Clear skin is something that everyone longs for. There are aisles full of skincare products to prove it. There are so many choices that it can be daunting to pick the right one. What if you choose wrong and make your skin worse? Or what if that wrong choice causes permanent damage?
Knowing how to identify the right healthy ingredients for your skin is essential to making the correct skincare product choice. There are a few things that you will need to know in order to make the best and healthiest choice for your skin.
- What is your skin type?
- What ingredients are best for that skin type.
- Best natural ingredients.
- What ingredients to avoid.
This may seem like an overwhelming list that will provide you with more information than you can process but it isn’t. You probably already know a lot of this information and don’t even realize it. The biggest hurdle is knowing your skin type. A lot of people are actually unsure of this and it causes wrong choices in skincare.
What is My Skin Type?
The importance of knowing your skin type can not be overstated in any way. This is the very foundation of skincare. Many people may think that they know what their skin type is but are wrong because they have never consulted with a dermatologist or skin care professional.
There are five main skin types normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive. Taking the time to read on and learn more about these types of skin and the ingredients that are best for them will have you well on your way to healthy skin.
If you are unsure of your skin type or think that maybe you have it wrong and are causing issues with your skin, then it is a good idea to go see a dermatologist.
Understanding the three main skin types will be the first step to healthy and clear skin. This will also lead you to products that have healthy ingredients for your particular type of skin.
- Oily Skin is most commonly characterized by excess oil. This means that your skin is almost constantly shiny or greasy. If you don’t treat your oil skin appropriately and control the oil production then you will end up with unsightly clogged pores. Sometimes you will end up with terrible acne.
- Dry Skin is known by tight, dull, or flaky skin. This happens because the skin actually produces less oil than normal skin. Dry skin also has less elasticity so people with this skin type may see more fine lines and wrinkles.
- Sensitive Skin is most commonly known by skin that is prone to reactions to even the smallest things. They typically can not use anything with fragrance, color, or harsh ingredients. They likely suffered from acne or other skin conditions.
- Combination Skin is really just skin with certain areas that are oily and other areas that are dry. There may be different products that need to be used in different areas to have the healthiest skin possible. There are also certain products that are made specifically for combo skin.
- Normal Skin is just really well-balanced skin that can use almost any product as long as the ingredients are healthy and good for skin in general.
What if I don’t Know My Skin Type?
If you don’t know your skin type than your first step is to find out what it is. There are some skincare professionals that may be able to tell you such as an esthetician or dermatologist. You may also know just by really looking at your skin before you put any products on.
Most of the skin types can be obvious but for combination skin it may not be that clear. If you struggle to keep your skin moisturized than you might have dry skin if your skin is shiny most of the time it is likely that you have oily skin.
However, as stated before, the best and most certain way to know is to take a trip to your dermatologist.
What Ingredients are Best For Each Skin Type?
Know that we have covered the different types of skin, what to look for, and how to find out what your type is if you are unsure it is time to dive in and talk about ingredients. Each skin type will have certain ingredients that work best to tackle the specific challenges of that type.
Using a product with ingredients that are not right for your skin type will do your no favors so make sure you are looking at the ingredient label closely.
Beta Hydroxy Acid is one of the best ingredients to control oil production that comes with the oily skin type. This is especially useful if you do not have an acne problem as well. However, if you do have oil plus acne then a better ingredient for you would be salicylic acid. This ingredient works in the pores to loosen up the clog plus it is antibacterial.
If you are looking for a natural remedy for your oily skin type there are a few options that you can try. You can also look for products that have these ingredients already in them.
- Honey. What can’t honey do? This is nature’s universal remedy for almost anything. The way honey works for oily skin is because it is antibacterial, antiseptic, and a humectant. It keeps your skin moist without adding moisture.
- Tomatoes naturally contain salicylic acid and can absorb excess oils on the skin unclog those pesky pores.
- Oatmeal calms inflammation on the skin and it absorbs excess oil that oily skin types tend to produce.
- Almonds work in a similar way to the oatmeal. They are great for soaking up excess oils on the skin.
The best ingredients for dry skin are going to be ingredients that naturally moisturize the skin without clogging pores and creating a whole new problem. There are some ingredients that are better than others so make sure you are looking for these on the label.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the best ingredients for dry skin. However, these are safe, good, and pretty common. As long as they aren’t paired with the ingredients to be avoided, the product they are in should work for dry skin types.
