a long-lasting effect, even at lower concentrations.
In the beginning, limit its use to three times a week (then gradually increase the frequency of use) and apply it on your face and neck before your moisturizing cream. During the day, use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.