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Cosmetic Ingredients - A Primer: Part 1

Have you ever visited a cosmetic counter or skin care specialist to fix a specific problem with your skin, only to be bombarded with a bunch of sales jargon and a list of ingredients that are supposed to help you, but you have NO IDEA what they are or why you should use them? ME TOO!


I have compiled a list of ingredients used in the best and most popular skin care brands. I sorted them according to what they actually DO for your skin and what exactly they ARE.skincareclassphotoThe categories are Anti-Aging, Antioxidants, Exfoliators, Hydrators, Anti-Inflammatories and Essential Oils. Some ingredients fit into 2 or even 3 categories, so I listed them by which category suits them best, and explain in the definition what other benefits each ingredient offers. I tried to be as unscientific as possible to be understandable. Are you ready? Let's get started!


ANTI-AGING INGREDIENTS:

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID - This is one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatories available. ALA is both fat and water soluble which means that it is easily absorbed through the lipid layers of the skin and works equally well as a free radical fighter in the cell plasma membrane and in the watery interiors of the cell.

VITAMIN C ESTER - Unlike the ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C, this ester is fat soluble and realizes this essential nutrient's full potential as an anti-aging agent. It displays greater antioxidant activity in the cells and works at lower doses. Vitamin C Ester delivers 8 times higher levels of vitamin c activity. It continuously regenerates the Vit. E that is depleted and possesses superior ability to stimulate growth of the cells that help produce collagen and elastin.Anti-Aging-Products

(NEURO) PEPTIDES - Incorporating neuropeptides dramatically improves the appearance of skin's resilience, tone and texture, while decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It combats the appearance of crepiness by re-energizing and hydrating the skin, while increasing firmness.

COLLAGEN - Collagen works in tandem with elastin to give skin its texture, structure, and appearance. Sun damage (extrinsic aging) and aging (intrinsic aging) causes collagen in the skin to deteriorate. In any form, collagen is a good water-binding agent.


ANTIOXIDANTS:

VITAMIN E - Considered an antioxidant superstar. It is one of the most well-known and researched antioxidants, both when taken orally and when used in skin-care products. It isVitamin E fat-soluble and available in various forms, with the most biologically active being alpha-tocopherol.

CoQ10 - Also known as ubiquinone, it is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance present in all human cells. It is responsible for cell protection and production of the body’s energy. The latest research suggests that topical application of CoQ10 has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.


VITAMIN A - Otherwise known as Retinyl Palmitate (pure Vit. A) Years of research suggests that retinoids are helpful in reducing your risk for skin cancer. The bottom line is that people should continue vigilantly using sunscreens along with other sun-safe practices such as limiting sun exposure, seeking shade, and wearing sun-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging."

ARGAN OIL - Argan oil contains several beneficial lipids and fatty acids for skin, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and especially linoleic acid. It is also a good source of vitamin E (Tocopherol) and, like several other plant oils, is a source of antioxidant compounds. Argan oil is a natural source of the antioxidant ferulic acid.


EXFOLIATORS:

GLYCOLIC ACID - Also known as alpha hydroxy acid,  AHAs are derived from various plant sources or from milk. In low concentrations (less than 3%) AHAs work as water-binding agents. At concentrations over 4% and in a base with an acid pH of 3 to 4, these can exfoliate skin cells by breaking down the substance in skin that holds skin cells together. The most effective and well-researched AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid.

SALICYLIC ACID: Referred to as beta hydroxy acid (BHA), it is a multifunctional ingredient that addresses many of the systemic causes of blemishes   For decades dermatologists have been prescribing salicylic acid as an effective exfoliant, but it also is an anti-irritant This is because salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin (both are salicylates—aspirin’s technical name is acetylsalicylic acid), and so it also functions as an anti-inflammatory   Another notable aspect of salicylic acid for treating breakouts is that it has antimicrobial properties  It is also well documented that salicylic acid can improve skin thickness, barrier functions, and collagen production. In concentrations of 0.5% to 2%, and, much like AHAs, can exfoliate the surface of skin. In addition, BHA has the ability to penetrate into the pore (AHAs do not), and thus can exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin, which makes it effective for reducing blemishes, including blackheads and whiteheads.

I know this is a lot to take in, but at least you are starting to get the idea of what to look for when buying any new skin care product.  I'm breaking it down into 2 parts, so look for my next blog where I will discuss Hydrators, Anti-Inflammatories and Essential Oils! Cosmetic Ingredients, Part Deaux!

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