When you scan through the ingredients list on the back of a product’s packaging, how much of it do you understand? This beauty bible of ours will help guide you on jargon and scientific terms that you’ve once raised an eyebrow on so that you’re better equipped to determine your needs the next time you shop.
Applying acid to your face is alarming. But when used cautiously at the right concentrations, acids do benefit in addressing specific skin issues. Understanding better on each property will help your decision-making on what to target, whether glycolic, salicylic, hyaluronic, or lactic acid best fits the brief.
Our skin is naturally engineered to battle infection and environmental stresses. This protective layer on the surface is referred to as the acid mantle. As we age, our skin tends to become more acidic in response to our rigorous lifestyle. Alkaline refers to the pH level of the skin, with the latter end being acidic. Think of it as a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic to 14 being the most alkaline, 7 hits as a neutral reading. (The idea pH level for skin is 5.5 slightly acidic)
Acne known to the norm more commonly as pimples occur when hair follicles are clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. This common skin condition among both children and adults come in various forms, from blackheads, whiteheads, pustules to cysts. People are most at risk for developing acne during puberty, but it’s a definite misconception that it’s only a case for teenagers. Adults can also experience breakouts for years. While there is a wide range of over-the-counter products that can help with acne, it may be best to consult with a dermatologist to tackle the root of your problem(s).
These acids set the foundation of both peptides and proteins, and each plays a specific role in skin care. Amino acids maintain skin’s hydration, texture, resilience, and enhance the overall appearance of healthy skin. There are many amino acids, and scientists have helped divided them into two types: essential and non-essential. Don’t fall into the trap to ignore the “non-essentials,” as it simply means that your body can build them on its own. Whereas “essential” amino acids must be drawn from food and supplements.
Those pesky little black dots that are on our pores are known as blackheads. It’s not the dirt that is black, it is the debris that has been oxidised. Don’t ever be fooled into a product or facial that promises to get it permanently rid of, as blackheads naturally reform every 20 to 40 days. There might not be a quick-fix solution on it, but as long as you are persistent with your regime, blackheads could be kept at bay.
Unlike “propylene glycol” its counterpart “butylene glycol” is the gentlest of all the glycols. Both glycols serve a similar purpose, acting as a useful solvent for products such as serums, moisturisers, toothpaste, shampoos and cleansers. Without it, often products may find it difficult to spread evenly onto your skin and penetrate.
When it comes to sunscreens, whether you choose between a physical sunblock or a chemical one, we’d recommend it to be ideally SPF 30 to block 97% of UVB rays. While physical sunblock sits on top of the skin and shields the sun’s rays, a chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body. Both forms have their pros and cons, and it may be handy to do a patch test, sampling various sunscreens to see how your skin reacts.
It’s the layer of the skin beneath the epidermis where all the elastic fibres and collagen sits. The dermis is where all the action happens with healthy tissue generated. If you wish to retain youthful, vibrant, and luminous skin, you must look into products with ingredients that penetrate to these deeper functions where new cells thrive.
It’s a type of silicone that’s widely used in cosmetics, haircare, and skincare. It helps product better glide across the skin. Additionally, it acts as a barrier over skin since the molecules are large, making it a perfect remedy for wound healing and treatment of dry patches. This said, dimethicone is synthetic, and it’s something you may want to look into when skimming through for new products.
In comparison to the dermis, it sits at the surface of the three layers that make up the skin. As new cells move upward, our epidermis sheds off dead skin which repeats on a cycle of about 28 days – let’s just say a month.
These oils are widely used in the practice of aromatherapy for its distinct scent. Essential oils go through a process of steam distillation or cold pressing. Once the purities are extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use. It is important to take note of how it’s made; as chemical methods are no longer considered genuine essential oils.
