3 Tips for Selecting Quality Skin Care
Welcome to this week's skin care Wednesday! I'm not a chemist or scientist, but I love researching skin care products, ingredients, and treatments. This week I am providing 3 tips on how to evaluate skin care products that are worth the investment. Because good skin = great makeup.
Tip #1: Air-Tight Packaging
Air-tight packaging will always be best for skin care products for a few reasons. This type of packaging preserves the efficiency of skin care ingredients, ensuring they perform properly. Some ingredients are more unstable than others and will break down after exposure to heat, light or air--making them ineffective for skin care needs.
Take Vitamin C for example. This is an excellent skin care ingredient that provides many benefits for many skin types and concerns. However, Vitamin C will break down if not packaged properly. If Vitamin C is placed in jar packaging for instance, the vitamin will break down as the jar opens and closes--exposing the formula to air over time. Once Vitamin C breaks down, it can no longer interact with the skin the way it is intended, which means it will no longer work. No skin brightening, lightening, or tightening, just bank breaking.
Is airtight packaging absolutely necessary for every skin care product in a routine? No. Cleansers, facial oils, body products, and even some moisturizers do not necessarily need airtight packaging. Only formulas containing certain active ingredients should be packaged in airtight containers. In most routines, this would include most (or all) treatment serums since these products often contain active ingredients. With that being said, airtight packaging is also more sanitary than other packaging options. Have you ever done a biology test to see what's REALLY under fingernails? Let me break it down for you: NASTY STUFF!
The purpose of investing in quality skin care is for results that can be seen and felt. And if skin care products can not produce results simply because it is not packaged properly, it is not worth the investment. This is why air-tight packaging is generally the best. With airtight packaging, you can always rely on the ingredients to remain effective and the formula to remain clean.
TIP #2: Fragrance Free
There is lots of research demonstrating that fragrance is damaging for the skin. It is the leading cause of most skin irritations or bad reactions. This includes essential oils, or ingredients that have "natural" fragrance in them. While not everyone is sensitive to fragrant oils and additives in skin care products, just because there is no visible irritation does not mean it is good for skin health. Effects from fragrance do not always appear right away. Overtime, heavy amounts of fragrance in skin care can contribute to premature again such as the development of fine lines and loss of elasticity.
Fragrance can also damage the skin barrier and prevent other ingredients from properly absorbing.
So what is the purpose of putting fragrance in skin care products if they carry no benefit to restore skin health? Because if a skin care product smells nice, it will sell. Most skin care ingredients in their natural state do not smell very good. So companies will put fragrance in products to mask stinky skin care ingredients. And it's understandable that it's more pleasant to apply a product that smells good than one that doesn't. So it is safe to apply a product with very minimal fragrance (read tip #3 to learn more about this). Although, in general, it is always best to avoid it.
Tip #3: Review the Top Ten
Ingredients determine if a formula will be effective. There are many ingredients with research proving they provide visible benefits to the skin, both short term and long term. THESE are the ingredients you want to see in the top ten listed on your skin care products. All skin care products list their ingredients in descending order based on quantity--the same is true for food labels. So if a product is promising to provide anti-aging or acne-fighting benefits, the active ingredients that provide those particular results should be found within the first 10 ingredients listed on those products. Because the more of those active ingredients that products contain, the skin will be able to properly absorb and use those ingredients to restore skin health.
Companies that claim to have discovered unusual ingredient(s) that provide "cure all" or monumental benefits not seen in familiar skin care ingredients, are not always trust worthy. Often the only research proving the benefits of these unique ingredients is created by the skin care company promoting that product. Most likely, those results are skewed in favor of the ingredient and the skin care company.
So look for products with tried and true, proven results. Some of these ingredients would include: hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycol acid, vitamin C, peptides, niacinimide, and many more. Products that include these ingredients in the top 10 of their formulas, are most likely to be trusted and provide visible improvements.