You’ve seen the commercials, the magazine ads, the billboard along sidewalks, and the rows and rows of jars on the shelves of a drugstore/department store. With so many things constantly being told and sold to us. “Get this to make your wrinkles disappear” or  “to help reverse the clock”. With all this information that we take in, how much of it do we actually understand? What are these ingredients doing to our skin? What is the long-term benefit of using this product? Is this product going to act as a temporary cover up or a permanent solution? We should ask questions about what is in our skincare and if it is good for our skin. Words like Hyaluronic Acid and Beta Carotene are words that we have seen pop up consistently, without an explanation of what these ingredients do. In this post, we want to tell you about 3 ingredients found in the skincare products that you pass on the shelves of your favourite drugstore/beauty counter.

Beta Carotene

While we do need carotenoids to offer maximum antioxidant protection, these micronutrients need to be preformed from animal sources in order to work. For example, an organic natural plant-based product has pre-vitamin A and beta carotene which needs to convert to a fat soluble in order to become active vitamin A. In order for this to actually convert into Vitamin A, it requires the ability to pass through the cell membrane. Micronutrients require a piggyback ride on a fat-soluble macronutrient in order to get through that cell membrane barrier, otherwise the cell membrane doesn’t like it and it bounces around the outer wall. This piggyback ride is known as assimilation. We generally don’t know the full chemistry behind our products and go at it at face value. Anything with pre-vitamin anything on the label needs to be mixed with a stable fat source, which is not a vegetable Omega 6 fat. High Omega 6 is highly inflammatory and goes rancid very very quickly. It is important to understand the way our products work in order to find those that will give you the most benefit.

Walnut/Apricot

While walnut may sound wholesome and natural in your skin care, have you ever crushed walnut yourself? Unless you process it into a fine flour, which will do nothing for the skin, walnut grinds are uneven in texture and can also have sharp, jagged edges.

When exfoliating with anything that has extremely sharp edges or dissimilar granules, you end up with an uneven exfoliation (which the skin does not like in the least). Instead of helping dead cells along to sluff off, you attack the skin and cause an inflammatory response. Inflammation causes the skin to contract and close off in order to protect the precious living cells in the lower layers of the skin, which causes increased oil production in order to provide a buffer for any antigens that may have passed through the compromised barrier. This encourages white blood cells to flood the area to conquer possible antigens, create an acidic pH to provide an unwelcome atmosphere for these potential antigens, and increase flora (the skin’s natural bacteria both good and bad, depending on what your ratios are) in order to metabolize debris. Ever wonder how the rumor of “don’t exfoliate too often or you will break out” was created?? It is not about how often you are exfoliating, but about what you are exfoliating with.

Hyaluronic Acid

We all have Hyaluronic acid molecules in our skin and body. It is our ground substance, or as I like to explain, it’s like our reservoir to store water. The healthier our hyaluronic acid molecules (and the more we have), the healthier, firmer, thicker and simply more beautiful our skin is. Because our brain is being told this, it would make sense to add this wonderful molecule to my skin regimen right? WRONG.

A hyaluronic acid molecule has a high molecular weight. The higher the weight, the more water it draws and retains. It is also a sugar molecule. Skincare lines that flash Hyaluronic Acid on the label as a selling feature know that once you put this wonder serum on the skin, the sugar molecules will start to draw water from the air, as well as from your living skin cells. The product itself is too large to get anywhere close to your actual hyaluronic acid so it won’t do anything for its longevity and anti-aging. Instead, it will dry your living skin cells out, steal water from your reservoir, and give you this false indication that it has hydrated your skin. That stickiness you feel after applying your “magic” serum is not normal. You should not ever need to give the product time to set. All that is, is the large molecules absorbing your water to give your dead cells above water. This is not anti-aging at all, more like pro-aging!

Marketing ploy wording is rampant, it plays on our lazy brains because, let’s face it, we all have so much going on in our busy lives that we just want our skin care to work and be simple and self-explanatory. Our brains will always go to the products with the simplest explanation and the ingredients that we have been told are the best. Marketing companies know and rely on this. As Arianna Huffington said, “How else can you convince a woman that makes $40,000 a year that it is in her best interest to purchase a $2000 purse and think she will be better off with it!?”.

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