Common cosmetics and skin care questions

Sometimes we have extensive knowledge on skin care but we nevertheless stop short when asked the most basic questions. We perfectly understand. So here are the answers to the most common questions we have come across in our years of working in the cosmetics industry.

Why is it important to know product ingredients?

Knowing how to read product ingredients is an investment in your health and beauty and is greatly needed in today’s day and age since we are oversaturated by a multitude of products attempting to seduce us using over-the-top claims and pretty packaging. Unfortunately, cosmetics is an area which is still not ideally legally regulated, leaving a lot of room for manufacturers to manipulate potential consumers. The only place on the packaging that the manufacturer is legally bound to state the raw materials used to manufacture the product is the ingredient list or INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients).

Here there is no room for manipulation or twisting of facts and only from this list can we discover all that the product truly contains. By using products manufactured by companies that nurture the idea of transparency and ethical conduct towards consumers and the environment we are not only doing ourselves a favour but giving explicit support to a new trend in the cosmetics industry that places consumer experience first and raises the bar for high quality for all new companies. These are the values that we wish to promote both on Skintegra’s website and in all our products, in the creation of which we apply all recent research and discoveries.

How can I learn more about ingredients?

Skintegra’s website includes a lot of information on the ingredients used in our products. All the active ingredients found in our products are listed here.

Further, each dermatological problem that may be treated using topical products is described in the context of recommended treatments, from the ingredients themselves to the final skin care routine steps. Ingredients found in cosmetics can be divided by function into about ten basic groups such as humectants or moisturisers, emollients, anti-oxidants, preservatives etc. (find out more here).

All our products are enriched by a multitude of high-quality ingredients which we present to you one by one, in detail and according to function, in order to ensure complete transparency towards our buyers. Also, for each product it is explicitly stated whether it’s suitable for pregnant women as well as whether it’s cruelty free and vegan.

Further, we recommend that you read our article on Skintegra's skin type classification to find out precisely which ingredients can be used to treat your skin’s specific issues.

How to treat acne?

Acne can be comedogenic or inflammatory. In the case of comedogenic acne they appear on the face in the form of black spots and small bulging skin-coloured papules which over time turn into an inflamed acne. Inflammatory acne are red, infected changes on the skin’s surface that may vary from quickly-healing small lesions to large, nodular and cystic changes. Acne develop due to dietary, hormonal and genetically induced disorders of the hair follicle function. More on the etiology of acne development can be found here.

Genetic predisposition plays a large role and is the primary factor that determines how intensively our skin will react to hormonal fluctuations and to what degree it will assume the function of an excretion organ in the process of digesting food such as dairy products, refined carbohydrates and iodine.

Acne treatment is targeted towards repairing the function of the follicle or hair canal where the clogged pore first develops, followed by inflammation. Great allies for acne-prone skin are definitely anti-oxidants, different forms of chemical peels (especially salicylic acid), niacinamide, zinc PCA, extract of liquorice and green tea and all reparative and regenerative ingredients such as vitamin E, allantoin, d-panthenol and bisabolol. This is beacuse acne is an inflammatory disorder of skin whose functioning of the hydrolipidic barrier has been compromised and discharge of excess sebum and dead skin cells from the hair canal has been thrown out of balance. A combined approach consisting of niacinamide in the morning and salicylic acid in the evening gives the best results in the long-term, especially on skin that is not only acne-prone but also of the combination to oily type. For this reason we recommend that oily, acne-prone skin be treated with Skintegra’s Clarion (exfoliator) and Tria Light (gel cream). However, all Skintegra products are formulated without comedogenic and irritating ingredients and none of them should make acne worse.

How to treat enlarged pores?

Enlarged pores develop for two possible reasons. The first reason is linked to oily skin and is the result of mechanical pressure exerted on the pores to secrete more and more sebum which with time makes them larger and larger. The second reason has to do with skin aging and degradation of collagen, followed by sagging of the surface tissue (epidermis), making the pores appear larger. In both these cases the solution lays in the use of exfoliators based on AHAs and BHAs (depending on skin type) or products based on retinoic acid and mandatory daily SPF. Enlarged pores are a normal occurrence, determined by genetics and unavoidable in the case of certain skin types. Their appearance can never be completely erased, only significantly reduced.

How to treat wrinkles?

Just like pores, wrinkles are another skin texture change that is completely normal and natural. The problem arises when they start appearing on the face too early, giving it an aged appearance which is not in sync with our chronological age. The best solution for wrinkles is adequate prevention since an already existing wrinkle is hard, that is, most often impossible, to erase completely. Anti-aging is effective only when we begin practicing it on time, so it’s never too early to start incorporating high-quality ingredients into our routine. Waiting for wrinkles to appear to start taking action against them is one of the greatest misconceptions of the cosmetics industry, just like the notion that we have to wait for scars to develop to start treating acne.

Luckily, there are many biologically active ingredients such as peptides, anti-oxidants and plant extracts with proven effect on the structure and texture of skin as well as vitamin A derivatives that have a proven preventive and mildly reparatory effect on wrinkles. Apart from retinoids, among active substances available in cosmetics, it is especially important to point out the beneficial effects of Q10, topical vitamin C in concentrations higher than 5%, vitamin E, peptides, gluconolactone (PHA), green tea polyphenols and fucose-rich polysaccharides. More on the appearance of wrinkles and skin aging can be found here.

How to treat skin pigmentation disorders?