It’s not just “gunk” that we wash off from our face after a long day running around the city. Free radicals are unstable molecules that creep around in a quest to bond to other atoms – like our skin. This process results in oxidative stress which can damage DNA and other parts of the cell. The effects go beyond our vanity, as free radicals have been linked with cancer, heart disease and other forms of illness. Avoiding total exposure to free radicals would be challenging as it can be anywhere, from the food we consume, the air we breathe, and simply the water we drink. However, there are a few precautions you can take, such as loading up on antioxidants that help minimise the damage.
If you are on the lookout for anti-ageing products that work, take a peek at the packaging and see if you spot fullerene on it. Fullerene is a potent antioxidant made from carbon that is 125 times stronger than Vitamin C. Its hollow sphere structure allows other common ingredients like retinol and peptides to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Glycerin is a humectant that can be naturally derived from plant oils or made synthetically. It is found in a wide variety of skincare products for its ability to mimic the skin’s natural moisturising factor (known as NMF). High concentrations of glycerin often leave the skin feeling tacky; therefore, it works more effectively with emollients and natural oils to revitalise the skin with hydration.
Humectants are known in science as proteins with a chemical makeup high in alcohols, which lets water molecules bond to themselves, and in turn to the skin. We, in fact, have some humectants inside of us, deep in the layers of the skin, but as we age, so does our natural moisturising factor deplete. Additional humectants that can come from natural sources or synthetically produced can help replenish our skin’s suppleness.
It may sound entirely foreign, but the truth is that hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by your body. It can also be taken as a supplement and is prevalent in serums, eye drops, and in the form of injections. It does more wonders than merely keeping the skin plump. Hyaluronic acid plays a key role in wound healing by regulating inflammation levels and alarming the body to repair the damaged area.
It may be a big word, but it can be more simply described as skin that appears darker. While increase pigmentation usually isn’t harmful, you may find it easier to tackle the situation by identifying what type it is – the common ones being melasma, sunspots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Excessive sun exposure has a direct link to general hyperpigmentation, so perhaps it’s time for you to increase the use of an appropriate sunscreen!
Melanin is a skin pigment that differentiates humans and species in colour. Both fair and dark-skin tones all have melanin but varies in forms and ratios.
There will always be a back-and-forth debate between mineral and chemical sunscreens. While both of them are safe for daily use, mineral sunscreens (that uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) might have the upper hand when it comes to catering to broader skin types, as it has almost no risk of irritating skin.
It’s still early days, but soon nanotechnology may help us reverse ageing at a cellular level. Such technological advancements play in the effort to develop and manipulate particles in a smaller, even more microscopic level. If used in stable forms, it allows active ingredients penetrate deeper with skin hydration levels soar.
You may also have heard it as nicotinamide – one of two primary forms of vitamin B3. While more scientific research needs to be carried out, studies show that niacinamide is relatively nonirritating compared to other topical acne treatment, making it a top contender for people with dry or sensitive skin. Niacinamide could also be found as an oral supplement, suitable for users who are tackling mild to moderate rosacea and related inflammatory skin conditions.
At nomel, we vouch to eliminate paraben in our products – a man-made, cost-effective preservative chemical used commercially by manufacturers from cosmetics, shampoo, shaving cream, and tanning products. Parabens in the long-term can act like the hormone estrogen in the body and disrupt the normal function of hormone systems of both genders. We are also aware of its environmental effects, being closely linked to ecological harm, as low levels of butylparaben can exterminate coral.
People often mix up proteins with peptides, as both are made up of amino acids. They differ in size, as peptides are found to be smaller, and therefore are easier for the body to absorb, passing quickly through the skin and enter the bloodstream. The form of collagen peptides is suitable to target skin health and encourage a reverse effect of ageing.
Retinoid is a derivative of vitamin A, and let’s just say that it does wonders to the skin! They’ve been proven to encourage cellular turnover, stimulate collagen, help treat acne, soften wrinkles, and help fade pigmentation. Not all retinoids are accessible as an over-the-counter product, as higher dosages require close supervision by a doctor. We’d also like to take this opp to debunk the myth that you’ll see results in a month. This is untrue, as, for over-the-counter retinol, it can take up to half a year to reap visible improvements.
