It can be difficult to decipher the long list of ingredients on a skincare product to figure out which is best for your skin type. While many people simply purchase products with a cult following, it’s important to choose products that you know will work specifically with your skin. Here are five tips on how to choose the best skincare products for your needs.
1. Find Out Your Skin Type
The first step in choosing the right products for your skin type is determining your skin type. According to dermatologists, skin type is the most important factor in learning which products will agree with you. There are four main skin types:
For those with oily skin, opt for products containing benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids, which include salicylic and glycolic acid. Oily skin is caused by excess sebum production, and these ingredients have been shown to be effective at controlling the production of this waxy substance.
If you have dry skin, try looking for products that contain lactic acid and shea butter. Lactic acid increases the skin’s natural moisture, while shea butter can create plumper, softer and more hydrated skin. You may recognize shea butter as a lip balm ingredient, where it effectively treats dry and chapped lips.
If you find that your skin is sensitive and breaks out easily, go for products that contain aloe vera and oatmeal. These ingredients are great moisturizers and very rarely irritate the skin. In fact, aloe vera’s antifungal properties make it effective in soothing itchiness, redness and infection.
Many people have combination skin, in which their face contains both dry and oily areas. Hyaluronic acid is a great option for these individuals because it works at both ends of the spectrum, hydrating the skin while also smoothing the appearance of fine lines.
2. Know Which Ingredients to Look for and Avoid
When choosing a skincare product, there are certain ingredients that should always be present, while others should raise red flags. Dermatologists agree that glycerin is considered the backbone of moisturizing products and should therefore always be present. In addition, hyaluronic acid should be included in serums, while ceramides should be included in lotions and creams. These ingredients are moisturizing agents that are naturally found in the skin.
While vitamin C isn’t necessary, it’s a great addition to your skincare routine. This ingredient, especially the l-ascorbic form, is an antioxidant that reverses damage caused by UV radiation and stimulates collagen production, which can smooth the appearance of fine lines and give your skin a plumper appearance. Retinol is another important ingredient to seek out, as it aids in cell turnover and collagen production, especially when used as part of your nighttime routine.
On the other hand, there are several commonly-used skincare ingredients that you should always avoid. Fragrance, also known as parfum, is an unnecessary ingredient that has been shown to cause irritation and skin allergies, especially in those with sensitive skin. In addition, parabens are often included in skincare products as a preservative to prevent bacteria from growing. However, parabens have been shown to disrupt hormone production due to their estrogen-mimicking ability, which can decrease fertility and harm reproductive organs. This ingredient is especially problematic for those at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
3. Pay Attention to the Order of Ingredients
Once you know which ingredients to look for and avoid, you should also take into account the order of these ingredients. A good rule is to pay close attention to the first five ingredients, as these typically make up about 80% of the product.
Because the ingredients are listed in order of high to low concentration, you can determine whether a certain product is right for your skin type based on the sequence. For example, if you have oily skin and are looking for a cleanser with salicylic acid, you would want the ingredient to be near the top of the list. If important ingredients are listed at the end, then your skin won’t reap its benefits. Similarly, steer clear of products that list parabens or fragrances near the top of the list.
4. Do a Patch Test
Before incorporating a new skincare product into your daily regimen, you should always do a patch test. This involves applying a small amount of product to your face and waiting to see if it agrees with your skin. If it doesn’t, you’ll likely notice redness, irritation or itching within about 72 hours. Therefore, it’s important to be patient throughout the process.
Although you’ll probably want to apply the product to your entire face, doing a patch test will save you money in the long run. It’s also important that you don’t try multiple new skincare products at once, as this can make it more difficult to determine which product is irritating your skin.
5. Don’t Follow the Crowd
While you may be tempted to buy a new skincare product that you saw your favorite influencer advertising on your Instagram feed, it’s important to do your research and not always buy into the hype. Skincare products work differently on various skin types, so you shouldn’t blindly purchase a product just because all of your friends love it. Be sure to take advantage of online resources, such as the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which provides detailed information on thousands of skincare ingredients, including their toxicity, potential for allergic reaction and popular products that contain such ingredients.
Keep in mind that just because a product is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s the right product for your skin type. It’s always best to carefully read the ingredients list in order to make a well-informed decision about the products you’re putting on your skin.
While trying to find the best products for your skin can sometimes feel overwhelming, there are plenty of resources to help you out along your journey. Following these five tips can help you find the ideal skincare routine that’ll leave you with smooth, radiant skin.