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Hydrating vs. Moisturizing

Anby

Water plays a central role in making sure your skin stays healthy, smooth and radiant, so it only makes sense that every skin care aisle is lined with products that promise to hydrate and moisturize skin. But what many of us may not realize is that although they are often used interchangeably, moisturizing and hydration are not exactly the same thing. While both are key in providing skin with much-needed nourishment, knowing the difference will help you make the best choice when targeting your skin’s specific needs.

Difference Between Hydrating and Moisturizing

Moisturizers and hydrators both address the importance of making sure the skin is getting all the water it needs to fight dryness and dehydration, premature signs of aging and environmental damage. The difference, however, lies mostly in how they go about achieving these results.

“Hydration [refers to] the water content within the cells that leads them to swell and be plump and bouncy, thus reflecting light well. If water flows out of the cells and the cells are dehydrated, they can become shriveled, which leads to lackluster skin,” explains board-certified dermatologist Anna Guanche, MD, FAAD. This means that when you’re using a topical hydrator, you’re infusing your cells with water and improving your skin’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.

On the other hand, moisturizing is about trapping and sealing in moisture to build the skin’s protective barrier, prevent water loss and keep the skin soft and smooth, says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD.

How to Know If You Need a Hydrator, Moisturizer or Both

If your skin tends to be on the dry side, it’s easy to assume that a healthy dose of moisturizer is all it takes to restore its plump appearance and youthful glow. While this may be true at times, it’s also possible that your skin may not, in fact, be dry but dehydrated. And if the latter is true, then a hydrator is what you need to get the job done.

To know if your skin is dry or dehydrated, it’s important to take note of your skin’s condition. The skin has a natural lipid barrier that protects itself from damage and water loss. If you’re prone to having dry, flaky skin, it’s a tell-tale sign that it’s not producing enough lipid cells to form a protective barrier, making it unable to lock in moisture. And that’s where moisturizers come in.

“A moisturizer’s job is to reduce the amount of water that evaporates off of the skin to minimize transepidermal water loss. They lock in and seal in moisture,” explains Dr. Guanche. Moisturizing is particularly helpful for skin that is dry and peeling or flaking after undergoing a chemical peel, using Retin A or during the winter, Dr. Guanche adds.

Meanwhile, if you’re dealing with a dull and lackluster complexion with fine lines and wrinkles becoming more noticeable, your skin may be battling dehydration. “Dehydrated skin means the cells are parched and starved of water. When this happens, they are not plump and volumized and appear shriveled collectively,” explains Dr. Guanche. “People can have hydrated but dry skin or dehydrated but moisturized skin. Ideally, we want hydrated, bouncy, swollen cells that have topical moisture locked into them,” she explains.

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Vitamin C Alternatives for Sensitive Skin

Anby

Vitamin C has been lauded for its ability to brighten the skin However, if you have sensitive skin, this can be a tad too strong. Here are some gentler alternatives to vitamin C that you can try today:

Niacinamide

If you’re looking to replace vitamin C with something more gentle, niacinamide is an excellent alternative. Like vitamin C, it’s a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radical production, it brightens skin, and minimizes fine lines. It is also less likely to clash with other skincare ingredients in your routine, meaning you’re less apt to cause irritation. That said, while it’s better for sensitive skin, you should still introduce it gradually into your regimen and begin with the lowest percentage (typically 10 percent) to build your skin tolerance.

Indian Ginseng

One of the major benefits of incorporating vitamin C into your skincare regimen is for sun protection—yet in today’s world, it’s not enough. Not only does Indian ginseng protect our skin from digital pollution, but it also boosts cellular energy and vibrancy of skin and restores skin vitality. 

Carotenoids

Saffron and turmeric are rich in carotenoids—a botanical compound that helps brighten the skin, reduce inflammation, and provides photo-protection.

Viniferine

Viniferine—an ingredient extracted from grapevine sap—visibly lightens dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. 

Alpha Arbutin

Alpha Arbutin is also a powerhouse when it comes to fading dark spots and correcting skin tone. Like vitamin C, it’s an effective brightening agent, but because it has a sustained release, it’s much gentler and doesn’t present as high of a risk of irritation. 

