The Skin Bible: Ingredient Investigation (Part 5)

SkinScience 1

Welcome back to my skin bible skincare series my lovelies. Firstly, I would like to give a HUGE thank you to all my new subscribers, readers and anyone who has promoted this blog. I am really proud of this series and hearing your feedback and love has made my little heart leap. This week and this series has been my most successful to date and I have no one to thank but you all! 

Now to the part of the series (and this blog) that I am most excited for. Investigating common ingredients within your skincare and really understanding what all those big chemically sounding words mean. As this is the most scientific and complex of post of the series I suggest if you are a new reader you venture back to Part 1. I have created this series to be like a skin care journey and have carefully thought out the order in which I have blogged each post.

Alpha-hydroxy acids are naturally occurring acids, derived from the sugars in particular plants. Some examples are Glycolic Acid (Sugar Cane), Lactic Acid (Milk), Tartaric Acid (Grapes), Citric Acid (Citrus Fruits), Malic Acid (Apples), and Mandelic Acid (Bitter Almonds). These acids work at the top of the epidermis dissolving the cement that holds the dead skin cells together. This increases cell turnover and influences the structure of new top layer of the epidermis being made. This results in skin that is more flexible, smooth and even in tone.

There is only one beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid, which is derived from willow bark and works mainly as an exfoliant. It causes the cells of the epidermis to become “unglued” allowing the dead skin cells to slough off, making room for regrowth of new skin. The main difference between alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid is their lipid solubility. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble only, while beta hydroxy acid is lipid (oil) soluble. This means that beta hydroxy acid is able to penetrate into the pore which contains sebum and exfoliate the dead skin cells that are built up inside the pore.

Because of this difference in properties, beta hydroxy acid is better used on oily skin with blackheads and whiteheads. Alpha hydroxy acids are better used on thickened, sun-damaged skin where breakouts are not a

Essential Oils
Essential oils have a long tradition of providing a variety of therapeutic benefits. Many of these traditionally known benefits have been confirmed through modern scientific research. The use of essential oils in a cosmetic can have an antiseptic and antimicrobial action, as well as a healing and soothing effect on the skin. Essential oils help the skin and hair detoxify, drain, heal and regenerate. They are readily absorbed through the skin and hair follicles and carried to all parts of the body, having an effect, which can last from a few hours to a few days.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C (this might be in your ingredients list as L-ascorbic acid) is one of the relatively few topical agents whose effectiveness against wrinkles and fine lines is backed by a fair amount of reliable scientific evidence. Potentially, vitamin C can benefit skin in two important ways. Firstly, it is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin. Adding vitamin C to a culture of skin cells (fibroblasts) dramatically increases the synthesis of collagen. Secondly, vitamin C is an antioxidant and can help reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. It can also be helpful in breaking down melanin “clumps’ in pigmentation.

Vitamin A (Retinoids)
Retinol is required for growth and reproduction of skin cells. It is one of the few substances with a small enough molecular structure to penetrate the outer layers of the skin and work to repair the lower layers of the skin where collagen and elastin reside. This allows it to repair and stimulate collagen and elastin, creating firmer, smoother skin. Retinol is among the few substances, according to dermatologists that have demonstrated the ability to reduce and prevent wrinkles and photo aging. Some carotenoids (the pigment in fruit and vegetables) serve as a source of vitamin A and double as antioxidants.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of the best known antioxidants found in the human body. Its key biological function is to protect lipids from free radical damage. Lipids are the building blocks of cell membranes and other important biochemical structures. Lipid-based entities are so vulnerable to oxidation that if left unprotected, they disintegrate in a matter of hours. The Vitamin E gives up one of its electrons to the electron deficient free radical, making it more stable. While Vitamin E performs its antioxidant functions, it also protects the other antioxidants from being oxidized. Vitamin E can be listed as alpha-tocopherol, tocopherols, tocotrienols, tocopheryl acetate on ingredient packaging.

Alpha Lipoic Acid 
Alpha lipoic acid is an essential fatty acid found naturally inside every cell in the body. It’s needed by the body to produce the energy for our body’s normal functions. Alpha lipoic acid plays an important role in helping our cells make energy. It is also an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory and it is unique because it functions in water and fat, unlike the more common antioxidants vitamins C and E.

