To help you get started, I will review a list of a few active ingredients and what they do for your skin:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): Fruit acids, most common form is Glycolic acid. Excellent exfoliant that helps refine the texture and appearance of the skin by loosening those top layers of dead skin cells and increasing cell turnover. New cells look better and brighter than old, dull, dead cells.
Benzoyl Peroxide: The most common medication to treat acne. Significantly decreases the bacteria in the skin that cause acne. Also reduces the fats and oils in the skin and helps to shed the top layers of dead cells.
Hydroquinone: “Bleaching” cream that blocks the formation of melanin in the skin. More accurately called a depigmenting product. These actually stop the natural melanin in your skin from being able to turn into brown spots when activated by the sun and it fades and in some cases erases the brown spots that are already there. The pigment will return when the product is stopped.
Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin): Vitamin A acid. Wonder drug for skin that improves fine and coarse wrinkling, helps fade age spots, leaves the skin feel smoother, and increases the production of collagen and elastin fibers.
Salicylic Acid: Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) softens the skin and promotes shedding of the top dead skin cell layers. Helpful in treating acne for those that are sensitive or allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide.
Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) and Zinc Oxide (ZnO): Physical sunscreens. Both are highly reflective white powders that act as barriers to reflect and scatter the sun’s radiation. A good SPF should contain at least one of these ingredients.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Increases the production of collagen and offers protection from free radicals. Must be in topical form, taken orally Vitamin C will not reach the skin.
Remember that skin care is not a perfect science. We each have distinct body chemistry; what works for your sister may not work for you. Use this basic knowledge to choose products wisely. Give them at least 2 weeks of dedicated use to work their magic before moving on for another try. It may take a little trial and error but armed with this information you can be sure you are making the best decisions to combat your targeted problem. If you think you have tried it all and are just too flustered to go on, please don’t give up! Come and see one of our Sōna consultants for a free customized skin evaluation. We can help get you on the right track to realizing your most beautiful skin.
Beth Storey (RN, BSN, MEP-c)
Clinical Director, Sōna MedSpa - Houston