A Quick Guide to Using Skin Toners

Anby

Toners are often misunderstood and most people don’t know if they should use it, or how to use it. Before moisturizing and following your facial cleanser, a face toner is a quick, absorbing liquid that helps to remove excess dirt, traces of oil and makeup, correct and balance the pH of your skin and control acne. In other words, a facial toner thoroughly cleans the skin and helps remove built-up surface dead skin cells. By helping to clean and close pores, it’s especially beneficial for acne-prone skin. 

Difference Between Toner and Astringent

A simple way to describe the difference between a face toner and an astringent is that an astringent is usually formulated with solvent alcohols. Toners can also contain alcohol, but they are also available in alcohol-free formulas. An alcohol-free toner is milder on your skin than an astringent. They can also be used every day to help finish the cleansing of your skin. 


A simple way to describe the difference between a face toner and an astringent is that an astringent is usually formulated with solvent alcohols. Toners can also contain alcohol, but they are also available in alcohol-free formulas. An alcohol-free toner is more mild on your skin than an astringent. They can also be used every day to help finish the cleansing of your skin. 

Like a facial toner, astringent minimize the appearance of pores, however, the alcohol can be overly drying, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

Examples of astringents include calamine lotion, distilled vinegar, rubbing alcohol, silver nitrate and witch hazel. Astringent solutions are recommended for insect bites, fungal infections, and minor skin irritations, more than daily cleansing like a toner. 

Choosing a Toner for Your Skin Type

First of all, it’s important to always use an alcohol-free face toner. The other ingredients should be picked based on your skin type. 

  • For acne-prone skin, choose an alcohol-free toner with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This will leave your skin clean and glowing without flaking. A gentle tingle for a few seconds will let you know it has just the right pH level that is slightly acidic. This form of acid is gentle even for sensitive skin, unlike irritating ingredients like retinoids.
  • Salicylic acid is often recommended in a facial toner for acne-prone skin. However, this ingredient can be harsh and irritating, especially for sensitive skin.
  • Other ingredients for normal to combination skin may include coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and vitamin C.
  • Although essential oils and plant extracts have had marketing to help give them a ‘natural’ and ‘good for you’ feel, these ingredients may result in skin irritations so it’s best to avoid these.

How to Use a Face Toner 

  • Start by cleaning your face with a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin suited for your skin type. Choose one free of harsh detergents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrance.
  • Dampen a cotton ball with the alcohol-free toner, and apply it on your face.
  • Allow it to dry.
  • If you have combination or oily skin, you can use alcohol-free toner at day and night. For dry skin, it’s best to only use it once a day at night time.
  • Always follow with a moisturizer for your skin type.

4 Ways to Care for Your Skin Indoors

Anby

Now that we’re all spending more time at home, a lot of our day-to-day activities have bee put on hold. However, one thing you should never skip, apart from frequently washing your hands, is caring for your skin. Here are 4 things you need to keep doing to maintain healthy skin.

1. Get into a routine and stick to it

Whether applying makeup or not, skin still greatly benefits from maintaining a morning and nightly protocol. Cleansing, exfoliating, and toning regularly helps skin remain tolerant to environmental aggressors, as well as evenly toned and smooth in texture.

2. It is important to recognize that typically the air inside houses and apartments lacks humidity

The dry air indoors can dehydrate your skin. To combat this, consider incorporating a daily hydrator depending on your skin’s specific needs.

3. Take advantage of time indoors by focusing on more aggressive Anti-Aging protocols

Products that contain higher concentrations of retinol can yield more dramatic results that target moderate to severe signs of aging. With less exposure to the sun which can irritate the healing process, the skin has more time to heal. Additionally, with less face-to-face interactions, there is less worry over going out and about with peeling skin. If new to including retinol into your skincare routine, consider a product with a lower concentration, such as Retinol Skin Brightener 0.25% by ZO® Skin Health. If your skin has already built up a tolerance to retinol, consider increasing to a higher concentration such as .05% or 1%.

4. Indoor skincare still needs to incorporate sun protection

Natural light from windows or skylights exposes skin to harmful rays that contribute to the signs of aging. Plus, exposure to blue light from computers, cellphones, and other devices have been shown to contribute to the aging of the skin. Finish your AM skincare protocol off with a lightweight SPF product that protects the skin from a wider spectrum of light, like Sunscreen + Powder Broad-Spectrum SPF 40.

