By Andrea Atkinson
To buy or not to buy--that is the question. Just as there are specific ingredients to avoid when choosing the right skincare product, there are also ones you absolutely want infused within your cleanser or serum. A big focus in skin care today is protection, which is why many common ingredients contain antioxidants that prevent harmful particles from damaging our skin.
While you're scouring labels to avoid alcohol and parabens, look for these beneficial ingredients that can do wonderful things for your complexion:
As we age, our skin's collagen levels are broken down by UV rays, chemicals, free radicals and other harmful environmental agents. This key structural protein keeps skin strong and supple, and as it thins fine lines and wrinkles may begin to appear. Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, contains antioxidants that stimulates collagen production, minimizes those lines and reduces skin discoloration.
Often called the "universal antioxidant," this relatively new ingredient to the skincare world is both fat and water-soluble, allowing it to completely penetrate and protect our skin cells from destructive free radicals. It is also renowned for its restorative anti-aging properties?diminishing wrinkles, fine lines and returning the skin's natural glow.
Like the ingredients above, copper peptides are another effective collagen protector and re-builder. They aid in the removal of damaged collagen and scar tissue in addition to boosting skin's tissue building processes. These enzymes also smooth and soften skin, rapidly diminishing the appearance of new scars.
Green tea may be everywhere, but its white, red and black counterparts are also generating quite a buzz in the skincare world. Like antioxidants, the anti-inflammatory polyphenols found in tea have been proven to fight free radicals, protecting the skin from UV damage, harmful bacteria and possibly even cancer. Put a little green tea extract under sunscreen for a double dose of UV protection, or choose a product infused with red tea (containing alpha-hydroxy acid and zinc) to ease acne or soothe skin irritations.
Exfoliating your skin to remove dead or damaged cells is a vital part of any skincare routine, and this ingredient will get the job done. This natural exfoliator improves skin's texture and color, visibly reducing signs of aging. Often gentler than alpha-hydroxy acid, it is also used in many acne-fighting products to penetrate the pores and clean out dirt and bacteria.
Infolink: In With Skin
Andrea Atkinson is the editor-in-chief of InWithSkin.com, a fashion/beauty expert and is often a featured contributor for magazines and local television shows.