When it comes to successful skincare, it all comes down the active ingredients. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. I choose professional brands in the clinic because those brands have been formulated with the correct percentage of actives to have not just an effect on the skin, but also take care of the skin, nourish and reduce inflammation. Taking care of the skin all comes down to reducing inflammation at the end of the day. So bare in mind ‘stronger’ is not better.
Deciphering Active Ingredients
Active ingredients are not created equal. The average consumer does not realize there is more than one version of ingredients. The most basic example is Vitamin C. For example you have L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl phosphate and kakadu plum (to name just a few). These are three vastly different versions but still Vitamin C. So when a client says to me ‘oh I have a Vitamin C serum already’ I always ask which one and explain the difference of the ingredient I am prescribing.
Trying to navigate this minefield of active ingredients as a consumer is almost impossible unless you have a degree in cosmetic chemistry and about a decade’s experience. Its not as simple as ‘going natural’ and looking out for a few choice ingredients. As a skin therapist it’s my job to match the correct products with the correct ingredients to your skin condition. If, as a consumer, you feel like you need to know more about how a product is formulated in detail, you will need to speak to the company directly. Because salons only on-sell products and (most) don’t make our own we can only help so far with deciphering every preservative and ingredient. When consumers want to know details about formulation for natural and/or environmental reasons they really need to speak to the brand and the formulator. Not because the therapist doesn’t know enough, but because we didn’t make the product and it’s not our job to know beyond active ingredients and reading labels to identify anything that might trigger a clients allergies. For example I have clients allergic to lavender and some preservatives.
When it comes to choosing the right active ingredients for your skin I would always recommend getting professional advice (just because your friend is using a 1% retinol serum, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you). But if you want a quick guide here’s my advice:
Serums are where it’s at. If you need to correct a skin condition or add more water hydration (which is pretty much everyone) you need to be using a serum under your moisturiser. A moisturiser alone just doesn’t cut it.
- For hydration when thick moisturisers aren’t working there’s ceramide boosters and hyaluronic acid serums.
- Dull, sun damaged skin needs vitamin c.
- For on trend skincare, and a healthy glow you need probiotics.
- To simply age well make sure your day cream has spf 30.
Overall make sure your skincare is nourishing and hydrating enough. Hydrated skin functions and heals better. This applies to acne and oily skin as well.
If you’re confused about what you need I am always happy to have a chat in the clinic and direct you to the correct products that you need. You don’t need to book a facial to talk about skincare and the correct active ingredients for you.