Skin Care Ingredients You Shouldn’t Use Together

Anby

Whether we like it or not, there’s not one product that can solve all of your skin’s concerns. Chances are, you have different bottles and jars just to keep your skin happy and healthy. But picking the right formula for your skin type and issues is just one part of the equation. You also need to make sure that the products you use work well together.

The truth is not all skin actives play well with each other. Sometimes, this means they cancel each other out so you don’t get the results you need or expect. Other times, it means your skin can get irritated because of certain ingredient combinations.

Skincare cocktails can be tricky but we’re here to help you out. Here are certain skincare ingredients you shouldn’t mix together or layer on your skin:

Retinol and Vitamin C

Retinol together with vitamin C is a disaster waiting to happen for your skin. When used in one sitting, your skin can get irritated, become red, and peel. It can also increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

If you must include both in your skincare regimen, use retinol and night and vitamin C by day.

AHAs/BHAs and Vitamin C

Used separately, these acids can do wonders for rough, dry, and uneven skin. However, mixing them together destabilizes the pH balance of each ingredient and makes it completely useless for your skin.

Retinol and AHAs/BHAs

Retinol is an excellent peeling agent that stimulates cellular turnover, Meanwhile, AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliants that decongest the skin and reveals healthier skin cells.

However, you shouldn’t use them together or your skin can get extremely dry and irritated. Using them together can also damage your skin’s moisture barrier.

 Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide

These two ingredients work excellently for clearing acne and preventing future breakouts. They are both potent products but benzoyl peroxide can make topical retinol inactive.

Avoid layering these two products. Instead, use them separately. Benzoyl peroxide should be used in the morning while retinol should be used at night.

Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid

Used separately, these are excellent chemical exfoliants. Glycolic acid breaks down dead skin cells on the surface while salicylic acid penetrates deeper and removes pore-clogging sebum and debris.

However, if you want to have healthy skin, more isn’t always better. Avoid mixing these two in one application to prevent stripping and over-exfoliating your skin.

Skincare Shelf Life: Know When to Toss Something Out

Anby

So you’ve splurged on a jar of moisturizer that’s supposed to keep your skin looking glowing and plump. But here’s the catch: you’ve bought it years ago!

If you’ve ever found yourself holding on to your skincare products for longer than what is recommended then your skin may be in a lot of trouble. Today, we’ll be talking about the shelf life of your skincare products. Let’s get started!

Why You Need to Throw Out Expired Skincare

The truth is all beauty products expire. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent $5 or $100 on toner or serum. Over time, it will lose its effectivity and may even affect your skin in a negative way.

There are real risks involved in using products that are past their prime. For starters, as the active ingredients in these products breakdown, they may start to work differently than they should. You’re just coating your skin in goop that won’t give you the benefits you need.

Apart from losing potency, expired products can also harbor bacteria and mold from months of getting exposed to moisture and potentially dirty fingers. When applied to the skin, products that are past their shelf life can cause in irritation and even breakouts.

Product Labels Tell You A Lot

The good news is you don’t have to resort to guesswork to know if it’s time to throw away that bottle of exfoliant. Many beauty products like sunscreen, face creams, and face washes carry a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol that tells you how many months you have after opening a product before you need to throw it out.

It usually appears as a number followed by an M and an icon of an open jar. If you see a “6M” on your moisturizer box or jar then you have half a year after cracking the packaging open until it needs to hit the recycling bin.

When to Throw Products Out

But what if you don’t see a PAO symbol anywhere or you’ve thrown away the box of your favorite product? Well, you’re in luck because there are signs you can look for to determine if you need to throw something away already.

If you see any discoloration in a product, then it’s time to throw it out. If it starts getting a tinge of yellow when it used to be a lovely creamy white, then don’t hesitate to toss it.

You can also check if the texture has changed in any way. Most skincare products are emulsions. If it starts to separate, curdle, or form lumps, don’t even dare to keep it.

Furthermore, if the texture seems off—if a product that’s supposed to be luxuriously smooth starts to feel grainy or streaky, then it is a clear sign that it has gone bad.

Of course, certain classes of products have an average life span. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for you:

  • Cleansers can last for 1 year
  • Toners can go for 6 months to 1 year depending on the formulation
  • BHA or AHA exfoliants typically have a shelf life of 1 year
  • Facial or body moisturizers and serums can last you 6 months to 1 year depending on the type of packaging. Those in jars may get contaminated easier and may last for a shorter period.
  • Lip balm should only be used for 1 year since it gets in contact with your mouth.

