Alpha lipoic acids? Retinols? Peptides? To the average user, these sound Greek and probably not the sort of stuff you want anywhere near your face. But these are actually the sort of chemicals and compounds you want to read when you flip over that bottle of moisturizer. It’s hard to pronounce them and much less remember them but they’ve got some pretty awesome benefits so they’re worth taking note of. Read on to find out what are the top 5 ingredients to look for in your skin care products:
1. Hyaluronic acid. Our body produces this substance naturally and it regulates cell renewal, lubricates connective tissues, and maintains our skin’s moisture and elasticity. When applied to our skin, hyaluronic acid seals in moisture in the skin, making it softer and smoother. In injectable form, it fills in wrinkles and fine lines.
2. Retinol. This is a powerful exfoliant that aids in shedding dead skin cells and encouraging turn over of newer, healthier cells. It also helps increase the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen which makes skin much more smooth and supple. More benefits of retinol include firmer skin and the reduction of hyperpigmentation, acne, signs of sun and environmental damage, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles.
3. Peptides. These are active proteins that aid in the communication of cells, encouraging them to act in certain ways. When it comes to skin, peptides signal elastin production (which makes the skin more resilient and elastic) as well as prompts the skin to heal itself when wounded. Peptides are more often used in anti-aging products because once absorbed in the skin, these proteins instruct cells to produce collagen, alleviate redness and signal muscles to relax thus minimizing wrinkles.
4. Antioxidants. These substances disable free radicals (harmful molecules that come from the sun, pollution and other environmental sources and damage DNA thus leading to wrinkles, discoloration and even cancer). Look for products with Vitamin C, idebenone, green tea, Vitamin E, ferulic acid and phloretin. Vitamin C is an especially beneficial nutrient for skin care because not only does it fight free radicals, it also promotes collagen production – making it a favorite ingredient for anti-aging products. Take note though that antioxidants, Vitamin C in particular, are vulnerable to light and air exposure so make sure to buy those that come in an airtight and opaque bottle or pump.
5. Alpha lipoic acids. This is an antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory compound. It’s known as a universal antioxidant because it is both water and fat soluble which means it is easily absorbed even through layers of skin. It’s even considered to be many times stronger than even Vitamin E and C (both known as antioxidants). As an anti-inflammatory, it can reduce swelling and redness on the face as well as reduce enlarged pores. It’s also great at decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and regulating the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide controls blood flow to the skin which can help turn a dull complexion to one that’s healthy and glowing.