The Reality of Using Active Ingredients

by | Apr 21, 2019 | Skin Health

There’s a good reason why a lot of skin products don’t actually do much: Despite all their snazzy marketing campaigns and big promises, most fail to do exactly what they say on the tin!  Why? Because the active ingredient in the product is minimal.

If you’ve not already read my other short article ‘What are active skincare products’ you can do so… here.

There needs to be a certain percentage of an active ingredient present in a skincare product for it to actually make a difference.

The amount needed to work on our skin at the cellular level simply isn’t available in most high street brands.The reality of using active ingredients at home

Over a long period, some products will make superficial skin changes but the truth is most people want fast results. For the magic to happen, we need changes to occur at the deeper layers of our skin – way before we notice those changes on the surface.

To make changes at the deeper levels, in the dermis, we need a decent amount of an active ingredient.  You’ll rarely find this adequate amount in ‘beauty products’.  In reality, the skincare products we need in our skin routines are known as cosmeceutical: which basically means that they are more potent and are sold under the guidance of a skin specialist.

For more stubborn skin conditions, we need to use products that are prescribed by a medical professional. The active ingredient in such products is present in a much higher amount.

The more active ingredient in a product, the stronger the product will be. However,  stronger does not always equate to better, and there are some really dodgy products available online which scare the hell out of me.

Sadly, I’m frequently asked to fix the destructive aftermath such products leave in their wake.

Here are some examples of active ingredients:

  • Retinols
  • Glycolic acid
  • Salicylic scid
  • L-ascorbic acid
  • Hydroquinone

And this is to name but a few.

We can achieve remarkable results with active ingredients, as long as they’re used properly. As part of using them in the right way, always use stronger products under guidance to avoid any undesirable redness, irritation, etc.

The Truth About Active Ingredients:

Downtime* is likely with stronger products containing active ingredients. However, once you see the results that can be achieved, you’ll want more!

*Note: downtime is the time following a treatment or product use when you might experience redness, dry patches, peeling, etc.  Also, you’ll be unable to wear makeup as your skin is in ‘renewal mode’.

Are you comfortable going to work with no makeup and possibly some redness or dry patches?  If not, the good news is that you can avoid side effects like these – if you’re willing to go a bit slower with the products and be more patient in pursuit of the results.

Active ingredients speed up the skins renewal process, which slows with age.  This means that all that dull, dead skin will peel away, leaving healthier glowing skin underneath – Yay!

If you want to make actual changes to your skin, you need to expect some downtime,  but once you recover, you’ll be all the more thankful for it.

Active products can be dangerous in the wrong hands or when used irresponsibly. For that reason, they MUST be used under the guidance of a skin specialist. I cannot stress this enough.  Some active ingredients, for example, can make you more sensitive to the sun. This means that you must wear an SPF every day, because, if you don’t, your skin could end up worse off. Which is something we most definitely don’t want to happen. This is information you might not necessarily be privy to if you’re taking a product containing such an active ingredient without the right supervision, ie purchasing online…

Now, I get it: We’re all super busy and you might not have the time for downtime. In this instance, it’s vital to be honest with your skin professional and come to an arrangement whereby you get less downtime but achieve your results at a slower rate. A decelerated schedule like this suits most people, who have to work every day.

Do you use any products with active ingredients? If so, what’s your active ingredient of choice?

To discuss your skin needs with me, you can book your consultation here.

Best wishes