What are Active Ingredients?
Actives are natural ingredients that have been scientifically proven to change the structure of your skin at a cellular level. They’re the ingredients that work to repair, rejuvenate, hydrate, protect and nourish cells.
“Actives” may sound a bit intimidating, but all they are science-backed ingredients that can do wonders for the skin. Vitamins A, B, C, AHAs, and BHAs are the most common ones that appear in a variety of popular skincare products.
Actives are functional ingredients designed to help you address concerns or proactively maintain skin health at a cellular level.
Here are the Most Common Actives
Vitamin A is known mostly on store shelves as Retinol, Retinal, Retinoid, and Retinaldehyde.
While each of these forms of Vitamin A differ slightly, these are all antioxidants that work to increase cell turnover, smooth fine lines, fight wrinkles, and treat acne.
Vitamin B, also known as niacinamide, has grown in popularity recently for its versatility and calming effect on the skin. When used on its own, niacinamide brightens dull skin, fades dark spots, and controls oil production in the pores.
Vitamin C is known for increasing collagen and elastin production in the dermal layer in the skin, as well as brightening skin at the surface. Vitamin C, like Vitamin A, is an antioxidant that helps to fight off the free radicals and environmental pollutants that our skin gets exposed to during the day.
AHAs & BHAs
AHA, also known as alpha-hydroxy acid, refers to a class of water-soluble chemical exfoliants that slough dead skin build up away right at the surface, resulting in a more even complexion. Because AHAs function right at the surface of the skin, these acids also help to prevent blackheads and whiteheads.
BHA, also known as beta-hydroxy acid, differs from AHA, in that this group of chemical exfoliants is lipid-soluble. This difference in solubility allows BHAs to penetrate deeper into the pores to kill acne causing bacteria and treat clogged pores more directly than a preventative AHA can.
Why You Might be Causing More Damage to Your Skin
When it comes to skin care, it’s easy to go overboard.
Skin often prefers the less is more approach - even more so when using products that contain active ingredients.
As an example, although Vitamin A has been widely studied as a hero ingredient for warding off acne and signs of aging, it does come with a few side effects. First, this active has been known to have a drying effect on the skin. It can also be somewhat irritating and has been shown to increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.
You need to take precautions when using actives as your skin’s sensitivity is heightened. Photosensitivity is a type of reaction the skin experiences when exposed to sunlight.
If you don’t wear an SPF every day you may end up causing sun damage & pigmentation
What is Pigmentation?
"Pigmentation or Hyperpigmentation’ is a common skin condition in which patches of skin are darker than the surrounding skin, "It occurs when certain cells in the skin called melanocytes produce too much of the pigment called melanin. Think of hyperpigmentation as an umbrella term for many types of discoloration, including spots from sun exposure, acne scarring, inflammation and more. It typically appears as dark patches or spots that leave the skin with an uneven tone
To avoid the risk of creating pigmentation to your skin you need to make SPF your new best friend!
How to Practice Sun Protection When Using Active Skincare Products
Apply sunscreen every day. Make it the last step in your beauty routine so it sits on top of your skin and protects you from UV rays. If you are using active products at night only, such as AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion, we still recommend you apply sunscreen during the day whilst using this product.
Three Reasons to not Use Too Many Active Products
Here are three reasons you shouldn't use too many products with active ingredients in the same skincare routine.
You Will Impair Your Skin Barrier
With so many active products on the market now (and often a ‘more is more’ marketing approach by brands), overusing aggressive products is easy to do.
The result? An impaired skin barrier. Your skin barrier is what keeps the good things in and the bad out. When you impair your barrier, you may notice an increase in skin sensitivity, acne, redness and dryness, and conditions like rosacea or eczema can even worsen. It's not fun.
Overuse of active ingredients like salicylic acid, retinol, glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide are the most common culprits here, especially when combined with physical exfoliants. OUCH.
It's a Waste of Your Products (and Your Money)
The amount of product you apply matters – not only for your skin type, but for your wallet.
Applying more active skincare products, and more often, won't get you results faster. It will impair your barrier quicker though.
Using the Wrong Products for Your Skin Type
Just because your friend - or an influencer - has seen incredible results from using a combination of active products, doesn't mean you will, too. We all have different skin types with different needs. So it’s important to seek a professionals opinion first on your skin type & get recommendations for the results you’re seeking to achieve.
How do Probiotics Benefit the Skin?
The skin has billions of microflora (made up of both good and bad bacteria) living on its surface. This is what’s referred to as our ‘microbiome’. When these bacteria are out of balance, they can contribute to chronic skin problems. This is where probiotics can help.
Probiotics are the good bacteria and yeasts that provide benefits for the overall health of our digestive system. These microorganisms have the capacity to balance bacteria in the gut and to block pathogens. Topical versions can play a beneficial role, soothing inflammation, having a calming effect and gently repairing the skin The hero ingredient in the AMPERNA® range is the active probiotic complex, Lactococcus ferment lysate. This probiotic complex helps support the skin barrier; helping to protect you from aggressions such as environmental pollutants, helps keep your immune system in check and helps reduce inflammation.
In short, it acts as a protective layer on the skin, helps boost healthy looking skin and helps calm & soothe skin
AMPERNA® is in fact the first Australian brand to bring you a full range of probiotic skincare products, for even the most sensitive skin or that you can tailor to any skin concern, and the first to use this particular probiotic strain in any Australian skincare product. Along with a probiotic complex, other active ingredients in the range are glycolic acid and vitamins B and C.
When it comes to skin health, Kiri, founder of AMPERNA®, helps many people suffering from a variety of skin & health conditions. You can book a Holistic Skin Coaching Service to discuss your skin concerns and develop a tailored plan to work towards healthy skin.