The beauty industry loves to throw complicated terms at consumers in order to make their products sound fancier than they are. Take hyaluronic acid, for example. The newly touted holy grail ingredient has been around for years—so why does it seem like it’s a brand new thing? Below we’re discussing some of the most commonly used beauty product terminology, and setting the record straight on some of its more confusing labels. We’re even going to tell you how often you should use certain products, because every type of product varies!
Making sure your skin is hydrated is one of the most important aspects of a good skin care routine. It’s also one that gets often overlooked because it doesn’t always involve a beauty product. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and since your organs are made up of over 70% water, your skin needs a lot of water in order to stay healthy. Drinking enough water every day is one of the best ways to assure that your skin is hydrated, but it can often use an extra boost through hydrating skin care products. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid (which isn’t an acid! More on that later), glycerin, and ceramides to boost your skin’s hydration levels in a flash.
It is different than drinking a tall glass of water or slapping on a hyaluronic acid serum. While your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it needs a lot of water in order to stay healthy, it also needs something to help bind the water to the skin and keep it that way. Think of a moisturizer as the oil that helps keep water attached to something. If you’ve ever noticed that your skin stays dewy after the shower longer if you put lotion on right away, it’s because moisturizers and water work hand-in-hand to keep your skin looking luxuriously dewy.
Incorporating a good moisturizer into your skincare routine is a must, but it’s also important to get the right moisturizer. One of the most common misconceptions about skin care is that moisturizers are often associated with oils, and oils are almost always associated with breakouts. Our best advice is to stop thinking this way, because the right oils won’t break your skin out at all—in fact, they’ll prevent it!
When you wash your face regularly you’re stripping the oil away from your skin, and unless you replace it with a good oil, your skin is just going to work in overdrive to create more of the bad oil that causes breakouts. Look for products that incorporate nourishing essential oils and nutrients like vitamin E, glycerin, propylene glycol, and proteins.
Ah, the very foundation of a good skin care routine. Odds are, when you first got into skin care, you started with a cleanser. While hydration and moisturizing are important, you need to make sure you’ve got a proper cleansing routine first before you add more product. Cleansing products should be used once or twice a day, and they should be as gentle on the skin as possible.
It’s important to find a cleanser that accommodates your skin type, as using too harsh a product can end up doing more harm than good. If your current cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight and dry, it’s doing too much. Get to know your skin type and start off with a gentle cleanser, if you feel that it’s not cleaning your skin as much as it should, work your way into something stronger.
It may come as no surprise that most people are scared of the term “acids” in relation to skin care because the products sound like they would be harsh. The reality is far from that, as most acids don’t act like acids at all. The good news is that everyone can benefit from adding at least one acid to their skin care routine. The bad news, though, is that figuring out which acid is best for you can be confusing and fruitless if you don’t know where to start.
Hyaluronic acid, like we mentioned before, is possibly the least acid-like of all the acids on the beauty market. It’s hydrating properties allow water to bind to the skin easier, so slapping on a layer of hyaluronic acid before bed at night can help your skin look and feel better by the morning. On the other hand, products like AHA’a and BHA’s are meant to chemically remove dead skin or treat acne, depending on which one. Before incorporating any acid into your skin care routine, get to know its ingredients to understand what it will do for you.
A commonly used phrase on skin care products, anti-aging ingredients often treat the skin in some way that makes it appear to decrease the signs of aging, rather than actually—you know, turn back the clock. Retinol, for example, is a powerful ingredient that’s used in many anti-aging products. What it does, though, is slough off layers of dead skin to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and pores, making your skin appear younger and more supple.
When choosing an anti-aging ingredient, it’s important to understand that there may be negative side effects if your skin doesn’t need the product. Many over the counter retinol products aren’t going to be too harsh on the skin, but they have been known to cause redness and irritation in many cases. Additionally, anything that works to slough off layers of skin is going to leave you more exposed to the sun’s harmful effects. It’s ultra-important to use an SPF every single day while you’re using an anti-aging ingredient.
Natural Vs. Chemical SPF
Speaking of SPF, there is a lot of talk about which kind is the best in the market. Most people are aware that there are two types of SPF’s common to the beauty industry—”natural,” or mineral SPF, and chemical SPF. Both types have their own sets of pros and cons, so don’t be scared by the term “chemical” in this context.
Mineral SPF works by putting a layer of natural minerals over the skin. The product acts as a shield, deflecting the sun’s radiation through elements like zinc or titanium oxide. While the ingredients are natural, the minerals still have to be processed in a lab in order to be used as an SPF in the first place, so by no means are they completely devoid of chemical processing.
On the other hand, chemical sunscreens work by using ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb heat and radiation from the sun before it reaches your skin. Both of these ingredients have been declared safe by the American Academy of Dermatology, and have shown no signs of being harmful to use on the skin.