Skin pigmentation disorders are not an occurrence with a single, uniform etiology and all such occurrences should not be treated in completely the same way. We can differentiate between post-inflammatory red macules (pink to purple marks that most often remain after acne and small wounds on lighter skin types); post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown changes on darker skin phenotypes that also remain after inflammation processes) and melasma (light to dark brown marks of a larger surface area that mostly develop due to hormonal fluctuations and most often in women of reproductive age).

In the case of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma it is necessary to inhibit the tyrosinase enzyme. The most effective active ingredients for this task are hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, arbutin and extract of mulberry and liquorice. Apart from them, exfoliating agents such as glycolic and salicylic acid are effective at prompting the shedding of problematic keratinocytes. Avoiding UV radiation is a must.

In the case of post-inflammation erythema (red macules) the best cure is to avoid products that prompt skin irritation. With time these pigmentation changes fade by themselves, while the speed of recovery depends on the depth of the initial inflammation, and ranges between a mere few days to as long as several years.

How to differentiate between the purging process as opposed to worsening of a skin condition? 

When we introduce active ingredients not previously used in a routine designed for skin prone to imperfections (such as ingredients from the retinoid group or AHA and BHA products), it is common that the skin sometimes reacts by first getting worse before getting better). It is important to stress that this happens EXCLUSIVELY with products that prompt cell renewal, that is, with products that speed up the process of emptying the pores from remaining dead cells and shedding of surface epidermal cells (desquamation). These are the very products we have already mentioned earlier: retinoids, glycolic, salicylic, lactic, azaleic and other acids.

The initial worsening that we notice is actually the result of the skin being purged since all imperfections from the dermis are being suddenly rapidly expelled through the surface layer of the skin. Inflammation of the follicles (i.e. the initial stage of acne development) always begins in the deeper layers of the skin, at the bottom of the pore, and it’s quite possible that the first month the skin will react by a sudden worsening of its condition. We’re talking about one month since the cell turnover cycle lasts 28 days. After that period, normalisation of the skin’s functioning is expected as well as drastic reduction of imperfections.

This process shouldn’t happen with toners, creams, serums and other emulsions that aren’t designed to affect cell desquamation. Another obvious sign that the product simply doesn’t suit us is more frequent appearance of new imperfections in places where they don’t usually appear. Several small spots on the forehead which is usually clear may be a sign of the process of the skin being purged. But ten new deep acne on the forehead which is usually clear may be a warning sign that the product simply doesn’t suit us (under the condition that the acne are not possibly caused by a change in diet or hormones during PMS for example).

Acne caused by a new cream or serum may be a sign that the product is comedogenic which means that a certain ingredient in the product or the interaction of several ingredients in one or several products is having an unfavourable effect by clogging pores with products we are applying on the skin. The more occlusive and richer in texture a cream is, the greater the probability that it will clog our pores. Yet sometimes even a very watery product may obstruct a pore if it contains comedogenic components. All Skintegra products, regardless of texture, are specially designed for skin prone to clogging of pores.

What is the difference between dehydrated and dry skin?

Misunderstandings often occur between the terms “dry” and “dehydrated” skin since even the most fervent skin care enthusiasts don’t seem to understand that these two terms are not synonyms and don’t even describe the same subjective feeling of these dermatological issues. First it must be differentiated that the problem of dryness describes a skin type, while the problem of dehydration describes a temporary condition of the skin.

Dryness of the skin is the lack of lipids that lubricate the epidermal (surface) layer and this kind of skin to put it simply, lacks oiliness since it doesn’t produce enough sebum on its own. This type of skin will basically “eat up” even the greasiest cosmetic components such as oils and butters and very quickly become thirsty for more nourishment. On the other hand, dehydrated skin is a condition that affects all skin types and one which we are especially prone to in periods of extremely cold weather conditions. It is also caused by use of overly aggressive, drying cosmetics, frequently inadequate for the skin type at hand. The condition usually occurs when one makes a wrong assessment of their SKIN TYPE.

These two issues share a common problem, but this problem is manifested differently. In the case of dehydrated skin which does not belong to the dry type, the surface of the skin is often flaky, painfully taught and “too tight”, while deep beneath its surface the skin produces excess sebum which only sits on the skin’s surface and does nothing to ease the symptoms of dehydration. The hydrolipidic barrier is compromised because we dried the skin out and it is not able to maintain the necessary level of moisture or adequately absorb emollients from the product. In an attempt to restore moisture, skin cyclically begins to get oilier and oilier, which sets off a vicious cycle of more and more severe mechanical drying out of the skin and more and more intense consequential dehydration.

As opposed to dehydrated skin, dry skin is dried out in its deeper layers and it constantly needs to be nourished with rich lipids and emollients from the outside since it doesn’t produce the necessary cholesterol, ceramides or fatty acids on its own. Dry skin can be recognised by its specific appearance which lacks luminosity, and is very often accompanied by redness and itchiness. The same as dehydrated skin, naturally dry skin is extremely sensitive to negative exogenous influences since it is characterised by a weakened barrier and transepidermal water loss. In order to break this vicious cycle, it is extremely important to protect this kind of skin by occlusive emollients.

To conclude, skin may be dehydrated and dry at the same time yet, ironically, dehydration is most often caused by the use of incorrect products on oily and combination skin. Treatment of such skin should be oriented towards combining lighter hydrating serums and gel creams, while heavy and occlusive products should be avoided.

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