Healthy, nourished, radiant skin is something we all strive to have and for most of us it requires an ongoing daily effort. This effort increases for those of us with sensitive skin or the many people managing a variety of different skin conditions.
Diet, lifestyle, stress and medication are a few common factors that can have a big impact on your skin. For example, high histamine foods such as fish, tomatoes, nuts and strawberries may trigger inflammation for people with a histamine intolerance. Another example is stress, which when elevated can lead to higher cortisol production and trigger a flare up.
Another important factor is the ingredients you put on your skin. Some ingredients can help support healthy skin, whilst others may trigger problems and are best avoided. In this article we explore some of the dos and don’ts of skincare:
Ingredients that Can Support Good Skin Health
Antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, A (retinol), niacinamide, green tea extract and polyphenols, can help to protect the skin by limiting free radicals which are known to cause damage. They can also help to calm inflammation and decrease the appearance of sunspots, fine lines and wrinkles.
When it comes to vitamin C, look out for L-ascorbic acid which has superior benefits versus other forms. It can boost collagen production to tighten fine lines, smooth uneven skin and is powerful in hydrating, brightening and calming your skin. You can find the powers of this antioxidant in AMPERNA® PRO+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum.
When searching for green tea, look out for camellia sinensis leaf extract in the list of ingredients. The polyphenols found in green tea can be helpful for people suffering with rosacea, psoriasis and are gentle enough for sensitive skin.
These are the healthy bacteria naturally occurring in the gut and are known to support digestive health and keep the immune system strong. These “good bacteria” can also help skin problems when applied topically. 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.
Plant oils such as sage, cucumber, white willow bark and Canadian willowherb have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help to strengthen the skin's outer barrier and prevent irritants from penetrating. Look out for these ingredients in cleansers and moisturizing lotions. AMPERNA® Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser contains a number of plant oils including sage and cucumber oil to help cool, soothe and nourish skin.
Glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids are found in many creams and lotions. These ingredients can help with fine lines and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. When using AHAs always apply in small doses in the evening and ensure you wear a sunscreen to avoid your skin being exposed to harmful UV rays.
Ingredients to Watch Out For
Products that contain high levels of alcohol such as ethanol, methanol, benzyl, denatured or isopropyl, are best avoided. Alcohol is often used as the base ingredient in skin care products to thicken them and allow them to penetrate the skin more effectively. The issue can be that it breaks down the skin's natural barriers and can lead to dryness and irritation.
Whilst most alcohol-based products can cause issues, cetyl alcohol is an exception. You may find this listed on products as hexadecan-1-ol or palmityl alcohol. This fatty alcohol is often as an emulsifier, emollient or thickener and can help to soften and smooth skin. It is not known to cause irritation.
There are five different paraben esters to look out for; methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl- and benzyl-parahydroxybenzoate. They are often used in skin care products and cosmetics as a preservative and can cause problems such as contact dermatitis or a flare or spread of an existing treated rash. They are a particular watch out for people with sensitive skin.
Skincare and cosmetics featuring man-made fragrances can aggravate allergies and trigger side effects. In particular fragrances created with Phtalates are wise to steer clear of. These are a group of chemicals considered to be endocrine disruptors.
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (IPBC) is often used as a preservative in lotions due to its effectiveness at preventing fungal growth in topical products. Both IPBC and lanolin are common allergens found in a high percentage of moisturizers. If you are allergy prone, these are best avoided.
Tea tree oil
This essential oil is often considered by people with a range of skin conditions. Whilst is it beneficial to some, for others it can cause irritation such as redness, scaly skin, burning or stinging. For a few, it can cause a more serious allergic reaction - contact dermatitis.
Whilst the above guide provides examples of ingredients that may support good skin health and those that might cause an issue, prior to introducing any new products into your skincare routine, it is recommend the first step is to perform a patch test. This will help you identify any signs of a reaction such as redness, itching, burning or rashes. You can read more about AMPERNA® and how to conduct a patch test here.
Many people believe natural ingredients are better; however the truth is that all ingredients are chemicals. Even natural ones.