Liposomes, ceramides, peptides …. these are some of the many ingredients that we can find today in cosmetic products and because there are far too many, I have concentrated in the most well known anti-aging skincare ingredients.
Understanding how these ingredients in cosmetic products work and what they can do for your skin will be invaluable and will give a realistic vision when you go in search of cosmetic products.
However, if you are still unsure of which skin care ingredients will be more suitable for your skin, please consult your Esthetician.
In an easy way to understand lipids are fats that can't be dissolved in water. There are many types of lipids in the human body. Skin lipids constitute 10 to 30% of the top layer (stratum corneum) and form the "skin's barrier", preventing the infiltration of some substances such as drugs, germs, chemicals...through the skin. Lipids also reduce the loss of water in the skin, protecting our bodies from dehydration. The most well known lipids in cosmetic formulations are ceramides and liposomes .
Humectants are substances that have the ability to absorb moisture from the air. They are added to many cosmetic products to keep the skin moisturized. Skin care products with humectants are designed to avoid the loss of water in our skin and can help us to delay the appearance of premature wrinkles and fine lines. The most popular humectants used in cosmetic products are glycerin , panthenol and hyaluronic acid .
Peptides are organic compounds of great importance. Peptides are small chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) which are joined together by peptide bonds. They can be dipeptides, tripeptides …. to polypeptides. Peptides are added to skin care products to help diminish fine lines, wrinkles and stimulate skin regeneration - but in order to be effective, there has to be a high concentration of peptides, without causing any irritation to the skin. The most well known peptides in cosmetic formulations are copper peptides, hexapeptide-3 and pentapeptides.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids, also known as AHA'S are a naturally occurring group of acids, derived from food products such as citrus fruits, apples, grapes, papaya, sugar cane and milk. Their function is to exfoliate the skin, shedding dead skin cells to improve skin texture. As a result the skin is left feeling softer, more supple with an even tone and younger looking. These skin care ingredients have been used by the cosmetic industry for decades and are widely used as a skin care ingredient in facial peelings. In skin care products the concentration of AHA'S varies from 5 to 15% but research shows this is a low concentration to make a great improvement to the skin. Higher concentrations of up to 70% - like the ones used by Estheticians and Dermatologists will give better results, but the skin will be more sensitive to sunlight and may cause irritations. Sensitive skin should not use these products.
Don't use alpha hydroxy acids together with products containing retinol. If in doubt, always consult with your Esthetician. The most well known alpha hydroxy acids used are lactic acid , tartaric acid, glycolic acid , malic acid, citric acid.
Retinols are compounds derived from vitamin A and can be found only in foods from animal origin. Retinols are widely used in treating some diseases such as skin cancer and several skin disorders like.
Retinol is been proved to be very effective in treating aging skin. Topical retinols can penetrate deep in the skin, increasing the turnover of cells. As a consequence the epidermis is renew and collagen production is boosted. Retinols can have some side effects such as:
When using these products always wear sunscreen with a high SPF because retinols increase sun sensitivity. There are different types of retinols, but the most effective ingredient in cosmetic products is tretinoin .
Another anti aging skin care ingredient that is added to many cosmetics is DMAE, which is used mostly to lift sagging skin. DMAE can be found in great concentrations in oily fish like sardines, salmon, anchovies... In the human body can be found in the brain in small quantities and its function is protecting the cell membranes from deterioration. DMAE improves the firmness of the skin and helps reduce the visual appearance of sagging skin. It is frequently referred to as a "face lift in a jar".