We keep hearing our skincare products should be packed with all of these good things. But what are they really and why do we need to use them? Let’s get to the bottom of these skincare buzzwords.

In Part One we looked at Retinol, antioxidants, stem cells, collagen, fruit extracts, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. Today we are going to examine a few more of these buzzwords.

Vitamin C

What is it?
Vitamin C is found in the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin and plays a part in collagen production. It contains antioxidant properties and is an important molecule for our skin’s integrity and health. Vitamin C is normally transported to the skin through our bloodstream; however, it can also be topically applied to the skin.
In studies, Vitamin C has been shown to limit the damage caused by UV light exposure. It also helps prevent UV related damage to our DNA. Furthermore, Vitamin C has been shown to help with combating photo-damage to the skin and will slow the production of age spots. Many studies have also found that Vitamin C is effective in treating wrinkles when used topically on the skin.
Who needs it?
The bad news is that just like with collagen, our bodies lose this valuable nutrient over time. Vitamin C will be beneficial to anyone who wants to replenish this important molecule in their skin.
Which products can you can find it in?
If you are on a budget, you can try making your own Vitamin C serum. The Wellness Mama has a fab recipe here: Vitamin C Serum Recipe.
Alternatively, here are some great products that contain Vitamin C.
Vitamin C will often be listed as “ascorbic” acid if you are looking for it on an ingredients label. The Body Shop has a very affordable line loaded with Vitamin C. One of their bestsellers is their Vitamin C Radiance Capsules which are available here.

products with Vitamin C

Natural Enzymes

What are they?
We all know what the enzymes in our stomachs do. They break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into smaller building blocks. Enzymes used in skin care products perform a similar function. They break down dead skin cells in our epidermis that naturally build up on our faces.

Most of the enzymes in skin care products come from fruit: papaya and pumpkin are two very common enzymatic fruits. A common ingredient in many facial masks is the enzyme Papain which comes from the green papaya. As mentioned above, it will dissolve the top layer of dead skin cells on our skin to reveal a fresher, more luminous layer.

Who needs them?
As we age, our skin loses its natural ability to slough off dead skin cells. Using natural enzymes in our skin care regimen will solve the problem of built up dead skin cells. Anyone wanting to fight fine lines, acne and dullness will benefit from using enzymes.

Which products can you can find them in?
If you read my September Loves post, then you know that I’m in love with Oskia’s Renaissance Mask. It contains lots of good stuff (Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract,  Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Passiflora Quadrangularis Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract). All of these fruit extracts loosen the bonds in the upper epidermis to remove tired cells to reveal glowing skin!

Fruit Enzymes

Seed Oils

What are they?
Seed Oils are exactly what they sound like – they are the oils extracted from the seeds of fruits, vegetables and plants. People have been using seed oils for thousands of years but it wasn’t until last year when Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr, announced that she used Rosehip oil on her skin every night, that the vast majority of us were in the dark about seed oil’s benefits for our skin.

Now it seems more and more products are being infused with seed oils because of their antioxidant properties and their high percentage of vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Who needs them?
Various seed oils can be used for different purposes. Grape seed oil can be used on all skin types and is readily absorbed by the skin. It is high in antioxidants. Rose hip seed oil is great for dry or aging skin. It contains Vitamin A, which helps to combat the effects of aging, assists with cell regeneration and promotes collagen production. It also contains essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and linolenic acids. Camellia oil (tea seed oil) is another great one. The seeds come from this plant’s fruit and are cold pressed to create an oil that smells divine and can be used on the face, body, hair and nails. As with the other oils, it is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Anyone looking to incorporate natural skincare products into their routine would benefit from any of these seed oils.

Which products can you can find them in?
Australian skincare cult favorite, Aesop, has decided to make Parsley Seed Oil the star in one of their bestselling skincare lines. Their Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment is packed with oils such as Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond ) Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant ) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot ) Seed Oil, and Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil) – and those are just the seed oils!

Right now, I’m using their Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum from the same line. It’s an aloe based serum  that uses a complex blend of anti-oxidant ingredients to hydrate, soften and fortify the skin. I plan to do a longer review post on it, but so far it has worked wonders on my skin. And it’s a great deal for the amount of product that you get (100ml is AUD $69).

Aesop's Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum

Another big seed oil this year has been plum seed oil. Lea Journo’s Revive French Plum Oil has become a cult favorite among A-listers for hair and body care.  This highly sought after miracle oil is harvested in the south-west of France via cold-pressure of the plum kernel and has been selling out everywhere.

Korean brand The Face Shop is another company using seed oils in their products. Their newest line incorporates Chia Seeds and other products contain White Seeds as well as Mango Seeds. Their bestselling product as of October 2014 is their Mango Seed Glow Date-Prep Butter. It contains mango seed butter as well as cherry seed extract. It is to be used at the moisturize step after toning.