- Rosehip oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Polyhydroxy acids
- Hyaluronic acids
Those with a sensitive skin type can use some of the same ingredients that those with a dry skin type use. But they have to be more careful. Ingredients for sensitive skin help reduce redness, treat acne related to that skin type, and are typically not harsh. When looking at the label of a product you are interested in, look for these ingredients.
Just like with the ingredient lists of the other skin types, this is not exhaustive but it is a very good place to start when choosing a product.
- Hyaluronic acid
- Lactic Acid
- Green tea extract
Combination skin can use a lot of the same products that are used for the other skin types. However, it is best to focus on salicylic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids. These don’t dry too much but take care of the issues from oily skin as well.
For normal skin the options are mostly endless. Even though you can use almost anything when you have a normal skin type it is best to focus on a few things. Using a gentle but effective cleanser twice a day will be the best thing you can do for your skin.
Toners are also very good for normal skin and using exfoliants that have either BHA or AHA will keep your skin healthy and glowing.
Are Natural Ingredients Best?
Everyone wants to go all-natural these days in an effort to stay away from harsh chemicals and other ingredients that could be harmful in the long run. But is it actually the best for your particular skin type?
There are plenty of people that actually have reactions to essential oils or other natural products so you need to consult a dermatologist and do what is best for your particular skin.
It is also important to know that the term “natural” and “organic” are not regulated when it comes to product claims and packaging. These can be marketing ploys to get your business but the products may not be safe or what is best for your skin. It is best to do your research before putting anything on your skin.
Most Popular Natural Ingredients
Right now there are natural ingredients that are very popular right now. They all have their advantages and uses but as we already said, don’t put anything on your skin without consulting with your doctor or skincare professional.
- Coconut Oil
- Grape Seed Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Rose Water
- Argan Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Ingredients to Avoid
Now we want to talk about the fact that there are ingredients that should be avoided all of the time. These ingredients are not good for any skin type at any time. Some of them can even cause harmful, long term side effects on your body, not just your skin.
If you are looking at a skincare product and any of these ingredients are listed then you might think about putting it back on the shelf. These ingredients are not healthy for your skin.
It is most important to avoid this specific ingredient especially if you have sensitive skin. However, even if you don’t have sensitive skin heavily fragranced skincare products can cause redness, irritation, and other reactions.
It is best practice to avoid added fragrances. If you like nice smelling face products then look for those that are scented naturally by safe ingredients.
While these are used to prevent bacterial growth in products, they are not safe in the long run. Parabens actually mimic estrogen and can cause problematic hormone imbalances that can have harmful longterm effects.
It is best to avoid this ingredient altogether because there is reason to believe that could be a cause of some types of breast cancer among women.
Sulfates are actually cleansing agents that are found not only in skincare products but also can be found in shampoos. While cleaning may sound like a good idea, and it is this particular cleanser is harsh and tends to strip the skin and hair of its natural oil. By doing this, sulfates cause unneeded irritation.
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasers
It is extremely uncommon to see this ingredient anymore in any products but it does still show its face from time to time. This ingredient is a known carcinogen which means there is proof that it causes cancer.
However, there are ways around not being able to use this ingredient in products. One way is by listing it under a different name. When reading a label make sure you look for the aliases of formaldehyde. It may show up as quanterium-15, DMDM hydantoin, diazolinge urea, imidazolidinge urea.
While these are not the exact formulation of formaldehyde, they do release formaldehyde over time as a preservative. Be aware of what is in the products you use.
Types of Ingredients
There are two types of ingredients:
- Coconut Oil: It is a popular oil used in many skin care products. The oil is highly beneficial for the skin. It helps minimize dead skin cells, protects from sunburns, and fortifies skin tissues. It’s also the best antibiotic to prevent bacteria, viruses, and fungi infections. Coconut oil can help treat skin diseases like dermatitis. This natural ingredient is great for healthy skin and hair.
- Tea Tree Oil: This natural plant-based ingredient is used to treat skin redness, inflammation, and breakouts. There is no known side-effects of using tea tree oil. It has antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Also, you can apply directly to the skin.
