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                  Peering At The Pores 
What's In Our Skincare Products?

Article by Jess Kew
Health Gazette

There's a bewildering array of skincare products on the market, so how much do you know about what's in them? Health Gazette takes a close look at the most common ingredients found in these treatments.

When it comes to skincare products, we're spoilt for choice. To pick something that suits your needs, you need to be informed about some of the most popular substances that are contained in these products.


(1) Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects and heals skin by neutralising free radicals (oxidants), which can cause premature aging of skin. It's oil-soluble, moisturizing and suitable for all skin types. It's especially beneficial for those with dry, sensitive and blemished skin. Vitamin E is found in a large variety of cosmetics products, as well as sunscreens.

(2) Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that is capable of preventing and even reversing the effects of aging on human skin. Topically applied, a high dose of Vitamin C can help prevent and treat dry skin problems. An unstable compound, only Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid can be used by the skin.

(3) Vitamin K

Vitamin K is traditionally used by surgeons to aid blood clotting. Cosmetically, it is used to encourage fading of scars, plus to brighten and clarify skin tone. Often found in eye care products, Vitamin K can reduce the appearance of surface capillaries and dark circles under the eyes.

(4) Vitamin A (Retinol)

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that accelerates skin regeneration and results in a more radiant complexion. It's often used in products that aim to minimize pore size and reduce wrinkles. It's also frequently found in anti-acne and dermatitits preparations. Another unstable ingredient, it should be kept from overexposure to sunlight and air.


(1) Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHAs are acids derived from plants and fruits. Products with AHAs are marketed for a variety of purposes: to smooth fine lines and surface wrinkles, to improve skin texture and tone, to unblock and cleanse pores, and to improve oily skin or acne. The most common AHAs used in cosmetics products are glycolic acid and lactic acid.

Some studies have shown that products with AHAs may make users more sensitive to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation component of sunlight, which can damage the skin. Therefore, if you use products with AHAs, it's a good idea to protect your skin with sunscreen.

(2) Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

Like AHAs, BHAs are simple organic acids, though they are somewhat different in structure and mode of action. Besides possessing the qualities of AHAs, the most commonly used form of BHAs, which is salicylic acid, is especially effective for treating acne.

As with AHAs, you should apply sunscreen if you regularly use products containing BHAs.


(1) Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is found in a plethora of cosmetics products, and has been used for centuries as a natural medicine for cuts, burns, sunburn and dry skin. It also possesses moisturzing properties. Fresh gel derived from the Aloe Vera plant is the best form of this compound.

(2) Collagen

Collagen is a primary protein component found in skin that acts as a support structure for the skin. Collagen that is used in cosmetics is derived from animal and plant sources, and aims to firm up slack and saggy skin. It is often found in products that claim to promote 'taut' skin, and in anti-wrinkle preparations.

(3) Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil is obtained from the Australian Tea Tree. A member of the Eucalyptus family, it has a very characteristic fragrance. Used as a fungicide, a bactericide, as well as a solvent, this oil is found in many anti-acne and blemish removal preparations. It is also used in natural skin infection treatments.

(4) Dead Sea Salts

Derived from the Dead Sea, which is actually a lake bordered in the north by the Jordan River, dead sea salts are touted to provide relief from psoriasis symptoms such as itching, burning, flakiness and muscle and joint aches. They are also  purported to stimulate circulation and encourage skin renewal. They are often found in exfoliation, bath and shower products.
















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