Skincare Ingredients – What do they really mean?

Looking after your skin is a must but when you hear words like Hyaluronic Acid and Peptides, it can all become rather daunting. So what exactly do all these scientific words mean and which ones should you be looking out for? The skincare experts at Murad explain all…

Retinol is a popular ingredient in many anti-ageing products and one that you may already be familiar with. It is an active form of the vitamin A molecule and often described as an anti-ageing wonder ingredient.  It is a powerful exfoliant that encourages dead skin to shed and turn over younger, healthier cells. Using retinols can improve the firmness of skin, reverse the signs of sun and environmental damage, treat acne, reduce hyperpigmentation, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also increases the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid making skin look smooth, youthful and supple.

Hyaluronic Acid can sound scary but it is a naturally occurring and essential substance in the human body that regulates cell renewal, lubricates connective tissue and maintains the skin’s natural moisture and elasticity. When used topically, it creates a moisture barrier on the skin, making it feel smoother and softer.

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Ceramides are the glue that hold your cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and helps retain moisture. They are used to replenish the natural lipids that are lost from exposure to harsh environmental factors such as drying winds, sun damage and also during the ageing process. They restore moisture, fortify the skin’s natural barrier and help protect it against harm from foreign elements. Ceramides are also particularly effective in treating eczema and are great for your hair too, protecting and preventing breakages.

Peptides are segments of active proteins that communicate with cells and instruct them to behave in certain ways. Peptides are often used in anti-ageing products to encourage skin to produce collagen, reduce redness or signal muscles to relax reducing wrinkles.  Other peptides don’t actually stimulate your skin at all but are so small they are used to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin and deliver other ingredients.

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Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid are organic acids that act as exfoliants. AHA’s are derived from fruit and milk and include glycolic acid, lactic acid and malic acid among others. BHA refers to Salicylic Acid, which is derived from plants. While they both exfoliate, AHA are small molecules and penetrate deep down into pores removing dead skin cells, smoothing lines and wrinkles, refining pores and stimulating cell turnover. BHA’s are much larger and work the surface of the skin. The result is that they stay in the pore and continue to work, functioning to break down the build up that is responsible for enlarged pores, acne and inflammatory conditions.

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