- Grape Seed Oil: This is made up of natural grape seeds. It contains antioxidants and linoleic acid, which help reduce acne while retaining skin moisture. The oil is non-comedogenic. That means it doesn’t clog the skin pores, and can be safely used on sensitive skin. It can help lighten dark circles and moisturize acne-prone skin. Grape seed oil can act as a good makeup base without residue, as well as minimize wrinkles and stretch marks.
- Rose Water: Rose water can calm and soothe your skin if you have acne or it’s inflamed. Rose water cleanses oily skin, as well as moisturizes dry skin. It is an anti-aging ingredient that rejuvenates, softens, and revitalizes mature skin. It helps return a natural glow. The antioxidants nourish the skin and protect you from bacterial infection and inflammation.
- Argan Oil: Argan oil is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin E. It prevents wrinkles, scarring, fine lines, stretch marks, and sunburn. It can also enhance skin elasticity and act as an effective cleanser, moisturizer, and skincare products.
- Sandalwood: It kills bacteria on the skin and prevents inflammation. It is used in many pimple creams. You can apply it with almond oil overnight to make your skin’s appearance better.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This contains acetic acid. It can be used to cleanse the skin and kills bacteria, fungi, and pathogens. It’s commonly used to treat acne. Did you know you can also consume apple cider vinegar? It helps your digestive tract and liver function, too.
- Sea Salt: These natural sea-borne crystals are full of minerals. It includes magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium. You can mix the crystals with honey and avocado as a facial scrub, and have an amazing antioxidant.
- Coffee Beans: Coffee beans offer a better source of antioxidants than green tea, and is used to create anti-aging creams that remove wrinkles and pigmentation.
- Bearberries: This fruit is a natural skin brightener. It contains tons of arbutin, which can treat dark spots on the skin. Choose this for a natural and safer ingredient than hydroquinone during pregnancy or nursing.
- Green Tea: The leaves of green tea can be applied over the face. It provides sun protection and helps in fighting aging. It contains polyphenols that are full of antioxidants. Green Tea can be used as a sunscreen.
- Oatmeal: It contains avenanthramides, i.e., an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. This ingredient also has starches and beta-glucans. You can mix oats with water, and make a soothing paste to apply on the skin. You can also bathe in it to help rashes and eczema. Colloidal oatmeal is comparatively more gentle and safe. It doesn’t cause allergies or irritation to the skin, and is safe on those with sensitive skin.
- Shea Butter: It has anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties. Shea butter is extracted from the shea tree and works as a moisturizer. It helps hydrate the skin because it contains fatty acids. It can treat eczema, rashes, and inflammation. The ingredient is safe to use for sensitive skin because it does not cause any allergies.
- Soy: A plant-based ingredient, it helps improve the production of collagen and removes pigmentation. It contains fatty acids, antioxidants, and isoflavones. The legume produces estrogens or phytoestrogens. These treat skin problems after menopause. After menopause, there is a decrease in skin brightness and turgor in women’s skin due to less estrogen. The ingredient also provides sun protection and removes pigmentation.
Skin Replenishing Ingredients
- Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs): Many skincare products contain alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic, tartaric, glycolic, and citric acids. The creams and gels help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, aging spots, and irregular pigmentation. There are certain side-effects of alpha-hydroxy acids like sun sensitivity and irritation. You can apply sunscreen to prevent burning.
- Polyhydroxy Acids: It has similar benefits as alpha-hydroxy acids, but it causes less burning, irritation, and stinging sensations. It is a better option for sensitive skin.
- Salicylic Acid (Beta-hydroxy Acid): This ingredient helps in removing dead skin. It can also improve the color and texture of sun-damaged skin. And it penetrates deeply in hair follicles to help treat acne. Many dermatologists choose this ingredient to help improve skin color and texture.
- Hydroquinone: It is the main ingredient in bleaching or lightening creams. This can treat problems like age spots, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots. You can combine it with sunscreen to prevent skin hyperpigmentation. Some people are quite allergic to the products containing hydroquinone.
- Kojic Acid: It is an excellent remedy to treat pigmentation and age spots. The Kojic acid extracts from fungus and is an effective lightening agent. The ingredient slows down the production of melanin. It can treat sunburn with its continuous use.
- Retinoids: It contains retinyl esters, retinal aldehyde, and retinol. The ingredient is effective in treating acne and scarring, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, skin tone, and color. It is used in many skin care products because it contains loads of Vitamin A.
