A to Z of Skincare terms you need to know
A for Acids. Acids may sound scary but used correctly, they can be a skin’s best friend. Often derived from fruit, they can exfoliate better than the scrubbiest of scrubs, and give you the clear, beaming skin of your dreams by removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores and increasing cell turnover. Look for AHAs (glycolic, lactic and citric acids), for sun-damaged or dry skin, BHAs (such as salicylic) for oilier skin and enlarged pores, and PHAs (polyhydroxy), which are milder, for sensitive skin.
B for Botanicals ingredients derived from plants.
C for Collagen a protein that makes up approximately 80% of our skin, collagen gives our skin firmness and strength. Over time collagen breaks down, however certain ingredients can promote new collagen production in the skin.
D for Double Cleansing Double cleansing is a skincare must. Why? As women we’re often wearing makeup throughout the day, not to mention the build-up of environmental toxins we are subject to. The first cleanse (using a micellar water or deep cleansing oil) is to melt your makeup (and/or SPF). Essentially, it’s dealing with what’s on your skin, not the skin itself. The second cleanse is to make sure your skin is clean, balanced and comfortable.
E for Expiry Dates: Skincare, like most products we ingest or use topically, have an expiration date. Our skin is our largest living organ and what we put on it absorbs into your body so make sure to use your products before their best before date. This ensures that you are always using your products when they are at their freshest and most potent.
F for Free Radicals When talking skincare, free radicals refer to UV rays, pollution etc, that cause damage and degradation to the skin.
G for Glycolic Acid: An AHA derived from Sugar Cane which exfoliates the skin, smoothing out fine lines and uneven texture. Used commonly in anti-ageing and brightening products.
H for Hyaluronic Acid: Naturally-occurring in the body, hyaluronic acid is the stuff you should thank for hydrated, glowing skin. A single molecule of it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. It keeps things cushioned and plumped but, like collagen, naturally depletes over time. Serums containing the stuff can seriously quench parched skin, also helping to smooth away fine lines.
I for Inflammation. There are many different types of inflammation, whether it be from sun exposure, breakouts, skin sensitivity or even your showers being too hot, inflammation is your skins way of saying it needs some TLC. Confusingly, though, it can be a good thing, as post-treatment (laser or herbal peel) inflammation prompts the healing process and skin renewal. Either way, you’ll want to counteract with a restorative product or treatment.
J for Jojoba Oil an oil derived from an evergreen shrub used for its softening and hydrating properties. Said to be the oil that most closely resembles the skin’s own natural oils.
K for K-Beauty or Korean inspired beauty. Think sheet masks and under eye patches. While many of these products are quite gimmicky, they have inspired many of the reputable cosmeceutical brands to create their own, active versions of the popular products.
L for Lactic Acid an AHA derived from fermented milk, Lactic Acid exfoliates the skin to improve texture and clarity. It has a larger molecule size than glycolic acid so can be a less irritating alternative for sensitive skins.
M for Microneedling. Micro-needling or what we at face plus call Dermapen is a dermal treatment that uses a handheld device that vibrates while tiny needles work to gently pierce your pores. While, you can go deeper into the layers of the skin to attack acne scars, most people only require the needles to hit the epidermal layer. The needles create a ‘micro-wound’ response from your skin which prompts your cells to heal your skin by increasing collagen production to the area.
N for Natural: This is a tricky term that has no standard definition when it comes to skin care. Most commonly used to refer to products that are made mostly of plant-derived, non-synthetic ingredients. Just because something is deemed natural, doesn’t mean it isn’t tested on animals or certified organic, so learn to read and understand your labels.
O for Organic. Similar to ‘Natural products’ you need to be skeptical of products labelled organic. Organic should mean an ingredient that has been grown free of chemical pesticides. Read packaging carefully as organic does not necessarily mean that every ingredient is organic, or that the ingredients are certified organic.
P for Pre and Probiotic. We’ve known about balancing the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut for years but did you know there’s also the same stuff on our skin? Known as the ‘microbiome’ (or ‘microflora’) it’s a layer of minuscule micro-organisms living invisibly all over us, protecting and balancing what’s underneath. Probiotics help to strengthen the microbiome, prebiotics help to feed it. The goal of this kind of skincare is to soothe sensitivity, strengthen skin and keep the microbiome happy.
Q for Quercetin: This is another overall great ingredient and is found to be a good antioxidant and naturally anti-inflammatory. Quercetin has also shown healing and protective qualities, which makes it an essential in all skincare routines.
R for Retinol: Otherwise known as Vitamin A, retinol is one of the best ways to tackle fine lines and wrinkles by promoting skin renewal and collagen production. It can also help with irregular pigmentation and texture (those pesky pores). It can also, however, be quite aggressive causing irritation and sun sensitivity, so phase into your routine slowly and never skimp on the SPF.
S for SPF or Sun Protection Factor. SPF is an absolute must wear in Australia due to our harsh Australian sun. Even if it’s winter and overcast outside SPF should be worn all day, every day. At Face Plus we recommend a minimum of SPF 30. Even if you’re foundation or BB Cream has SPF in it, it’s best to mix in a separate one to ensure quality coverage.
T for Treatments: Great skin is the result of 3 important factors. 1. A healthy diet and lifestyle 2. A consistent and good quality skincare regime 3. Regular treatments by trained dermal therapists.
U for UVA & UVB UVA means Ultraviolet rays from the sun that cause premature ageing to the skin and UVB means rays that cause the skin to tan and burn.
V for vitamins: We all know vitamins are good for our body internally, but they also have amazing health benefits when applied topically.
Vitamin A Promotes the growth and repair of body tissues. Vitamin A is used commonly in anti-ageing products.
Vitamin C A key antioxidant which strengthens collagen synthesis and promotes radiant skin.
Vitamin E A powerful antioxidant that is essential for the body to protect it from free radicals. Vitamin E also has excellent conditioning properties.
W for Water: Water really is the easiest skincare miracle. It is the simplest way to give skin a boost, hydrating from within and flushing out toxins. If you find your topical products or treatments aren’t working effectively, stop and ask yourself are you keeping your body hydrated.
X for Xanthophyll. Commonly known as Lutein, Xanthophyll is an antioxidant and is therefore used in skin hydration products, especially ones that provide anti-ageing benefits. Despite its scientific name, Xanthophyll is a naturally occurring chemical found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.
Y for Ylang Ylang: This is an essential oil derived from the Cananga plant and is generally used as a fragrance for cosmetics. The use of the oil can range from enhancing your mood, to a natural energiser and preserving a youthful glow thanks to its moisturising properties.
Z for Zinc – A natural sun protector, acts as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Used in sunscreens and foundation (especially mineral makeup). Zinc has also been known to be beneficial for those with sensitive and acne prone skin.
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