Go to any supermarket or mom-and-pop shop and you might find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of skin care products on the shelves. Whether you’re just starting out on a first-time skin care regimen or you’re a longtime user, knowing what specific ingredients do in your most popular products can be beneficial.

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Popular pores and skin care components

If you’re looking for something in order to help you with a specific skin condition, knowing what’s in your epidermis care items can become important information. Dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld, MD , walks us through some of the particular most popular skin care ingredients, what they do and how they work.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA)

Over-the-counter skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHA, (glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids) have become increasingly well-known in recent years. Creams and lotions with alpha-hydroxy acids may help with fine lines and wrinkles ,   irregular pigmentation   plus age spots . It may also help shrink enlarged pores. Side effects of alpha-hydroxy acids include mild irritation and sun sensitivity.

“To avoid burning, a person should apply sunscreen in the morning every day, ” advises Dr . Bergfeld.

To help prevent skin irritation, start with the product with a maximum concentration of 10% to 15% AHA. To allow your skin to get used to it, you should only initially apply the skin care product every other day, gradually working up to daily application.

Glycolic acid

This AHA helps exfoliate your pores and skin and boost collagen production (the protein that strengthens connective tissue). It not only assists clear your pores plus smooth fine wrinkles, but it can furthermore help hydrate your skin. Lotions and creams with this ingredient often help with improving eczema , while cleansers that use this component can assist along with blackheads .

Lactic acid

This AHA is produced in muscle cells and red blood cells. Like glycolic acid, products with this particular ingredient such as foot peels can assist with exfoliation while others can help with moisturizing the skin .

Beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid)

Salicylic acid removes dead epidermis and can improve the texture and color of  sun-damaged skin . This penetrates oil-laden hair follicle openings plus, as a result, also helps with  acne . There are many skincare products available that contain salicylic acid. Some are usually available over-the-counter and other people need a doctor’s prescription.

“In many cases, salicylic acidity can be less irritating than skin care items containing alpha-hydroxy acids, ” explains Dr. Bergfeld. “But they provide similar improvement inside skin consistency and colour. ”


Skin care products containing hydroquinone are often called bleaching creams or lightening agents. These skincare products are used to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and dark spots ( melasma or chloasma ) related to  pregnancy   or  hormone therapy . Over-the-counter skin treatment products this kind of as AMBI® Fade Cream contain hydroquinone.

“Your doctor can also prescribe the cream with a higher concentration associated with hydroquinone if your skin doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments, ” says Doctor Bergfeld.

Hydroquinone is also sometimes combined along with sunscreen because sun exposure causes pores and skin hyperpigmentation . It’s best to test hydroquinone-containing items in a small area, as a few people are allergic to it. If you’re sensitive to hydroquinone, you might benefit from the make use of products containing kojic acid instead.

Kojic acid

Kojic acid is furthermore a remedy with regard to the treatment of pigment problems and liver spots. Discovered in 1989, kojic acid works similarly to hydroquinone. Kojic acid is derived from the fungus, and studies have shown that it’s effective as a lightening agent, slowing manufacturing of melanin (brown pigment). With continued use, kojic acid may make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.


Look in order to retinol to improve acne and acne scarring , mottled pigmentation,   fine ranges and facial lines, skin structure, skin tone and color, and your skin’s hydration levels.

Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is found in many over-the-counter “anti-aging” skin care products. Tretinoin, which is the particular active ingredient in prescription Retin-A® and Renova® creams, will be a stronger version of retinol. If your skin is too sensitive to use Retin-A, otc retinol is an excellent alternative.

“Vitamin A has a molecular structure that’s tiny enough to get into the lower layers associated with your epidermis, where this finds plus boosts collagen and elastin, which is usually a protein that fortifies your skin’s flexibility” explains Dr. Bergfeld.

L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

This is definitely the only form of vitamin C that you should look for within your skin care products.

“There are many skin care items on the market today that boast vitamin Chemical derivatives like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or even ascorbyl palmitate as an ingredient, ” says Dr . Bergfeld. “But L-ascorbic acid is the just useful form of vitamin D in skin care products. ”

With age and sun exposure, collagen synthesis inside your skin decreases, leading in order to wrinkles. Vitamin C will be the only antioxidant proven to stimulate the particular synthesis associated with collagen, minimizing fine outlines, scars and wrinkles. It may also improve the appearance of sun-damaged pores and skin. Initial use of vitamin C-containing lotions can cause stinging or redness, but these side effects generally go away with carried on use.

Hyaluronic acid solution

Skincare products containing this substance are often utilized with supplement C products to assist in efficient penetration. Hyaluronic acid (also known as a glycosaminoglycan) is touted for its ability to “reverse” or stop aging. In news reports, you might have heard of hyaluronic acid as the particular “key to the fountain of youth. ” This is because the substance occurs naturally (and quite abundantly) inside humans plus animals, and it is found in young epidermis, other tissues and joint fluid.

“Hyaluronic acid can be a component of your own body’s connective tissues, and it’s known to cushion and lubricate these cells, ” states Dr. Bergfeld. “As you age, however , forces associated with nature destroy hyaluronic acidity. Poor diet and smoking can also affect your body’s level of hyaluronic acid over time. ”

Niacinamide (vitamin B3)

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that helps build keratin and keep the skin firm and healthy. It can help retain moisture plus stop skin flushing. If you have rosacea , face masks with this ingredient can help reduce redness and swelling.  


This silicone-based ingredient is the second-most common ingredient within moisturizers. In case you’re dealing with dry pores and skin, moisturizers using this ingredient could be beneficial, especially in the particular winter . This non-toxic ingredient can sort out scar tissue and makes your skin feel incredibly soft.

It can also help protect your own hair against breakage and create a slick, smooth feeling in your follicles. This is why you’ll find this ingredient in hair products that will help decrease frizz plus split ends . But it’s important to note that it’s heavy and builds up quickly, sometimes preventing water from getting into your roots. If a person use a product with dimethicone, you’ll want to use the clarifying shampoo once a week in order to help clear up any buildup.

Copper peptide

Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, even though it’s only been on the particular market since 1997. This particular ingredient promotes collagen and elastin creation, acts as an antioxidant and encourages production of glycosaminoglycans want hyaluronic acid solution. It also increases the benefits of your body’s natural tissue-building processes by firming, smoothing and softening skin — and it does this particular in less time compared to most other anti-aging skincare items.


This natural treatment ingredient helps repair dry or cracked skin. You’ll find this in a number of lip balms or even face creams . This particular is a great component for oily skin that can assist reduce blackheads, pimples plus acne. Because of its ability to lock in moisture, you may benefit from using products with glycerin at the end of the day to keep your epidermis moisturized overnight.

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