The fashion and beauty magazines are full of articles about “cosmeceuticals,” a new kind of skincare product that they say provides clinically proven improvements for a host of skin conditions, from aging to long term exposure to the sun. But what exactly are cosmeceuticals? Do they really work? And how do you know which kind of cosmeceutical is right for your skincare needs?
ACosmeceutical, first of all, is a formulation that combines the aesthetic benefits of cosmetics with safe and effective skin care ingredients. And yes, they really are effective at improving a host of skin conditions, including those caused by exposure to the sun and aging. Cosmeceuticals comprise five basic categories: antioxidants, retinoids, lightening agents, hydroxy acids and botanicals. Being familiar with each is the best way to choose which is best for you.
Antioxidants – Vitamin C, Vitamin E and NiacinamideYou know what happens when metal oxidizes – it rusts. Something similar happens to skin as it ages – it’s subject to oxidation from exposure to the sun and environmental pollutants. That’s why using skincare products with antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Niacinamide is so beneficial. Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant but is important in collagen production and as a lightening agent. Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant, is also known for its photoprotective properties; its ability to protect against UV damage has been the subject of numerous studies. In addition, Vitamin E works well with skin that has been Recently shaved or has been exposed to sun. The use of Vitamin E to treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis means that it is also a great ingredient to include in a skincare product.
retinoids – Reinaldehyde, Esters, Retinoic AcidBecause of its strength and versatility, retinoic acid is the standard by which all other cosmeceuticals are measured. Retinoic Acid is derived from Vitamin A. You can find a variety of retinoids in most health food stores. They are applied to the face in a form that feels soft and smooth. Two of the more common forms are creams and peel creams. While it is beneficial for all skin types, especially for acne, it is best to use products specially formulated for use on acne prone skin. Retinoic Acid is also found in high quality, organic cosmetics.
Lightening Agents – Hydroquinone, Azelaic Acid, Kojic Acid, Vitamin COne of the biggest trends in the beauty industry today is the use of lightening agents. For years, consumers have been turning to products like hydroquinone and Azelaic Acid to lighten their skin to a lighter shade. However, several studies conducted over the past few years have shown that these two agents are actually harmful when applied to the skin. Vitamin C, however, has been proven to be highly effective when applied topically.
Now, however, there a new range of lightening agents available which are designed specially for a variety of skin types. These agents are developed by a thriving skin care research and manufacturing industry.
The Lightening Creams
The most popular of these new agents are called “lightening creams”. These are topical creams that you can apply to your skin. Once the cream is applied, it stays on your skin for up to five hours. During that time, the ingredients in the cream will work to slowly break down and peel off the thin surface layer of skin on your face.
The effect is a very natural one. The ingredients are designed to treat your skin with natural instead of toxic chemicals.
Instead of using a chemical to break down your skin, you use a natural skin lightening agent to break down the thin, dead layer of skin on your face.
The result is a more beautiful complexion, and you’ll soon notice that the dark spots under your eyes are much less noticeable.
How do these lightening creams work?
The creams contain natural ingredients that your skin produces naturally. Ever heard of your mother’s milk, sheep placenta or cupping mud? This is the stuff that they use to lighten the skin in the first place.
Even if your skin doesn’t produce it, the cream still acts as a skin lightening agent. It removes the extra melanin which naturally occurs on your skin after the age of 20.
The cream also acts as a moisturizer. It will help replenish the nutrients your skin once had. Therefore, it is wise to invest in a cream that includes ingredients such as avocado oil, high quality sunflower oil or jojoba wax.