Skincare and beauty is one of the classes you may never take in your life, but one that you will never be able to graduate from once enrolled. With a curriculum that is constantly being updated, it is hard for one to stay ahead of the curve unless you work at updating yourself constantly. Just when you think you have your footing right – and we’re talking about knowing your AHAs from your BHAs, the right vitamins for the right glow, and the latest in micro-needling, a quick snooze will send you to the back of the roster again. Every week, new ingredients and techniques are popping up, along with products to try and fresh hope of perfect, poreless skin sits on the horizon. Luckily for you, we have come up with the perfect crib sheet to this year’s reigning ingredients which you will soon see being blended into many different formulas from a wide spectrum of brands.
Centella: Overnight Healer
While the name sounds kind of icky, like a bacteria strain or a forest bug, centella asistica is actually an Asiatic pennywort plant, also known as “cica” for short. Sound familiar? Popular Korean brand, Innisfree, has even dedicated an entire line to the ingredient, with its star seller, the Bija Cica Balm, to be applied over the skin nightly like a moisturizer.
VT cosmetics has innovatively mixed the ingredient into an essence that is swirled with foundation to create a cushion pact that has great coverage as well as healing properties.
The plant is native to parts of Asia and Africa and has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. In skincare, it is used to treat acne scars and open zits, given that it was originally meant to be a wound healer. It also stimulates collagen synthesis for that firm, smooth baby skin, and it helps soothe eczema as well. Dr Jart+ makes a great Cicapair balm for soothing acne skin, and so does La Roche-Posay, with their Cicaplast Baume.
LHA + PHA: The Placid Acids
Moving on to perhaps one of skincare’s more controversial topics – acids as ingredients. Many consumers are wary of the application of acids on the skin, given that the term itself scares as a corrosive. However, studies have shown that constant use of gentle acids can actually aid in exfoliation and improving the cell turnover rate. Most of us would have heard of the common acids, AHA or BHA, as they are a common ingredient in many exfoliating gels or scrubs, including the PIxi Glow Exfoliating Scrub. For those still erring on the side of caution however, LHA and PHA are milder options to the typical salicylic acids. LHA, lipohydroxy acid, is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate into oil-clogged pores to break up blockages. Its pH also hovers around 5, way closer to that of natural, healthy skin, as compared to the pH 3 of BHA. LHA also helps stimulate collagen and elastin, for those concerned about aging. PHA is an alpha hydroxy acid called polyhydroxy acid, and is water-soluble, working only on the skin surface to smooth texture and lighten spots. It cannot penetrate the skin surface however, making it a truly mild choice for sensitive skin. Check out the Skinceuticals LHA toner or the La Roche-Posay Effaclar serum for your daily dose of LHA and PHA.
Bakuchiol: Bye-bye Retinol!
Some of you may be allergic to retinols in skincare but are still on the lookout for its great properties, including a boost of vitamin A or encouraging cell turnover, as well as treating acne and stimulating collagen. However, retinol can prove a tad too strong on sensitive skin, while pregnant or breastfeeding women cannot use it completely. Bakuchiol on the other hand, is completely safe. It has roots in Chinese and Aruyvedic medicine, and is plant-based, the Psoralea Corylifolia, to be specific. It performs similarly on the skin to retinol but shies away from the nasty peeling and redness retinol brings about. We are not asking for everyone to jump ship – if retinol works for you then stick to it, but if you’ve been itching to try retinol and have yet to for fear of damage to sensitive skin, then bakuchiol may be the holy water you are looking for. Herbivore makes a great mystical-looking solution in a purple bottle while Biossance has termed it “phyto-retinol” for ease of referral.
That’s the end of today’s mini-lecture – but definitely not the end to the lifelong study that is skincare. It may be a hassle, but an educated and informed consumer is a smart one – trying every and any product out there without understanding the properties or benefits for the skin may end up damaging the skin’s natural barrier which is a way bigger chore than reading up all you can. While we have summed up 2019’s biggest breakthrough ingredients, with an unending team of researchers and cosmetologists on the clock, we can promise you that there will be more discoveries we cannot wait to share with our readers.