Co Enzyme Q10
CoQ10 improves both the rate and efficiency of energy production in skin cells, and at the same time protects the cells from free radicals. In most people over thirty, levels of CoQ10 in the skin are below optimum, resulting in a lesser ability to produce collagen, elastin and other important skin molecules. Also, Co Q10 is a small molecule that can relatively easily penetrate into skin cells.

Vasoconstrictors (Vitamin K, Arbutin, Liquorice) 
Vasoconstrictors are any agents that cause a narrowing of the blood vessels. This means that they are useful in dealing with conditions such as redness, broken capillaries and under eye darkness as they minimise the appearance of blood near the surface of the skin.

GAGs or Glycoaminoglycans (Hyaluronic Acid, Glucosamine )
GAGs are found primarily in the dermis of the skin. The major purpose of GAGs is to defend against water loss, as they bind large quantities of water, up to 1000 times their volume. Studies show that GAGs, such as hyaluronic acid decrease with age and effects include decreased elasticity, and wrinkling.

Growth Factors
Growth factors are proteins that bind to receptors on the cell surface, with the primary result of activating cellular turnover or production. They can enhance wound healing, reduce wrinkling, increase epidermal thickness, and increase skin smoothness

Polyphenols (Green, White And Shiso Tea)
Polyphenols are a group of antioxidants that are extracted from the leaves or petals of plants. The most powerful polyphenol, called EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is abundant in Green Tea. Recent studies have linked EGCG to skin cell rejuvenation as well as having antioxidant, anti inflammatory, anti carcinogenic and photoprotective properties.

Peptides are one of the most recent advances in skincare ingredients. They are tiny particles that are able to penetrate through the top layers of the epidermis and deliver messages to the deeper levels of the skin. Each peptide type has a specific function that it is able to stimulate. Most of the peptides used in skincare are used to stimulate collagen production and improve cellular processes.

Melanin Inhibitors (Kojic Acid, Bearberry Extract, Vitamin C) 

To help prevent pigmentation, we need to use ingredeitns that are able to block and enzyme called tyronisase which is needed to produce melanin. By doing so, the skin’s melanin levels return to normal and you are less likely to develop darker skin patches.

Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6, Linoleic Acid, DMAE)

EFA are part of the top layer of skin (review your skin anatomy) and help maintain its suppleness and elasticity. These fats have long been known to be necessary for the body’s functioning, without them the skin loses moisture and becomes dry and hard. They cannot be produced from within the body and therefore must be delivered via diet or topical solutions. See, fats in your diet are necessary for beauty!

Calmatives (Calendula, Chamomile, Liquorice, Aloe)
Calmative ingredients are used to soothe and reduce inflammation in skin that is red or irritated. They are often of a plant based origin and have a long history of being used in skin preparations from many different cultures.

And voila. A list of major ingredients that are frequently hailed as being active within your skincare. They all have their place, but is it achieving what you want from your skin? I will let you be the judge. This is my final planned post for this series but if anything else pops up down the line I will add it in! I hope you enjoyed going in this journey as much as I enjoyed creating it for you. Let me know what you would like to see up next:

  • A haul of Sleek Cosmetics products
  • A review of some Napoleon Perdis products
  • A look into my holy grail skincare line, Himalya Herbals.

xox your local bohemian

7 thoughts on “The Skin Bible: Ingredient Investigation (Part 5)

  1. Entering for the Beauty Bay giveaway… this is my favourite post so far as it’s very informative. I’m very interested in ingredients in skincare and what they are doing for my skin, so I’d love to see from you some posts where you review products that contain particular ingredients and compare them to see what ones you found to be most effective.

    Keep up the fantastic work! x

    1. I love that idea! maybe i will continue it within my skin bible series and do a product review once a fortnight or monthly! Good luck with the giveaway and remember to share my blog around. It will only be drawn once i hit 300 subcribers and if people you sent comment letting me know you sent them I might just add a few extra entries in for you 🙂 xx

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