With more awareness about ingredients and products, the skincare industry is growing faster than any other beauty industry. But with so much hype comes misinformation that goes viral without much evidence. Because everyone’s skin is different, what might be your friend’s favourite might not work for you. For someone with oily skin, you might want to go for toner and lightweight moisturizer that won’t introduce excess oil to your skin. But for someone with dry skin, you would have to do a lot more than apply a moisturizer. Also Read – Gua Sha Cannot Give You A Sharper Jawline: Common Misconceptions Debunked
Many skin care ingredients have been gaining a lot of buzz lately. While some products get the job done – some doesn’t seem to work at all. So, let’s find out if the most popular skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, AHAs, vitamin C, retinol and BHAs are worth the hype. Also Read – Popular Skin-Care Tools: Benefits of GuaSha and Face rollers
Are These Popular Skincare Ingredients Worth The Hype?
To help you navigate the skincare space, we asked Dr Apratim Goel, Director, Oladerm Skincare to weigh in on the pros and cons of skincare ingredients that have been receiving so much accolade. Let us find out what the dermatologist has to say. Also Read – What Do You Need To Know About Skin Purging
One of the most widely studied and used skincare ingredients, retinol is a vitamin A derivative that has been part of the skincare realm for decades. “The over-the-counter retinol comes in the form of serums, lotions and creams, whereas the pharmaceutical grade of this molecule must be used under the supervision of your doctor. Retinol helps with anti-ageing, reduce acne, clear blemishes and boost the skin’s collagen production. For young people, this ingredient can help with acne and blemishes. For older people, it can help reduce fine lines, wrinkles and promote skin rejuvenation. Overall, it is a molecule which can be used in all age groups” explained Dr Goel. However, she pointed out these points that you need to keep in mind before using it:
- Don’t use strong retinol without consulting your dermatologist
- Only use it at night
- Retinols can irritate the skin, so start using retinol with a low concentration
- They work well with hyaluronic acids
The expert explains that hyaluronic acid is a moisturizer scientifically proven to hold up to 1000 times more water than its weight. It is a great product that helps hydrate the skin and is suitable for all age groups. “However, there is a common misconception due to the word “acid” attached to it. But it is not an acid per se. It is a substance that is present in our joints, skin, eyes. Applying it on the skin cushions the joints, gives viscosity to the eyes and hydrates the skin.”
She explained that more than 50 per cent of hyaluronic acid is present in our skin, but it starts depleting with age. So, it is used as a supplement either applied to the skin or injected by a dermatologist. “It helps replenish the lost hyaluronic acid in your skin, which helps soften the skin and make it supple. It also hydrates the skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.”
Since there are so many forms of hyaluronic acid, it is complicated to pick the one that would suit you, so consult a doctor. Also, some tips to keep in mind:
- It can be used in the morning as well as at night
- If you plan to use it with retinol, cleanse your skin beginning with retinol and gently apply it on the skin. Give your skin two minutes to absorb the product, and then put the hyaluronic acid on top.
AHAs stands for alpha-hydroxy acids like mandelic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and glycolic acid. The two very popular and most used are lactic acid. While lactic acid is derived from milk, glycolic acid is derived from sugarcane. “In general, lactic acid is milder and less effective, but at the same time, it is less irritating on the skin. It is good for someone who has under-eye pigmentation like dark circles, or someone who wants to lighten their lips or underarms, or other private parts. You start with lactic acid, then gradually move to glycolic acid, which is primarily used for pigmentation and reducing signs of ageing,” Dr Goel opines.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid known to reduce acne and suitable for people with oily skin. “BHA is a younger molecule which helps with acne management and breakouts. The quality of BHA is fat-soluble, whereas AHA is water-soluble. It means that ingredients like salicylic acid penetrates the skin and reaches the oil glands to address the problem. Also, it is used in low concentration (1-2%) for acne, oily skin, breakouts, and in higher concentration, it works like a keratolytic, meaning it breaks down the skin. Depending on the concentration, salicylic acid changes its use. It is a great molecule.”
“Vitamin B is the most complicated vitamin as there B1, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12 and so on. Out of these, niacinamide is derived from vitamin B3, which is called niacin. Relatively, it is a newer molecule with a therapeutic percentage of up to 10 per cent but a lot of brands have it as 5 per cent. When it is applied as a gel, it helps control acne, hydrates the skin, binds moisture to the skin, clarifies the blemishes, prevents wrinkles.”
“Also, niacinamide goes well with a lot of other molecules like acne, it is combined with adapalene, for hydration, it is combined with hyaluronic acid. It is a very friendly vitamin that can be used in many indications, and it is not very expensive either, which is why it is preferred. While there is no direct relation between body niacin and topically applied niacinamide, it is good for those who wish to get clear skin and don’t want to go for a highly concentrated product. You can start using niacinamide with 5 per cent concentration,” she said.
Another very popular ingredient in the skincare realm is vitamin C. “It is non-toxic, water-soluble, unlike vitamin D. While it is effective and safe to use, it also happens to be a very delicate molecule. I wouldn’t recommend a person to use it during the daytime because it is photosensitive, but still, it is used in several day creams, so I am not sure if it is effective there. Secondly, vitamin C does not agree with many other vitamins or other topical products, so it is not something you can use with retinol or niacinamide. It is better to take it orally than use it topically. So, vitamin C is a molecule with reservation, so it is fantastic to use it with hydros, but it is better to consult a professional before you go for it,” she concludes.