It seems like every month a new "it" ingredient is being touted as the latest and greatest ingredient. Red algae, brown algae, pentapeptide, tripeptide, oligopeptide, plant leaf extract, plant flower extract, and plant stem cells- the list of bioactive ingredients goes on and on. But just like a classic LBD there are some ingredients that will never go out of style. Although an ABC routine is simple and basic, the benefits from these ingredients are anything but basic.
If you ask a dermatologist to name the gold standard for skin rejuvenation, nine out of ten would say retinol and for good reason! In the early 1980’s All Trans Retinoic Acid (ATRA) was shown to reduce signs of photoaging (premature aging due to overexposure to sunlight) by reducing rough and scaly patches, evening out skin tone, increasing collagen synthesis, and increasing skin cell turnover.
Retinol is a close cousin to retinoic acid; it’s commonly used in skin care because it performs the same. However, retinol does have its drawbacks. It can be irritating and extremely drying; it’s notoriously unstable and turns brown once exposed to the air. Luckily, chemists have figured out ways around these issues and while not as glamorous as some of the newer ingredients, it is one of the best available to make your skin look more youthful.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Later in the 1980’s, AHAs first hit the skin care scene courtesy of doctors Van Scott and Yu who discovered the anti-aging effects of these wonder acids. AHAs are naturally occurring in various fruits and vegetables. Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, and Malic Acid are the AHAs that we tend to use the most in skin care. AHAs penetrate the top layers of the skin and sloughs of old skin cells that have been battered and abused by the environment (sunlight, pollution, dry/cold air), biology (acne, hormonal changes, getting older) and by ourselves (smoking, not wearing sunscreen). When the new cells are uncovered, your skin will be smoother and softer, your skin tone will appear more even, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will be reduced.
B, Vitamin (3)
Vitamin B3, niacin aka nicotinic acid or niacinamide hasn’t been studied as long as the other vitamins. However, the studies that have been done show that, when used at high enough levels, vitamin B3 can help even out your skin tone, in particular, reducing the yellowing often associated with aged skin. While why it works isn’t one hundred percent clear; no one is disputing that it does indeed work!
L-Ascorbic acid is another ingredient that has been well documented as effective for reversing the signs of photoaging. Beyond being an antioxidant, Vitamin C has been shown to help regulate collagen production and promote proper collagen orientation (neatly bundled as opposed to scattered around in complete disarray). It also helps redistribute melanin in the skin to reduce build up in one spot resulting in even skin tone. Finer furrows and a reduction of lines and deep wrinkles are other benefits of L-Ascorbic Acid.
Similar to vitamin A, vitamin C in the acid form oxidizes rapidly turning your white cream brown in a matter of days. There are several other forms of vitamin C that are more stable in the skin care product but less efficacious than the acid. Ascorbyl palmitate is commonly used but in most cases will not give you the results of ascorbic acid. A stable and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is an oil based cousin of vitamin C and is actually very effective.
Back to Basics- ABCs of Skin Care
By Ni'Kita Wilson
Overwhelmed by all of the latest and greatest advanced in technology in skincare? The basics may not be new but they still work...