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Are you a low-ish maintenance person whose priorities don't lie with beauty care? Do you want to look and feel your best without necessarily spending hours and hours reading up on all the latest skincare ingredients and understanding exactly how they work? You may be stuck buying all the wrong random drugstore products without understanding what they can do for your skin — and you may well be missing out!
Here's a quick look beyond vague "anti-age" or "anti-acne" labels that should help you decide what ingredients to look for next time you are ready to make some purchases to pamper your skin.
Hyaluronic acid, which is naturally present in both skin and connective tissue, is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and eye conditions including cataracts. It's also a hot word in skincare at the moment, and for good reason — this glycosaminoglycan, which isn't actually an acid but a kind of polymer, has magical moisture-retention properties — attracting over a thousand times its weight in water.
Though commercially-produced forms of hyaluronic acid are typically made from chicken combs or created in a lab, hyaluronic acid's skin-identical properties make it a great ingredient to replenish your lost youth, to super-hydrate your skin, and to repair sun damage. Hyaluronic acid is also said to speed up wound healing, so if you're dealing with acne scars, it is a good choice for you as well.
Want to check it out? You'll find hyaluronic acid in many moisturizers as well as in specialized serums. The body starts losing hyaluronic acid content as soon as age 18, but you'll benefit most from hyaluronic acid after you turn 40. If you are younger, a moisturizer with a less concentrated dose of the stuff will probably get you the results you're looking for. If you are looking for something far more radical, hyaluronic acid is also used in the best "fillers" out there today, offering more natural-looking and longer-lasting results than Botox.
Ceramides — typically from animal sources — have been used in cosmetics for years now. They're said to have the ability to seep right through all the layers of your skin, contributing to a plumper, younger, and more hydrated look. Phytoceramides are different, and not quite like anything else you have in your bathroom cabinet for your skin right now. Phytoceramides are, wait for it, consumed in tablet form. Coming from plant sources (hence the "phyto"), they provide hydration, cell repair, a collagen boost and body-identical lipids.