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How many of you take the time to analyze the ingredients list and formulation of your skincare products? When shopping for skincare, results and seeing a difference is often the desired goal. Choosing the right products for your skin goes beyond reading the claims and the product description. If you spend the time reading reviews or watching beauty videos, you’ll probably come across people talking about the ‘active ingredients and ‘formulation’ that make up the skin care product itself. What exactly do these terms mean and why are they equally important when it comes to product efficacy?
Let’s break it down!
WHAT ARE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS IN SKINCARE PRODUCTS?
In short, an active ingredient is a chemical compound in the product that is used to target a specific skin concern. They are often referred to as the “superstars” of the product. Active ingredients in most skincare products must be proven through research and testing to be effective and provide changes to the skin over time. For example, if you’re looking for a cleanser that is claimed to help treat acne, more often than not you’ll be looking for Salicylic Acid as an active ingredient to target that specific skin concern. Whereas if you’re looking for a serum to help tackle dehydration as a skin concern, you’ll want to look for Hyaluronic Acid as an active ingredient to provide hydration and lock in moisture for the skin.
Here are some common active ingredient examples that you might have come across that could help target specific skin concerns:
Acne: Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, Vitamin A/Retinoids, Niacinamide
Pigmentation: Retinoids, Vitamin C, Arbutin, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Kojic Acid
Rosacea& Sensitive Skin: Niacinamide, Azelaic Acid,Sulfur
Aging: Retinoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid, AHAs
Dehydration: Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, Squalene, Ceramides, Glycerin
Now, we must note that active ingredients and their percentage strengths are very important, but it goes far beyond this –because the formulation of the product matters just as much.
WHAT IS FORMULATION IN SKINCARE AND WHY IS IT EQUALLY IMPORTANT?
A formulation of a skincare product is the combination of specific active ingredients and inactive and supporting ingredients along with different types of molecular weight and percentage strengths that work together to create the desired product. The formulation affects product absorption, stability and therefore efficacy and results. Don’t overlook inactive ingredients, they serve their purposes too! If active ingredients are the superstars of the product, inactive ingredients are the co-stars, and you need both to complete a movie. One important purpose of inactive ingredients is to enhance penetration and drive the actives to where they need to be in our skin, whether it be the epidermis or dermis.
Other functions include:
The formulation affects product penetration and results. For example, for a Hyaluronic Acid serum to deliver instant as well as long-lasting results, you need to look at the formulation of the product and not just the percentage of HA. The serum needs to be formulated with a combination of molecular weights. The low & medium-weight molecules can penetrate much deeper into the layers under the surface of your skin while the high-weight molecules keep your skin hydrated on the surface.
In summary, it is critical to know that both the ingredients list and the formulation of the product are equally important when it comes to choosing skincare that will work effectively for your skin. Have any questions or concerns regarding your daily skincare products? We are here to help. Here at GMA, we understand that every skin is different so we conduct a comprehensive skin assessment to determine an appropriate skincare regime that works for the individual patient. So, please don’t hesitate to contact us to book a complimentary skin assessment and consultation. You should always feel confident and empowered in the skincare products you’re putting on your skin.