Decoding the A, B, Cs of skincare

Skincare ingredients can be overwhelming and confusing to understand, but they play a crucial role in the effectiveness of skincare products. Alyssa discusses the benefits and uses of different ingredients, as well as how to properly incorporate them into your skincare routine.
Decoding the A, B, Cs of skincare - French Beauty Co.

When it comes to building a skincare routine, the different types of active ingredients available can make choosing products overwhelming. Which ingredient helps with the appearance of fine lines? What should I be using to treat inflammation? Which active ingredient helps to brighten pigmentation? 

Understanding the functions of active ingredients allows you to select products that will work to treat any specific skincare concern you may have. The truth is, it doesn’t need to be complicated, it can be as simple as knowing your A, B and Cs.

A: Vitamin A derivatives which include retinol and retinaldehyde in cosmeceutical formulations:

  • Improve skin cell-turnover
  • Help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen
  • Improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation
  • Improve skin texture and tone
  • Unclog pores and prevent breakouts

How much Retinol should your skincare product contain? 0.01 to 1%

B: Vitamin B3, also known as Niacinamide:

  • Soothes and reduces the appearance of redness and inflammation
  • Reduces the appearance of congestion and blemishes
  • Improves skin barrier function 
  • Hydrates the skin 
  • Supports the production of ceramides in the skin

How much Niacinamide should your skincare product contain? 1 to 12%

Provitamin B5, also known as Panthenol: 

  • Protects the skin barrier
  • Helps the skin retain moisture 
  • Reduces irritation and sensitivity
  • Has an overall calming effect on the skin barrier

How much Provitamin B5 should your skincare product contain? 1 to 5%

C: Vitamin C, which comes in many forms, the purest form being Ascorbic Acid which:

  • Brightens and hydrates the skin 
  • Helps prevent and reduce hyperpigmentation 
  • Is a potent antioxidant which protects the skin against free radical damage and sun damage
  • Promotes collagen production

How much L-Ascorbic Acid should your skincare product contain? 5 to 20%

Hyaluronic acid, the holy grail hydrating active ingredient: 

  • Acts as a humectant to hydrate the skin
  • When it is applied topically it binds to water, plumping the skin and improving the appearance of fine lines instantly. 
  • Works best when it is applied to damp skin

Ceramides and peptides also play an important role in promoting healthy and happy skin. Ceremides increase hydration, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help to restore and support the skin barrier. Using ceramides in combination with retinol can help counteract the dryness and sensitivity that can result from retinol use. 

A serum or moisturiser that contains peptides can help support the production of skin specific proteins like collagen and elastin, as well as hydrating and promoting skin healing. Peptides may be less irritating than retinol, so may be an option for those who have sensitive skin and may not tolerate retinol. 

Creating a personalised skincare routine is all about understanding the role each active ingredient plays in supporting your skin health. Next time you are selecting products to treat your skincare concerns, remember your A, B and Cs. 

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