Here we are, the third and final installment of my ingredients guide.
Are you finding yourself turning over your skincare products to reveal the ingredients lists? I hope so. And like I said before, don’t feel you should be able to decode those lists with perfect understanding, there is a reason why cosmetic chemists study for years, it’s a minefield! But hopefully you are able to pick out key ingredients and understand how they relate to your skin.
Let me guide you through U to Z:-
U- Urea. Now this sounds awful but stick with me. So yes, you may know that urea is a component of urine but synthetic versions are made for use in cosmetic products. Urea has two main skin benefits, firstly it is hydrating due to its water-binding abilities and secondly it has a gentle exfoliating effect on the skin. So this ingredient is particularly beneficial for dry, rough skin.
V- Vitamin E. OK, so I may have cheated here a little by using the word vitamin for V but I really think vitamin E deserves a mention as it's often overlooked for more talked about vitamins. This is a wonderful antioxidant found in our skin naturally but unfortunately sun exposure reduces the amount we have. So if you want to help reduce UV damage consider using a product with Vitamin E, not as a substitute for sunscreen but as well as sunscreen.
W- Willow Herb. This is a wildflower which has great soothing properties so has been used to treat skin irritations. It is also understood to have the ability to kill an acne causing bacteria so may also help with breakouts. So you don’t get caught out, on ingredients lists this may sometimes be referred to as ‘epilobium angustifolium’.
X- Xylitol. If you choose sweeteners over sugar, you may already be familiar with this ingredient. Xylitol occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. As a cosmetic ingredient it is known to help repair the skin's barrier. It is also thought to help boost hyaluronic acid levels and improve skin hydration. So all in all, a little power house!
Y- Yerba Mate. Following on from a natural sweetener, you may know this ingredient as a tea! It is found from a tree which is native to South America. It is thought to contain more than 24 different vitamins and minerals! Essentially as a cosmetic ingredient it is mostly recognised for its antioxidant benefits.
And last but not least……..
Z- Zinc Oxide. For all you avid sunscreen users, it’ll come as no surprise that I’ve included Zinc in this alphabet. It effectively provides protection against both UVA and UVB radiation and is often a favoured physical sunscreen filter for those with sensitive skin. You may notice it in other cosmetic products and medical treatments, this is because it has antimicrobial, antibacterial and skin healing properties. Zinc oxide really is a multi-tasker.
So that concludes this series! Try to use this as a stepping stone to further your knowledge. I hope that if, for example, a product claims to hydrate your skin, you’ll question how.
Until next time, stay safe all