Think of it as mould on a wall, if left untreated, rosacea can lead to permanent damage. It’s frequently mistaken for acne or an allergic flare-up because symptoms do appear on and around the face. Sadly, there’s still no proven cure to erase it permanently. Yet, these facial pustules can be alleviated with the assistance of prescribed topical medications and/or oral drugs, paired with a healthy and diligent diet.
If you are a teenager or adult on the lookout for an acne remedy, then salicylic acid might be that one thing that you’ve seen a lot of in the search bar. Salicylic acid is an effective over-the-counter product to eliminate blackheads and whiteheads. How does it work? Once it penetrates the skin, it dissolves skin debris that clogs pores, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and also helps angry pimples calm down faster. In what forms should I take it in? This might take some trial, but cleansers and spot treatments at levels of 0.5 percent up to 2 percent would make great introductory products. For chemical peels that go as high as 20 to 30 percent, *should* only be practised at the dermatologist.
There’s a reason why silicones are widely accepted in the industry – they’re cheap! Silicones unique properties are championed, as it glides effortlessly on the skin (like silk) and fills the creases. While it might have its pros, it also has its cons. For acne-prone skin, silicones will not do you any favour, with dead skin and bacteria sealed can lead to increase breakouts. Besides, silicones are stubborn to remove, so often that people may need to double clean to strip it off properly. There’s more to it, but you get the point. It might be wiser to opt for healthier alternatives (both for you and the planet), especially on moisturisers and foundations that are slapped on your face all day long.
Can you spot the difference between squalene and squalane? Squalene is a lipid, or fat, made naturally by our oil glands to boost hydration and maintain the barrier of our skin. This armour of defence gradually slows down as we hit our 30s, and this is when squalane comes into the picture. Squalane is readily sourced from plants such as olives and rice bran, and can also be derived from other plant oils including amaranth seed, wheat germ, and even sugar cane. It’s particularly great for mature skin and helps aid water retention.
Sometimes are attention to smell may deceive us. We might fall into the trap of fuming synthetic fragrances, not knowing earlier that it wasn’t of natural origin. Like the name suggests, these are man-made aromas to mainly cover unpleasant chemical smells. How could you as a consumer avoid them? Well, (carefully) read the labels. Make the effort to boycott companies and manufacturers who aren’t willing to list ALL of a product’s ingredients on its label. In this age, that’s simply a no-no for the welfare of the people and our ecosystem.
Talcum powder has a long history of being used in consumer products, especially with baby powders. It also spans to soap, shower gels, body lotion, face masks, deodorants, and various makeup products. There have been major headlines that raised speculations of talc increasing the risk of ovarian cancer, but such claims are yet to be thoroughly studied on.
Often found in sunscreens being neck-in-neck with zinc oxide on benefits. When carefully formulated, titanium dioxide in micronized form produces well-performed sun protection with no risk of it penetrating to deeper levels of the skin.
Vitamin C Complex
There’s a reason why our mother loads our plate with oranges when we were kids. Vitamin C, whether in high or lower strengths will provide noticeable results, especially with helping to even out skin complexion, as well as making the skin appear more vibrant. Note that with any potent antioxidants, they may break down if exposed to harsh sunlight. Make sure that you are aware of its shelf life and keep it stored in a cool, shaded area at all times.
Zinc oxide is, in fact, not naturally-occurring – created only when heated and combined with oxygen molecules. Zinc oxide remains to be in the leading board in terms with sunscreens, gaining a reputation as a natural alternative to chemical formulations. It does a respectable job in protecting our skin against UVAs and UVBs but also goes as far as treating acne and skin irritations.
Think of it as a radar which measures our skin’s alkaline and acidic levels. Our skin’s pH varies depending on the area of your body. For the most part, our skin on the body remains their natural (neutral) acidity. This is in contrary to our face, chest, and hands, which tend to be more alkaline due to free radicals. If you are unsure of where your skins pH levels sit, you could easily purchase an at-home pH kit on the internet, or alternatively, visit a dermatologist for a liquid pH testing.