Skin Care Terms 101

I mentioned some of these terms in the bottom of my last post about skin care. I'm mentioning them again because the skin on your face is so sensitive, to take good care of it means understanding what ingredients are in the serums and creams you are applying to it. Some ingredients can actually be harmful to the skin if used incorrectly -- or at all...   - Jill - xoxo

AHA – Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are water-soluble acids used in skin care to exfoliate the skin. This can repair dry, aging and sun-damaged skin. They also help with age spots and other skin discolorations. These acids loosen and remove the top layer of dead skin to allow the new skin to emerge.  Glycolic and lactic acids are AHAs. *Sun sensitivity w/ use*Glycolic acid recommended concentration of 5-8%.

BHA – Beta-Hydroxy Acids are oil-soluble acids also used in skin care to treat acne and blackheads because they get down into the pores and unclog them.  These acids are also antibacterial and help reduce inflammation. The most common BHA is salicylic acid. *Sun sensitivity with use. *Salicylic acid recommended concentration of 2% or less.

Retinoid – A Vitamin A derivative used topically on the skin. They treat skin conditions such as acne and hyper-pigmentation. They are also used in anti-aging skin care regimens as they stimulate collagen production (collagen gives our skin bounce and production declines with aging) which helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids aid in the rate of the skin shedding the dead cells and preventing them from clogging your pores. Consistent, regular use allows the retinoid to improve your skin cell turnover/division (getting rid of old and allowing the new cells to divide and function as they should). Cell division also slows down with age, so retinoids are extremely important anti-aging products. *Sun sensitivity with use. *Retinoid recommended concentration of .04% to .1%

Collagen – a polypeptide (amino acids/protein) found in our skin, hair and nails.  It gives our skin elasticity/bounce and thickness.  As we age, collagen production declines and this results in our skin thinning and losing its elasticity – which means wrinkles!

Peptide – Chains of Amino acids that when are long make up proteins in the skin and when are short, tell our skin cells how to function. Peptides applied to the skin stimulate collagen production. A common collagen-stimulating peptide is Matrixyl. 

Antioxidant – They help fight free radicals (inflammation-containing substances) that are harmful and irritate the skin. Free radicals prevent collagen production from occurring at the rate that it should. Using these on the skin helps reduce free radical damage and allow collagen production to function. Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta-carotene are examples. *Some result in sun sensitivity with use.

Growth Factors - These can be vitamins or hormones that stimulate cellular growth. They have been used in wound-healing to promote tissue repair and regeneration. There is still a lot of controversy as to whether or not they are safe. There are some scarring and even cancer implications associated with growth factors. If you are considering using products with growth factors in them, research the growth factors they contain and ask your dermatologist about them and if there are any potential side-effects that could be harmful.