Cosmetics Ingredients: The Latest and Greatest

By on July 31, 2009, in Beauty Knowledge Center, Cosmetics

From allantoin, astaxanthin and argireline to wheat germ oil and white tea and back again, the ingredients in cosmetics and skincare products can be daunting at best, confusing most of the time and down-right stupefying on occasion. With the field of skincare products expanding fast, we wanted to help you understand why skincare ingredients are important and what to look for when buying anti-aging skincare products.
A number of factors determine whether a topical skin care product has the effect you desire. The best skincare products are the ones that have one or more active ingredients in an effective concentration. An active ingredient is one that creates the intended effect whether it be fight age or acne and beyond. The inactive ingredients shouldn’t interfere or counteract with the active ingredients and should maintain the product safety and deliver the benefit when used on the skin. An inactive ingredient is something that carries or holds the active ingredient.

Listed below are some ingredients that you might want to explore to see if they’re present in your current skincare products, or you can scan our glossary section for more detailed information. Most of these are used in our anti-aging, moisturizing and skin lightening products.

Argireline: works by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters that tell the skin to tighten. When applied to the skin, Argireline relaxes facial tension leading to the reduction in facial lines and wrinkles with regular use.

Matrixyl®: this ingredient stimulates collagen production in the skin and can even give some injection procedures a run for their money in the anti-wrinkle department. Matrixyl becomes even more effective when combined with other peptides. Matrixyl stimulates the “matrix” layers in the skin — primarily collagen and fibronectin. Loss of collagen is what leads to thinning skin and the wrinkling of skin. Matrixyl helps to counteract this natural part of the aging process, hence it is a key ingredient in some anti-aging creams.

Hyaluronic Filling Spheres: made of pure hyaluronic acid. Because of its sphere shape, it is used to penetrate and fill deep wrinkles that appear on foreheads, between eyebrows, on the corners of the mouth and on the cheeks of people who have been over-exposed to the sun.

Vitamin C: key ingredient in anti-aging products. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant.

Vitamin E: key ingredient in anti-aging products. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant.

Vitamin A: key ingredient in anti-aging products. Vitamin A increases skin exfoliation to help unclog pores.

Emblica: is the fruit of a deciduous tree that’s native to India and the Middle East. Due to high concentrations of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) it is considered a strong anti-oxidant, and when applied topically it can be considered an anti-aging product.

Retinol: the purest and most active form of Vitamin A, is a fat-soluble vitamin. It belongs to the family of chemical compounds known as retinoids, it penetrates deep into the skin, where it becomes fully operative. The skin cells have a receptor site that is very accepting of retinoic acid. However, retinol cannot communicate with a cell until it has been broken down into retinoic acid. Retinol has also been shown to stimulate new collagen production, which is critical in the battle against aging.

Ceramides : epidermal hydrating agent. Considered a natural lipid (fat) and a major component of skin structure. These fats allow skin to retain moisture. Moisturizers and other beauty products contain synthetic ceramides to replace those lost in the aging process.

Cyclic Acid: a term for Hyaluronic Acid, an effective humectant/moisturizing agent.

Hyaluronic Acid: also referred to as a “cyclic acid”; an effective humectant/moisturizing agent. Products containing this substance are often used in conjunction with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration. Hyaluronic acid (also known as a glycosaminoglycan) is often touted for its ability to “reverse” or stop aging. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the body’s connective tissues, and is known to cushion and lubricate. As you age, however, the forces of nature destroy hyaluronic acid. Skin care products with hyaluronic acid are most frequently used to treat wrinkled skin.

Kojic Acid: skin lightener, used to treat age spots.

Licorice Extract: skin lightener, used to treat age spots.

Liposomes: active ingredient delivery system; hollow spheres made from phospholipids (such as lecithin) that are up to 300 times smaller than skin cells. Liposomes are filled with active agents that are carried into the skin and then gradually released.

Sodium Hyaluronate: effective humectant related to Hyaluronic acid (salt form), works to moisturize the skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid(ALA): is one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidant and anti-inflamatory components. ALA boosts the energy production in your cells and helps the mitochondria portion of the cell change food to energy. The importance of ALA is hard to overstate, and because it’s almost non-existent in foods, supplementation is necessary. ALA improves the appearance of the skin’s resiliency, tone and texture. It decreases the appearance of large pores and scaring, evens the skin tone and reduces puffiness. Most important – it decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

DMAE: A naturally occurring substance, DMAE (dimethylaminoethenol) has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Found in human nerve tissue and certain types of seafood, DMAE is the precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), a chemical that stimulates nerve function and serves to help the muscles contract and tighten under the skin. As we age, we lose some of these neurotransmitters that help our skin muscles tighten which results in younger looking skin. Increase the levels of DMAE in your body and on your skin, and you’ll increase your muscle tone resulting in younger looking skin.