Photo: skinjolie / Instagram
Getting your skincare game right is straight up confusing, with the myriad of that are so readily available, all professing to be the ONE to change your skin. Here’s our ultimate guide to the world of skincare ingredients, and which you should be using for your skin concerns.
Azelaic acid, coenzyme-Q10, AHAs, retinol, salicylic acid – it sure can be confusing trying to make sense of the different ingredients available in the beauty aisle, and deciding which are the right ones for your skin without the help of Google. These days, it almost feels as though you need a degree in chemistry to understand what’s going on in your serums and moisturisers! We know how daunting that can be, especially when you’re facing the prospect of dropping major bucks.
Which is why it’s crucial to understand which ingredients you should be looking out for, and exactly how they work to improve your skin. We tackle 3 top skin concerns in Singapore – oily, acne-prone and aging – in a 3-part guide and highlight the best ingredients to add to your regime for flawless skin.
Photo: allanaramaa / Instagram
From pesky whiteheads to deep, painful cystic acne, those who are acne-prone will know how difficult it is to manage and treat skin that breaks out frequently. Using the wrong ingredients can actually make breakouts worse, alongside a host of other issues like irritation, sensitivity and rashes.
While there are some star ingredients that can alleviate and treat acne, do consider visiting a dermatologist if off-the-counter products don’t seem to be making a difference after several months of use. You should also consider changing your diet and cutting out foods that are dairy-based as well.
Best ingredients for acne-prone skin
AHAs – alpha hydroxy acids are gentle chemical exfoliators that are super helpful for blemish-prone skin as it dissolves the upper layer of dead skin cells, which helps to reduce pigmentation caused by acne, treat and prevent clogged pores and allows your skin to better absorb other treatments. This includes acids like Lactic and Glycolic, which are easily found in over-the-counter products like First Aid Beauty Skin Lab AHA Resurfacing Liquid.
Photo: Paula's Choice
BHAs – another group of chemical exfoliators, think of beta-hydroxy acids as AHAs stronger cousin. Not only are they capable of getting rid of the top layer of skin, they can penetrate blocked pores and dissolve all the trapped gunk without causing irritation to your skin. The most popular BHA in skincare is salicylic acid, which you’ll find in many zit treatment gels or creams as it is also anti-inflammatory, which reduces the appearance of angry red pimples. If you want to include salicylic acid in your regime, opt for a leave-on treatment as opposed to those found in face washes, so it has more time to work. We like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid, a cult-status product that helps to treat existing acne while clearing the skin to prevent future breakouts.
Sulfur – the same ingredient that smells like rotten eggs is surprisingly really effective at treating your break outs. That’s because it is anti-bacterial and helps to destroy the acne-causing bacteria (P.acnes) that lives in your skin and causes you so much grief. Unlike the more commonly used benzoyl peroxide, sulfur is less drying and also has healing properties, so it may help to treat those annoying leftover scars and hyperpigmentation from old acne. Consider adding a sulfur-infused face cleanser to kick start your skincare routine, and follow up with spot treatments like fan favourite Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion to zap those zits.
Vitamin C – you should apply your vitamins and not just eat them! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from environmental aggressors, including the sun and pollution, 2 factors that have been proven to aggravate your skin. It also helps to quickly diminish those pesky, lingering dark spots post-pimple, resulting in an even skin tone and a healthy glow. We recommend opting for a serum for a concentrated dose of goodness.