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Beauty 101
Answering The Most Googled Skincare Questions
Chloe Song Beauty Expert
Answering The Most Googled Skincare Questions
  1. What is the correct order to do your skincare routine?

In general, products are best applied in increasing order of thickness. If you’re just starting out in the skincare game, keep it simple by using a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen in the morning and a cleanser and moisturizer at night. For dry skin types, a face oil or hydrating serum can be included. For acne-prone skin, a retinoid or topical acne medication is a reasonable addition. It is important to take note of avoiding using too many products that might cause irritation. 
  1. What does Vitamin C do for your skin?

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant and one of the few skincare ingredients that has been proven to help in the battle against skin ageing. It neutralises free radicals and helps your body repair damaged cells. It encourages collagen production, helps protect skin against damage from the environment and can improve pigmentation caused by sun damage and scarring."

  1. What skin care is best for pregnancy?

There is a lot of information out there about what is safe and what isn’t for pregnant and nursing people, but the simple answer is that retinol/retinoids, hydroquinone, and chemical sunscreens (avobenzone, oxybenzone, PABA, etc.) are the ingredients you should absolutely avoid. 

Safe ingredients for pregnancy:

“azelaic acid, glycolic acid in low concentrations (5-10 percent), benzoyl peroxide (technically pregnancy category C, but agreed to be safe among most derms when used in a limited concentration, like 2.5-5 percent), salicylic acid (also technically pregnancy category C, but most agree is safe in low concentrations of 2 percent, as is often found in cleansers), sulfur, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, mineral sunscreens (zinc oxide/titanium dioxide).” Make sure to always talk to your doctor about which ingredients you should avoid.

  1. What is an example of a nighttime skincare routine?

First off, your nighttime skincare routine doesn’t need 10 steps to be effective. A strong nighttime skincare routine will include a good cleanser, a treatment 1-2 times a week, a serum, and a moisturizer. 

  1. Should you wash your face before or after a shower?

Could washing your face in the shower be causing dry skin? It is recommended to wash your face after a shower: the steam from warm water allows pores to enlarge, which means they’re better prepped for receiving the skincare you’re about to apply.

  1. What does toner do?

The ways toners have been used in the past are not necessarily the way we see them on the market now. You’ll likely remember products like Sea Breeze or astringents you swiped across your skin as a teenager. They were used to remove excess oil from the skin, sometimes using drying ingredients like alcohol. But toners have gotten a makeover as of late and can contain a variety of ingredients to moisture, soothe, brighten, and more. 

  1. What does Hyaluronic Acid do?

Hyaluronic acid is a common agent used in skincare which functions as a humectant – it has the ability to bind 1,000 times its own weight in water. Humectants are key in maintaining skin hydration; they act by attracting and chemically binding water in the skin. They have the ability to temporarily plump the skin and improve fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid belongs to a group of compounds known as glycosaminoglycans, and also forms part of the skin’s framework. It is essentially a very large sugar molecule with a gel-like consistency. Its purpose in skin is to keep it soft, plump and hydrated. Hyaluronic acid is a popular constituent in skincare due to its moisturising properties; it can also be injected into, or under, the skin in the form of dermal fillers.

  1. What does Glycolic Acid do?

Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and has important skin-lightening effects. It comes in varying strengths and there are multiple over-the-counter creams, cleansers and toners, usually containing 4–10 percent glycolic acid; these include Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner, Vichy Idealia Peeling, Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser and Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash.

Glycolic acid can also be used as a medical-grade chemical peel, only available in clinics, in higher concentrations of 30–70 percent. It should ideally be started at low concentrations and built up to avoid skin irritation, particularly in pigmented skin. Glycolic acid works well in combination with hydroquinone as the acid enhances hydroquinone penetration through the skin layers.

  1. What does Lactic Acid do?

Lactic Acid is a hydrating exfoliating acid. It's really good for sensitive skin types.

  1. How to get rid of acne?

Acne involves the pilosebaceous unit of the skin. This consists of a hair follicle and its associated sebaceous or oil gland. Blockage or inflammation of the pilosebaceous units will result in acne. Oil glands are found in highest density on the face, back and chest and these are therefore the commonest sites of acne development.

Most of us will try to manage our spots with products available over the counter rather than go straight to a dermatologist. Using the right types of formulations and ingredients is key.

Firstly, stay away from using facial oils, cleansers and thick creamy textures in products. Stick to light or gel-like formulations. Ideally the product should be labelled as ‘non- comedogenic’; whilst this is not a guarantee the product will not make you break out, it is better than a product that is not labelled at all! Look for ingredients such as: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, zinc, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, niacinamide, lactobionic acid, retinol, retinyl palmitate.

If these products fail to control acne after a few weeks of use, it is time to seek advice from either your family doctor or dermatologist.

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