7 popular skincare ingredients according to a dermatologist

Let’s face it: there are a lot of buzzwords when it comes to beauty. So if you don’t have time to dig into some of the ingredients you see on the label, you might get confused by what they all do.

Thankfully, Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor in dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, stopped by at the 3rd hour of TODAY to clear it all up. From retinol to prebiotics and probiotics, Nussbaum explained the purpose of some of today’s most popular skincare ingredients, as well as ways to use them in your own beauty routine.

Whether you’ve just discovered hyaluronic acid or it has a permanent place in your beauty routine, keep reading for a crash course in the beauty terms you’ll want to know.

What are popular skincare ingredients?

CeraVe Retinol Resurfacing Serum

What it is: Retinol is a form of vitamin A that Nussbaum says is a “must have for anti-aging” as well as acne-prone skin. It works by increasing skin cell turnover and also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin and can therefore help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as create a smoother complexion and texture. more even skin with regular use. Nussbaum says it might take three to six months to see a difference.

How to use it: To be on the safe side, Nussbaum said pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t use retinol. Despite its benefits, retinol is the skincare ingredient notorious for irritation, so those who can use it should start by using it every other night, on a low potency. After two weeks she says you can start using it every night and after three months increase the potency. To reduce irritation, use it with a moisturizer at night. Nussbaum also says daylight and sunlight can break it down.

Farmacy 10% Niacinamide Night Mask

What it is: Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that’s an “incredible catch-all after vitamin C” that’s great for hydration, according to Nussbaum. Plus, it helps calm inflammation and reduce redness, transepidermal water loss, hyperpigmentation, and the appearance of pores, she says. Since it promotes the production of ceramides in the skin, it also increases skin hydration and firmness while preventing oxidative stress which can accelerate aging. It can also help fight acne because it regulates sebum production, she adds.

How to use it: If you’re already using a vitamin C serum, Nussbaum says you probably don’t need to use the ingredient. However, if you want to incorporate it into your skincare routine, you can start by using it alone in the morning or in a moisturizer. Nussbaum says this overnight mask from Farmacy is an easier option because it eliminates the hassle of multiple steps and only needs to be used two to three times a week.

L’Oréal Paris 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

What it is: Hyaluronic acid is a natural glycosaminoglycan (biomolecule) found in the connective tissues of our body that helps plump and hydrate the skin. It works as a humectant, which means it draws water into the skin (it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water) and makes the skin more supple, firm and plump, which also helps reduce oiliness. appearance of fine lines, Nussbaum said.

How to use it: Nussbaum says this ingredient is great to use in the morning and at night. When applied in the morning, it helps plump up fine lines on your face. At night, she said it helps repair your skin.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

What it is: Glycolic acid is a water-soluble alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is made from sugar. It’s the smallest of the AHA molecules and therefore “penetrates the best,” Nussbaum says. Its small size helps it dissolve the bonds that hold skin cells together, thereby increasing the rate of skin cell turnover and brightening the skin. The ingredient also triggers the production of collagen, which improves skin firmness, thickness and elasticity, she added. Those with acne-prone skin might also appreciate that it helps keep pores clean.

How to use it: Although it can be found in many different forms, Nussbaum recommends using it as a cleanser because it neutralizes itself when you wash it off.

All-in-one gel with collagen and astaxanthin DHC

What it is: This “extremely powerful antioxidant” (Nussbaum says some studies have found it even more potent than vitamin C) is also known as a carotenoid, which gives it that bright red-orange color also found in carrots, salmon and tomatoes. It’s naturally produced by plants, algae and bacteria and works to protect your skin from free radical and sun damage – which Nussbaum says break down collagen, elastin and can trigger skin cancer – by improving DNA repair capacity, hydration, texture and elasticity. It also has benefits for your immune system, as astaxanthin increases immunoglobulins that help fight viruses and “even possibly melanoma,” she said.

How to use it: Although Nussbaum added that the ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties and may be good for sensitive skin, it is very powerful. Since it’s also relatively new in skincare, Nussbaum advises using it in the morning and sticking to retinol application at night.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Moisturizing Balm

What it is: The microbiome has become a hot topic in skincare. Protecting your microbiome helps balance your skin’s pH and also protects the skin barrier, she said. Prebiotics help feed the “good” bacteria living on the skin and discourage the growth of harmful bacteria, according to Nussbaum. How to use: Nussbaum recommends this body moisturizer if you want to incorporate prebiotics into your skincare routine. It is formulated with the brand’s prebiotic thermal water and can be applied daily to clean skin.

Biossance Squalane + Moisturizing Probiotic Gel

What it is: On the other hand, probiotics (which are live bacteria) help the skin fight irritation and inflammation by upregulating the skin’s immunity, Nussbaum said. They also boost ceramides and protect the skin’s lipid bilayer, which helps reduce skin conditions such as eczema, dryness, acne, and UV damage. The more bacteria we have, the healthier our skin is, Nussbaum added.

How to use it: This moisturizer is one way to incorporate probiotics into your skincare routine, according to Nussbaum. It can be applied morning and night to your face and neck, and can be used alone or under oils if you want to lock in more moisture, depending on the brand.

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