Beauty: You need to know your chemicals!!!

When we go out to buy beauty products we are bombarded with ingredients that are often utterly confusing. For example, the first time I heard of hyaluronic acid I thought maybe acid is not something I want to put on my face.

To help make things clearer for those of you who, like me, do not have a chemistry degree I put together a list of ingredients and their meanings. So from now on you can look at the ingredients and have the information to make an informed choice.

Hyaluronic acid: This is a humectant, which means it attracts water so it's great at hydrating the skin. It also plumps the skin and softens wrinkles.

Bete hydroxy acids: In terms of skincare we are pretty much talking about salicylic acid, which is good for oily and blemish-prone skin. It gets right into pores and clears them out.

Antioxidants: They fight 'free radicals' (check out Leaving Cert chemistry to find out more about this), which can damage skin at cellular level. Vitamin E, C and A, are all great for fighting the free radicals.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAS): Exfoliating acids that can be naturally derived from fruit, milk or sugar cane. They remove dead skin cells, treat fine lines and wrinkles and brighten the complexion. Chemical peels have higher doses of AHAS.

Collagen: A protein for plumped-up skin, healthy hair and strong nails.

Parbens: Chemical preservatives that extend the lifespan of products.

Peptides: Protein molecules that make the skin react in a certain way, such as producing more good stuff like collagen.

Retional: An A vitamin that is scientifically proven to work against wrinkles, skin discolouration and acne.

Sodium laureth/laurel sulphate: Cheap foaming agents that are known to cause irritation and dryness.


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