- Collagen Breakdown- collagen is a protein which provides structural support to your skin. When we produce less collagen with age the common signs of ageing begin to appear. Sun-exposure, pollution, smoking and excessive sugar consumption in your diet can all speed up the breakdown of collagen.
- Elastin is another protein which causes the skin’s plump and ‘bounce back’. With age the production of elastin decreases which causes common signs of ageing like deep wrinkles and skin sagging.
- Sebum keeps your skin (and hair) lubricated and hydrated. When sebum is over produced or a build-up blocks pores, this causes breakouts and dull skin.
- Intrinsic Ageing- natural maturation of the skin such as muscle weakening, loss of volume. Your genetic predisposition, hormones and age all play a part here.
- Extrinsic Ageing- external factors such as environmental aggressors like UVA, UVB, HEV, diet, stress etc. all play a part here. Some research weighs up the balance of extrinsic ageing as high as 90% versus intrinsic ageing.
- Photo-ageing is premature ageing of the skin caused by exposure to UV light. Photo-ageing causes pigmentation but is also the primary cause of fine lines and wrinkles as it weakens the structure of the skin and decreases cell turnover. This damage is referred to as Photo-damage.
- HEV- High Energy Visible light emitted from phone and computer screens can damage skin according to some experts. Look for - Anti-Oxidants to boost your skin’s strength & protection.
Skincare Ingredients Explained
What is Vitamin A used for in skincare? (also see Retinol which is an active form of the Vitamin A molecule)
An active and targeted ingredient. Usually found in a serum which is the ‘active step’ in your skincare routine (or put simply where you want to see changes). It is used to reduce fine lines, encourage healthy skin production and can be an excellent way to reduce scarring and pigmentation. Think of it as increasing the turnover of your skin.
It can cause irritation so some products are designed to be used as a treatment or 2-3 times per week. When using any Vitamin A products, it is essential to only use in the evening and ensure you use ample sun protection as it often create sensitivity to sunlight. Some products have different percentages so always read the packaging and test a small amount to start off with. You can increase the percentage of Vitamin A as your tolerance grows.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) explained. Also see Glycolic, Lactic & Citric acids.
Active organic acid found in some cleansers, commonly used in toners, peels and exfoliating masks. Used to resurface skin texture and a chemical alternative to rough exfoliation. Can cause irritation if the quality and delivery of the active ingredients are not formulated well. AHA’s work by removing dead skin cells which not only leaves your skin fresh and glowing but it also makes the products you then put on your skin absorb easier as there is less build up on the skin. AHA’s/ Glycolic products work on the surface of the skin.
BHA’s also referred to as Salicylic Acid.
Exfoliates in the same way as AHA’s but has the ability to penetrate the skin at a deeper level as it is soluble in oil. This helps to remove dead skin cells from clogged in pores. Ideal for acne prone and oily skin. BHA’s or Salicylic acid are commonly found in peels and masks as well as cleansers for acne prone skin.
Why are the benefits of Amino Acids in skincare?
Collagen is comprised of amino acids. Clever formulations of different amino acids have been found to stimulate collagen production and repair. Key for maintaining the strength, condition and thickness of skin. Amino acids are often used in combination with other active skin ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid or Peptides to formulate serums and moisturisers.
Anti-Oxidants in skincare
Anti-oxidants by definition are anti-inflammatory and used a lot in skincare products formulated to protect from external aggressors like photodamage and pollution. Typical products with anti-oxidants would be facial oils, serums & moisturisers. Using a product with anti-oxidants will reduce inflammation, firm and plump out skin. Some products claim to reduce the appearance of scare tissue and stimulate blood flow.
Vitamin C in skincare
Vitamin C is difficult to ‘bottle’ and depending on the formulation and quality can lose its potency and effectiveness very quickly. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant so it has a positive effect on the skins surface like all other anti-oxidants and can have an excellent brightening effect.
Also see L-Ascorbic acid.
What are ceramides?
Ceramides hold the skin together and are essentially a type of fat cells which form a protective layer. This keeps the skin plump and hydrated. As we age our natural ceramide levels decrease causing the skin to become thinner. In skincare products, ceramides act to replenish what we’ve lost naturally. Similar to amino acids ceramides are often used in combination with other ingredients and normally in serums and moisturisers.
Copper peptides bring molecules of copper deep in to the skin where it can improve healing and regeneration from the inside out by promoting collagen and elastin production it also acts as an anti-oxidant. Some studies have shown that copper peptides remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin. Most likely to see this active ingredient used in a serum.
DMAE skin benefits
This is a substance which is naturally produced in our brains and acts as a natural anti-oxidant. It is also present anchovies, salmon and sardines and can be taken as a dietary supplement to boost natural levels, increasing brain function. In skincare, DMAE as an active ingredient (taken from fish) improves the appearance of skin elasticity and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Used in a variety of topical skincare products.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
HA is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that regulates cell renewal. HA is a hero ingredient for its multiple skin benefits. Not only will it help with the visible signs of aging but it has intense hydration properties which help skin look smoother and softer. It has the ability to retain 1000 times its own weight in water which is why it is the best ingredient for dehydrated skin- it draws water in to the skin. Not all HA products are created equally and the more advanced quality of the product the more effective the delivery of HA in to the skin. HA products are typically serums, ampoules or moisturisers and are often formulated in combination with other ingredients to aid absorption. The lower the HA molecules weigh the more it can penetrate the skins barrier.
What are PEPTIDES?
Peptides are chains of amino acids or active proteins which trigger changes in the skin. They are programmed to signal collagen and elastin production. Peptides in skincare works as a stimulant. Found in moisturisers and serums. There are different types of peptides some which directly stimulate you skin to regenerate and others that can’t directly stimulate production but are small enough to penetrate and deliver other active ingredients (See Copper Peptides).
Is Zinc good or bad in skincare?
Zinc is a mineral and is often used in the treatment and prevention of acne by regulating the activity of sebum production. Typically used in combination with other active ingredients to aid their effectiveness like Vitamin A & C but also used in sun protection products. In sun protection, its usually called out as Zinc Oxide.