10 Superfoods That Are Great for Your Skin

Anby

Did you know that your favorite smoothie and salad ingredients can do more than nourish your body? Nowadays you can find serums, masks, and moisturizers infused with the goodness of superfoods.

These nutrient-dense ingredients deliver glow-boosting benefits to your complexion. Here are is a list of our favorite superfoods you should be looking out for the next time you go skincare shopping:

Flax Seed

Flax is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that can provide unparalleled moisture to the skin. It can also calm and soothe irritated skin. They are also high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that keep your skin looking young and luscious.

Blueberries

If you’re looking for a great anti-aging ingredient, look no further than blueberries. These small fruits pack a punch in delivering antioxidants that combat free radicals that speed up the aging process. It also contains vitamin A which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin for plumper and more lifted skin.

Seaweed

The humble seaweed is delicious in soup and sushi but did you know it can make your skin glow like nobody’s business? It imparts deep hydration so your skin remains plump and it also balances oil production so you can say goodbye to grease and shine!

What’s more, it’s a great ingredient for people with sensitive skin. It is rich in natural minerals such as magnesium and zinc which helps reduce inflammation and inflammation and eases acne and rosacea.

Arugula

Arugula imparts a delicious pep to salads and delivers vitamins to our skin. When applied topically, it acts as a good source of many antioxidants and minerals that help defend skin from environmental damage.

Kiwi

This pleasantly sweet and tart fruit packs a punch in terms of keeping your skin healthy and glowing. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants like vitamins C and E that help neutralize free radicals, treat UV damage, and boost collagen production to keep your skin free from wrinkles and fine lines. 

Oats

Oats is a wonder ingredient that can address inflammatory skin conditions. It can help clear up acne by reducing inflammation and killing bacteria and regulating sebum that clogs up the pores. Oats are also a highly moisturizing ingredient that can soothe dry skin and cool down inflammation. It is also a great ingredient for reducing itching caused by an imbalance in the skin’s pH. Finally, oats are a great exfoliant. It contains saponins that remove dead skin that dulls out your complexion.

Turmeric

This little yellow root is a powerful ingredient that can address many inflammatory issues of the skin. It is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent the onset of hyperpigmentation, scars, and fine lines. 

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil isn’t just great for cooking healthy meals. It can also be used in skin care products to deliver skin-healing antioxidants, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.

It does a number of things to keep your skin looking and feeling its best including calming itchy skin, healing chapped skin, replenishing dry skin, hydrating and moisturizing skin, shielding the skin from ultraviolet radiation, and protecting the skin against environmental damage.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a delicious staple in many kitchens and a beneficial ingredient in skincare. It has excellent moisturizing effects but has a low comedogenic rating which means it doesn’t clog up the pores, unlike other lipids.

This oil is also rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E as well as squalene that keeps free radicals at bay. 

Red Grapes

Red grapes contain Vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, and selenium as well as flavonoids. These nourishing compounds help keep your skin clear, bright, and youthful. It does this by fighting free radicals, killing acne-causing bacteria, removing surface scars, preventing wrinkles, and evening out the skin’s texture.

Emollients: The Secret to Flake-Free Skin

Anby

Everybody wants smooth and bouncy skin. However, factors such as your skin type, daily exposure to the elements, and the products you use can cause dry patches and roughness.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about how you can have flake-free skin using emollients. Let’s get started!

What are They? 

Emollients are a moisturizing agent that smooth and softens the skin by filling in the cracks in the skin barrier. It is known for preventing water loss and lubricating the skin.

Several natural and synthetic ingredients can act as an emollient in skin care products. This includes Butters, oils, esters, lipids, and fatty acids are all considered emollients.

They are often found in moisturizing products such as creams, lotions, and ointments. However, other products can also contain emollients to increase their hydrating and humectant properties.

Emollients and Their Effect on the Skin

Emollients are important for keeping your skin’s health at an optimal level. Environmental factors such as exposure to extreme temperatures and pollution as well as using harsh soaps and cleansers can strip the skin of its natural moisture. Over time, this can lead to overly dry and rough skin. They supplement skin moisture and bring back a healthy glow to the skin.

