Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Beauty Uncovered


Demystifying the beauty industry one word at a time

Beauty buzz words tend to get bandied around on product descriptions rather haphazardly. Brands claim to have discovered and harnessed xyz miracle technologies but do you actually know what they mean?

Hopefully this post will help you learn the ABCs of beauty and keep you top of the class.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): These are exfoliating acids that can be derived naturally, mostly from fruit and milk, or created synthetically. They are the more sophisticated older sister of traditional exfoliators, where you can tangibly feel the beads or particles.  AHAs make your skin softer and smoother, removing dead skin cells without the harsh scrubbing often associated with exfoliating. They are also known to treat fine lines and wrinkles as well as lightening dark spots on your skin. They can be found everywhere from cleansers to serums to moisturizers. One of the most commonly used AHAs in Glycolic Acid. Professionals claim that products need to contain at least 10% of the acid to be effective. 

Good For: Anti ageing benefits, acne, and getting rid of lack lustre skin.

Best on the Market: Acne Treatment Pads from Cane and Austin £48. Can be purchased at Space NK

AHAs can cause sun sensitivity so make sure to layer up the sunscreen!

Antioxidants: Antioxidants fight against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that occur naturally when the body uses oxygen, but can damage skin at a cellular level, speeding up the aging process. Free radicals can also come from exposure to sun, smoke, and stress. The most common antioxidants used are Vitamin A, E and C, and their purpose is to enhance the immune system and improve the texture and appearance of the skin. Antioxidants can also be found in food generally the brighter the food the more powerful the antioxidant. 

Good For: Everyone! The most important step in skincare is prevention!

Best on The Market: Blueberry Water Booster, Dr Brandt, £30 (Currently on sale in Space NK for £15!)

Beta hydroxy acids: BHAs generally refers to salicylic acid. If you’ve oily or blemish prone skin, salicylic acid is the one for you. It’s an exfoliating agent with a smaller molecule size than alpha hydroxys, making it perfect for getting right into pores and clearing them out. 

Good For: Clearing out blocked pores and saying ca la vie to white heads and black heads

Best on The Market: Biore, Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, £4.99

Collagen: A type of protein that’s essential for plumped up skin, healthy hair and strong nails.   It’s created naturally in the body but we can supplement our natural reserves by applying it topically in our skincare or by taking it in supplements. Collagen is not just a concern for the older ladies it is vital for keeping our locks luscious. If you are trying, and struggling, to grow your hair give some extra collagen a try!

Good For: Anti ageing and promoting healthy hair and strong nails

Best on the Market: Schwarzkopf Extra Care Hair Repair Line, prices vary 

Hyaluronic Acid: Is the IT ingredient of the moment. It occurs naturally in the body and helps retain moisture in the skin. It attracts water, making it great at hydrating the skin, but more importantly it can plump the skin and soften wrinkles. 

Good For: Anti Ageing and blurring imperfections

Best on the Market: My own personal Holy Grail, By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder £41. From Space NK

Keratin: Keratin is a protein found naturally in your hair. It can fill in gaps in the hair cuticle that are cracked, dry, or damaged. 

Good For: Repairing dry or damaged hair

Best on the Market: Keratese, Elixir Ultime £34.50. From most Salons

Parabens: Are chemical preservatives that extend the lifespan of your products. The jurys out on whether or not they are a good or bad thing, but if you are someone who doesn't wear makeup that often and finds that your products last you ages a preservative to make them last longer is most probably a good thing!

Retinoids: Retinol is vitamin A an anti-aging ingredient that has been clinically proven to work against wrinkles, skin discolouration and acne. Check the dosage on products before you buy, you need quite a high percentage for it to be most effective, and creams take on average 12 weeks to work before you'll see results.

Good For: Acne or Wrinkles

Best on the Market: Philosophy, Help Me, £38. From select Boots, Harrods and Selfridges

UVA: UVA rays are constantly present, no matter the weather. so if you think you can't get sun damage in Britain think again. UVA rays are responsible for the signs of aging because they are able to penetrate much deeper into the surface of the skin, damaging the cells beneath. Think sun spots, leathery skin and and wrinkles. 
UVB: UVB Rays are the ones responsible for sunburn. Unlike UVA rays, these aren't always the same strength year round, they are at there strongest in the summer months. UVB rays are responsible for causing most skin cancers. 
Best Protection: Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 £24
Make sure to apply SPF every day every season, it should be one of the most important steps in your skin care routine, remember prevention is the name of the game!

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