Skin Care Ingredients to Know and Love

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AUTHORED BY: Jenny Leazer, Licensed Esthetician, I Heart Skin Denver

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Has winter left your skin feeling in need of some TLC? When it comes to skin care, ingredients matter. Not only in terms of quality but also concentration. Often the difference between a professional skin care product and one you find at a drug store is a lot of filler. Diluted products may not harm your skin, but they also don’t contain enough active ingredients to really be effective. Other products may be too harsh, containing drying alcohols and irritating synthetics.

With so many skin care products and lines on the market, shopping for skin care can often feel overwhelming. One way to make it easier on yourself is to shop by ingredients rather than by brand. Next time you buy face care products, here are four powerful ingredients to look for.

Peptides

Peptides are one of the most magical ingredients out there, because they can do so many different things for the skin. Essentially, peptides are amino acid chains, which when absorbed into the skin, can act as messengers to your skin cells. Peptides can signal your skin to make more collagen, heal faster or or even reduce the small muscle movements that cause wrinkles.

There are dozens of different peptide ingredients but all will end in the word “peptide.” Most peptides are found in serum form, so that they are able to quickly penetrate and be absorbed into the skin. Other corrective products such as eye cream or anti-wrinkle spot treatments also contain peptides to target concerns specific to that area - like dark circles or puffiness under the eyes.

Results from peptides take time and consistent use, but using them in your skin care is a great way to slow the aging process and take your skin to the next level.

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Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids or AHAs, are exfoliating acids. Exfoliation is good for everything from acne to hyper pigmentation to fine lines, and AHAs are a natural chemical exfoliant. Although the word acid sounds scary, not all acids work the same. AHAs are derived from food products, and when used properly, can have wonderful benefits for the skin. Some acids, such as Lactic Acid and Citric Acid can actually hydrate your skin while gently exfoliating and brightening. Another popular AHA found on the market is Glycolic acid. Glycolic acid, when used in moderation helps reduce signs of aging and can also help with hormonal acne.

AHAs, either in pure form or blended together are common components of a chemical peel. Malic Acid, derived from apples and Tartaric Acid from grapes are other AHAs found in light peels or enzyme masks. Different percentages of these acids yield a wide range of results, so always consult a professional for treatment and follow the instructions when using these products over the counter.

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Antioxidants

Just as antioxidants are beneficial to our internal health, they also play a role in our skin health, fighting free radicals. We are exposed to free radicals every day via sun exposure, pollution and other environmental factors. Free radicals age us, causing permanent damage and even skin cancer. Introducing some antioxidants into your skin care routine is recommended at any age for prevention or to correct a number of issues.

The most popular antioxidant ingredients come in the form of Vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A or Retinol, as it is commonly known, helps with cellular turnover and age maintenance. Vitamin C is brightening and protective, while Vitamin E is hydrating and healing. Green Tea is also a popular staple in skin care for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Antioxidant ingredients work even better in conjunction with one another, so including more than one into your routine can be highly beneficial.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is one of the most amazing skin care ingredients for every skin type. For acne sufferers and oily skin types it can be used in serum form, hydrating the skin in place of a moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid is produced internally but when applied topically to the skin, it acts as a water binder, holding up to 1,000 times its own weight in moisture. This helps to plump the skin and make it more soft and supple. It is also great for strengthening the skin’s natural barrier for people with dry or sensitive skin.

In pure form, you will find hyaluronic acid listed as just that, but its derivative sodium hyaluronate also boasts the same benefits. Hyaluronic acid is found most commonly in serums, toners and moisturizers. Eye creams and masks also use this ingredient to help reduce the appearance of fine lines.

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These are just four trending ingredients that have amazing benefits for your skin. As with anything you would put on your face, always do some research if you're unsure about whether an ingredient is right for your skin. A little knowledge is power toward preventing further damage to your skin, and getting amazing results instead.

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