Skincare Terminology Explained ♥

It seems strange to talk about skincare as a trend but it seems like everyone is talking about it! Which is a good thing because skin is so important! When your skin feels good you feel healthy and when your skin looks good you glow with confidence.

There are also so many new brands, every new one offering something a little bit different to the next. Then there is so much new skincare terminology to learn! So here is a little guide to some of the skincare terminology you may come across when trying to figure out what your skincare routine should be.

SPF – let’s start with the all important SPF! SPF stands for sun protection factor and it is all about how much protection a product will give you from UVB. Broad spectrum SPF products will also protect you from UVA rays which go deeper into the skin and they are the rays to do with ageing (just remember UVA for ageing and UVB for burning) I’ve spoken about the importance of SPF for anti ageing in this post here. Generally though, you should wear SPF everyday (yes even in the UK and in Winter!) Between October to March in the UK you can usually get away with using a product such as a primer, foundation or moisturiser that already has SPF in it. However from March on wards you need that extra layer of SPF to protect your skin even if you are not out in the sun. These rays penetrate through glass so sitting near windows or driving also means these rays are ageing and damaging your skin. Vitamin D is good for you but so is SPF! Use it everyday without fail as the last thing you put on your face before makeup.

AHAs – AHAs are alpha hydroxy acids used for chemical exfoliation but really not as scary as they sound! They basically dissolve bonds between skin cells to remove dead skin cells giving you smoother skin. The most common forms you may have heard of are glycolic acid and lactic acid. You can find AHAs in face washes, moisturisers and serums and they are safe to use. Introduce them to your skincare routine a couple of times a week and be sure to wear SPF to protect your skin. The products dissolve bonds between skin cells to remove dead skin cells is good but this also means it is easier for harmful UVA and UVB rays to penetrate so SPF is a must!

Glycolic Acid – as mentioned before glycolic acid is a type of AHA. It’s a good form of liquid exfoliant often called an acid toner. These products dissolve the top layer of the skin helping to blur out acne scarring and pigmentation. Over time, they can even help to prevent breakouts. It’s not really an acid to shy away from but introduce it into your skincare routine gradually and of course use SPF!

BHAs – are another type of liquid exfoliator suited better to those with oily skin as they penetrate the pores dissolving sebum and dead skin cells which can lead to breakouts. Using AHAs and BHAs together alternating between the two will really help to tackle clogged pores and sun damage with a double-pronged attack.

Salicylic Acid – is a common type of BHA with anti-inflammatory properties which works well for calming redness and angry spots. It works really well on blackheads and whiteheads so if you feel them brewing, dab on some salicylic acid. Just as I mentioned for BHAs though, it is better suited to oily skin rather than dry skin.

Retinol – this is a form of Vitamin A and huge for anti-ageing. Retinol helps to treat acne but also helps to prevent wrinkles, fades dark spots and brightens dull skin. Retinol speeds up skin cell turnover causing our body to produce fresh new skin cells quicker, almost like tricking your body to think it is younger than it is. It can take time to see results, probably over a few months and it is advised to introduce retinol into your skincare routine gradually, at night and followed with an SPF the next morning. Also don’t layer retinol, AHAs and BHAs, it is best to alternate these products rather than use them as an overnight cocktail.

Vitamin C – Vitamin is good for your overall health and wellbeing in general but it also has many skin benefits too. Generally Vitamin C is great for hydration and brightening your skin, it is an active ingredient and it is best to gradually introduce it to your skincare routine. I personally start breaking out if I use highly concentrated Vitamin C products everyday so I stick to once a week only. However Vitamin C is a great antioxidant for your skin and helps to boost collagen. It is best not to use Vitamin C with Vitamin A (Retinol) as they can counteract each other causing your skin irritation in the process so alternate and use on different days or wait at least 30 minutes between each product.

Hyaluronic Acid – is actually a natural component of the skin also known as HA. It is said to hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water molecules so it is great for hydration. As we get older the hyaluronic acid levels in our skin decreases so therefore people use synthetic products which are still very helpful for absorbing moisture and keeping skin hydrated. Even though it’s an acid it is actually gentle enough to use every day and even twice a day for all skin types. Dry and dehydrated skin will notice the benefits a lot more but it is definitely a must for all skin types!

Micellar Water – this is basically a cleanser which has molecules that attract dirt and oil making it easier to remove these from your face. Many regular cleansers penetrate deeper into your skin getting to the pores but micellar water stays on the surface. Those will oily or sensitive skin may not agree with micellar water as it can leave a residue on the skin (meaning you need to double cleanse!) It is recommended that you use micellar water to remove heavy makeup and then wash your face or use salicylic acid to ensure to residue is left on your skin.

CBD – comes from the cannabis sativa plant and is short for cannabidiol. It does not make you high and it has become so popular over the last year or so. It has anti-inflammation properties as well as vitamins A, D and E along with essential fatty acids. It seems to be the answer for everything at the moment from anxiety to anti-ageing!

So hopefully now you feel like you are a little more in the know when it comes to skincare terminology and jargon! I will be doing a post soon on exactly how to layer your skincare especially as there a few of the products I have mentioned above which cannot really be used together or on the same days. It is almost like you need a skincare timetable rather than a skincare routine! If you have any tips to add or any questions please just comment below. Please be sure to follow me on Instagram (where most of my product review are now) and Twitter for instant updates that go beyond the blog. Also be sure to subscribe to the blog here, so you are the first to know about new posts ♥

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