Skin Care Words You May Not Know

If you often read skin care articles or books or try new skin care products, you might feel a little confused on all of the dermatology language. Here are some of the most common skin care words defined so next time you visit your dermatologist or peruse the beauty store, you know what you’re talking about.

1. In one of my previous skin care articles, I talked about acids that are helpful for your skin. Two of them are AHA and BHA. These are acids that help you fight against acne, are anti-aging, help exfoliate and in general are great for your skin. Just make sure to test a small area of your skin if you start using a product with acid to see if it irritates your skin. This is especially helpful if you have very sensitive skin.

2. A very common word in skin care and health care is antioxidants. You’ve probably heard it a million times, but do you really know what it means? Antioxidants are the cure against free radicals. Free radicals are tiny chemical particles in the environment that cause aging or even cancer when activated by UV light. They can also cause wrinkles and discoloration in the skin. Antioxidants protect cells from this damage. They can be found in vitamins or foods that help your body get rid of free radicals. Antioxidants also can come in products that you apply on your skin to help protect your skin from damage.

3. A few common skin words you might want to know are barrier function, collagen and elastin. A barrier function refers to the skin’s barrier (the epidermis or the top layer of skin). Its goal is to keep water in, so that your skin is hydrated, moisturized and healthy. Collagen is what keeps us from looking older, getting wrinkles and is the most important structural protein found in the skin. Elastin works closely with collagen to keep your skin from sagging.

4. Lastly, we have enzyme and peptide. These both have to do with proteins. Enzymes are proteins that speed up a chemical reaction but are not consumed in the chemical reaction. In your skin, enzymes are great for exfoliation, reducing inflammation and aging. Peptides are the building blocks of proteins. They are a main ingredient in cosmetics because they penetrate the skin easily.

Why You Don’t Have the Skin You Want

If your daily skin routine still gives you less than desirable results, even after many changes, you might still be doing things that work against your skin. Genetics can be to blame, but you also might be doing something you don’t realize isn’t working for your skin. Here are some reasons you might have skin woes right now and how to fix them:

1. You might be using too many drying products if you have acne. If you have a pimple or breakout that needs treating, just treat those pimples, not your entire face. If you apply harsh products all over your face, it just causes your skin to become dry and try to overproduce oil to compensate, thus creating more acne. Use drying products only on the areas that really need it.

2. You’re not removing your makeup enough or at all. If you wash your face and still have makeup remnants on your towel every night, you need to remove your makeup in a better way. Use a makeup removing cleanser or toner at night from your hairline to your neck to make sure to remove all of your makeup. You might want to wipe it off first and then cleanse your face as normal to make sure everything is gone. If you leave any old makeup on your face overnight, it could clog your pores and lead to acne.

3. Do you use retinol? If not, start today! If you have wrinkles or acne or both, you need some retinol in your daily routine. It will help you minimize wrinkles, clear your pores, keep your skin’s texture smooth and brighten your skin tone. If you’re worried that retinols exfoliate too much, retinols are much less irritating these days and you can find one for sensitive skin if needed.

4. You exfoliate too much or not enough. If you over-exfoliate, you will wear down your skin’s protective layer and make your face very dry. If you never exfoliate, you are letting dead skin cells build up and will lead to a dull complexion and your products won’t work as well because they won’t get to the skin. Exfoliate one to three times a week, depending on your skin type.

5. You’re eating too much junk food. You truly are what you eat. If you eat junk day after day your skin will start to show it. If you get a lot of acne, this is especially important. Try cutting back on dairy and sugar to see more flawless skin.

Are you guilty of any of these reasons your skin might not be flawless right now?