Ingredients with emollient properties also replenish the skin barrier for a smoother and softer complexion. They help hold skin cells together while also preventing moisture from excessively escaping. Furthermore, it also helps keep the skin safe from irritants.

Furthermore, people suffering from skin conditions that cause irritation and redness can benefit greatly from emollients. They work well in easing the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.

Things to Consider When Using Emollients 

Most emollients are safe to use liberally on the skin. However, you need to be careful when using thicker products since these can have occlusive properties and can easily congest your pores. If you have acne-prone skin, it’s best to stick with those with a lighter texture that won’t clog your pores.

It’s also best to apply these products using gentle sweeping motions along the skin while it is still a bit damp to help seal in moisture. Applying moisturizing products that contain emollients after a shower or after washing your skin helps trap water in and prevents transdermal water loss.

5 Ingredients to Avoid if You Have Dry Skin

Anby

Caring for flay, dry, and rough skin goes beyond slathering in lotions and creams every single day. You need to have a good grasp of what’s in your skincare products because these ingredients could be preventing you from having soft, smooth, and perfectly hydrated skin.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about five ingredients you should avoid if you have dry skin. Let’s get started!

Retinoids

Retinoids and vitamin A derivatives have a great reputation when it comes to treating acne, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and treating inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis. 

However, if you have dry skin, avoid products containing this ingredient. This is because one of the side effects of retinoids is dryness and flakiness. It can exacerbate your existing skin condition so stick to gentler alternatives like resveratrol or carrot oil.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a beauty staple for people with acne-prone skin. However, it can also cause peeling, itching, irritation, and redness especially if your skin is on the parched side.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a very common ingredient in skin care products as it serves many purposes including improving product penetrability and preserving formulations. However, some alcohols can further dry up the skin so go for products that are either alcohol-free or have it in lower concentrations

However, not all types of of alcohol used in skincare are bad. There are fatty alcohols like ethyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol that can be beneficial. Typically, fatty alcohols are used as emollients and thickeners in skin-care products.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a great skin softener with exfoliating properties. However, if your skin is on the dry side, you may have to be cautious when using products with this ingredient. 

Though generally considered safe, some people may have skin sensitivity to it, and if they use it regularly, may end up with skin that is dry, red, and peeling. Salicylic acid may help with acne temporarily, but over the long term can dry and thin your skin.

Fragrances and Preservatives

Perfumed products may smell wonderful and feel luxurious to use but fragrances and preservatives can irritate your skin. These can dry out your skin and cause flaking and chapping. Go for fragrance-free options to keep your complexion soft and hydrated.

Blue Light: Could It Be Damaging Your Skin?

Anby

We’ve all been taught that UVA and UVB rays have damaging effects on the skin. But recently, researchers have discovered that the light emitted by your beloved smartphones, tablets, TV, and computer screens could potentially harm your skin

In this blog, we’ll be talking about blue light and its effect on the health of your skin. Let’s get started!

What is Blue Light?

Blue light, also called high-energy visible light, is a high-frequency and short wave light belonging to the violet and blue band of the spectrum. It is the only part of the light that is visible to the naked eye.

Our exposure to blue light typically comes from the sun. However, devices like smartphones, tablets, televisions, and LED bulbs also emit this kind of light.

Normal exposure to blue light emitted by the sun is actually beneficial. It can stimulate alertness, improve memory, and elevate your mood.

The problem comes when you are constantly exposed to it at night from electronic devices. This is because blue light can also disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm and affect the quality of your sleep.

What Does it Do to the Skin?

Apart from affecting sleep, dermatologists have discovered that blue light can also affect your skin. 

While further research is needed to verify this, initial studies have shown evidence that blue light can penetrate the skin and cause oxidative damage This can result in inflammation and the breakdown of collagen and elastin as well as the development of hyperpigmentation.

Preventing Damage Caused by Blue Light

The science surrounding blue light is still in its early stages. However, you can take extra caution to keep your skin protected from its potential ill effects.

You can limit your usage of electronic devices especially at night. You can also install covers that block blue light from your smartphones and computers.

Since studies suggest that blue light plays a role in photo-aging, it is more important now to apply sunscreen. Go for mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide since they physically block harmful light.

It is also important to use products that have antioxidants that prevent oxidative and free radical damage. Products containing vitamin C and E can help prevent the aging and damaging effects of blight light on your skin.

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