- L-ascorbic Acid: This ingredient is a form of Vitamin C. It is helpful to treat wrinkles, sun exposure, and aging. It contains antioxidants that stimulate the production of collagen. Vitamin C acid is used to manufacture many creams that treat stinging or redness.
- Hyaluronic Acid: It is also known as Glycosaminoglycan. Hyaluronic acid is one of the components of the connective tissues of the body. It helps lubricate and hydrate skin. Smoking and an imbalanced diet can decrease the levels of acid with time. Use this ingredient to treat firmness and skin hydration levels.
- Copper Peptide: It promotes the production of elastin and collagen, and acts as an antioxidant and produces glycosaminoglycans. It benefits your skin tissues by making it firm and smooth, and removes damaged elastin and collagen from the skin.
- Alpha-lipoic Acid: It is a powerful antioxidant that can treat aging problems. It fights skin damage and repairs tissue. The ingredient is known as “Universal Antioxidant” due to its solubility in oil and water. It protects against damaging free radicals. Alpha-lipoic acid reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and gives your skin a healthy and bright glow.
- DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol): Our brain produces this natural substance. You can get it from salmon, anchovies, and sardines. It helps boost the levels of acetylcholine for proper mental health. Many creams are available with this ingredient to treat wrinkles and fine lines.
Ingredients to Avoid
Not everything is right for your skin. Our body has allergic reactions to some substances and ingredients. It is essential to understand your skin’s hydrating requirements. And while some things seem nutritional, they may not work best for your sensitive skin. Here are a few things to avoid to prevent irritation, allergies, redness, and other side-effects.
- Fragrance or Perfume: Highly-scented or fragrant products can cause skin irritations and allergies. It’s better to avoid using such products if you have sensitive skin.
- Sulfates: It is a common ingredient in shampoos, body washes, soaps, and other skincare products. It can extract natural oil from your hair and skin. Extreme dryness will lead to irritation, rashes, and much more.
- Parabens: Parabens are chemical preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria. Use paraben-free products to protect yourself from skin cancer and other harmful diseases.
- Formaldehyde and its Releasers: It is another ingredient used as a preservative. It’s a known carcinogen. It can cause severe skin allergies, dryness, and other problems.
Rules to Identify Fine Ingredients for the Skin
There are many ways to know whether your selected ingredients are good for your health or not. Some of the listed ways are:
Type of Skin
Ingredients vary according to the skin type. Sometimes, the product is right, but it does not suit a specific type of skin. If you have acne or sensitive skin, then make sure you use ingredients recommended by dermatologists.
- Oily Skin: These skin products have alpha hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. They are effective enough to control the excess production of sebum and provide hydration to the required areas.
- Dry Skin: You can use skincare products that contain lactic acid and shea butter. It gives sufficient hydration and moisturizes your skin to make it radiant.
- Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin can be reactive. Choose products wisely and look for ingredients such as shea butter, oatmeal, and aloe vera.
Don’t Buy A Product Based on Popularity
Don’t be fooled by attractive packaging or popularity. It is necessary to understand your skin and what is right for it.
Whenever you buy any product, check the list of ingredients. Ensure you’re not allergic to any in the product. Confirm the use of skincare products with your dermatologist.
Not All Natural Ingredients are Good
Many people try home remedies to treat their skin problems. While the internet is full of ideas and remedies, not everything is suitable for skin health. Some natural ingredients can cause redness, allergies, irritation, and more.
If you have a problem, ask an expert or speak with a doctor if you have a strong reaction.
Look for the List of Ingredients in a Product
Knowing which ingredients are good and bad for your skin health helps you easily recognize them. Glance over the ingredients in a skincare product.
Don’t Worry About Long Lists of Ingredients
Consider all the ingredients listed. Even a single ingredient with adverse effects can damage your skin quality. Don’t compromise.
We always miss a crucial patch test whenever we use any skincare product. Do a patch test before applying a new product all over to determine an allergic reaction.
Now it is time to put your new-found knowledge into practice and choose the skincare products that are right for your particular skin type. While we can’t tell you what to purchase, we have given you a wealth of information about what is healthy for the different types of skin.
Know what ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid are a great foundation when it comes to taking care of your skin. Don’t fall for the hype of a pretty label or a trendy product if it isn’t going to be good for your skin or contains harmful ingredients.
The most important thing is to know your specific skin type and the healthy ingredients that will keep it healthy and glowing for many years to come.