Perhaps the cream of the crop of face oils is Sunday Riley’s Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil. It is PACKED with rare seed oils. (Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Corymbosum (Blueberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeaus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Chardonnay Grape) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Kernel Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E). If you can afford it, go for it!!

seed oils

Seaweed

What Is It?
To many seaweed (or algae) is a disgusting plant people avoid.  Living in South Korea for the last 9 years, I have been turned on to the numerous benefits of seaweed. Here it is a dietary staple, found in many soups and side dishes renowned for its high levels of minerals, vitamins and trace elements. It is also rich in iodine, which supports healthy thyroid function.

But what about skin care? When used in skin care formulas it has been known to have beneficial moisturizing, antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. Moreover, seaweed  contains fatty acids to combat skin irritation and inflammation. It is used in many types of products from soaps and shampoos to creams, serums and cleansers. It is often listed as “seaweed extract” on ingredient labels. It is a well-know fact that the top spas around the world have been using seaweed in their treatments to give their clients healthy, luminous skin.

Brown seaweed is found in many products. It is packed with fucoidans and has been a mainstay of the Japanese diet for many centuries. Many people attribute the Japanese diet of seaweed with their high rates of longevity. Fucoidans are said to strengthen the immune system as well as regenerate cells.

Who Needs It?
As seaweed promotes skin hydration, anyone with dehydrated skin would benefit with this ingredient in their skin care products. It has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties as well. In some cases, it is used to treat oily and acne prone skin.

Which Products Can you Find it in?
The Body Shop has an entire line of Seaweed products. This line was created for combination skin to restore balance and control excess oil. One of their bestsellers is their Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask.

seaweed

Oxygen

What is it?
We keep seeing products which are packed with Oxygen – oxygen in skincare products- what does that even mean?

Many skincare companies claim to have found a way to deliver oxygen molecules directly into the skin. They use special active ingredients  which break down into water and oxygen, and then supply the skin with oxygen, which gives the skin more energy and allows it to breathe by increasing circulation. They also claim that the extra oxygen can kill bacteria which reduces breakouts on the face.

Who Needs it?
As we get older, our capillaries allow less and less blood flow and oxygen to be delivered to the skin. This lack of oxygen can lead to the most common aging problems: less collagen production, more fine lines, more wrinkles and more age spots.

Many experts are still on the fence about oxygen infused skin care. There is still no scientific evidence that oxygen can penetrate the skin or that it can remain stable in products. However, this hasn’t stopped companies from creating more and more products claiming to deliver oxygen to the skin.

Which products can you find it in?
oxygen

Resveratrol

What is it?
You think you’ve heard the term resveratrol before, but you are not sure where, right? That’s because it was buzzing on everyone’s lips in the 1990s when scientists discovered the “French Paradox”. You know – the reason the French stay healthy and live longer while eating fatty foods and guzzling cup after cup of red wine.

Resveratrol is another antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes. It is also present in the plants eucalyptus, spruce, and lily, and in foods such as mulberries and peanuts. And as we learned in Beauty Buzzwords Part One, antioxidants are important to any anti-aging skin care routine because they help prevent free radical damage to the skin.

Who Needs It?
We can all use a good antioxidant and anyone concerned with aging will especially benefit from resveratrol (the higher concentration – over 1% – the better). It can help maintain collagen levels, protect the skin from free radicals, and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Which products can you find it in?
Caudalie  is a very affordable brand who incorporates resveratrol into many of their products. If you are willing to spend a little more, Skinceuticals has an excellent product called Resveratrol B E which has in it 1% pure, stable resveratrol, enhanced with 0.5% baicalin and 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin E). Sunday Riley’s Bionic Anti-ageing Cream has a hefty price tag, but according to many beauty insiders, it’s worth its weight in gold!

resveratrol
Glycolic Acid

What is it?
Glycolic acid is a natural fruit acid and comes from sugar cane. It is part of a group of active compounds known as AHA’s or alpha hydroxy acids.It has the smallest molecules of the AHA family and is able to penetrate the skin easily.

When applied to the skin, it easily dissolves skin cells and is used to exfoliate the skin and clear up blocked pores. It can be found in low concentrations of 2-3% and higher concentrations of up to 50% used by dermatologists for chemical peels.

Who needs it?
Anyone wanting to exfoliate, brighten their skin, restore a healthy pH to their skin, remove blackheads and light wrinkles, or treat acne problems.

Which products can you find it in?
Right now, I’m using two products which contain glycolic acid: Alpha H’s Liquid Gold and Peter Thomas Roth’s Un-wrinkle Peel Pads.

Liquid Gold is an overnight resurfacing treatment. I use it every other night on clean skin and if I want an extra-serious treatment, I use it on its own. I’m a freckly girl and it really does help with sun spots and my overall complexion.

I love the Peel Pads because they don’t dry your skin out at all. These are different from the Liquid Gold in that you only use these for 1-3 minutes and there’s an instant boost in your complexion! They also help to minimize the pores around my nose.

glycolic acid

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