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Dear Derm: What Are The Ingredients I Should Be Looking Out For/Avoiding In Products?

Time to find out what really works.

Some viral skin-care trends are all style and no substance. 

As we've seen, popular products like peel-off masks, chemical-heavy ointments or even coconut oil can prove more harmful than good.

We asked Dublin-based skincare specialist Ciara Darcy to give us the skinny on what really works and what really doesn't.

"When it comes to ingredients it's a team effort," she says.

"The combination and quantity of each ingredient determines how effective the product will be for your skin. Cosmetic companies are required to list product ingredients in order from highest to the lowest trace amounts, but not the actual amount of each.

"This loophole means that by including trace amounts of a popular hero ingredient the brand can advertise it as a wonder product, misleading consumers to think it will make massive changes to their skin's health.

"When a product has a negligible amount of said ingredient it's called 'angel dusting'. Angel dusting is rampant in the skincare world so watch out for it when choosing your products."

"Hyaluronic acid serums differ depending on molecular weight, added ingredients, extensive research/trials and packaging. Smaller molecular weight hyaluronic acid can penetrate better through the skin to give a plumping effect.

"Hyaluronic acid serums are everywhere at the moment and your skin will benefit to some degree from using one, but for optimal results and visible changes, it's worth researching.

The hero ingredients to look out for are as follows:

  • Matrixyl Synthe 6 - derived from a peptide naturally found in collagen and laminin (a protein network, the foundation for most of your cells and organs). Matrixyl stimulates the production of collagen, elastin, fibronectin and laminin. A powerhouse for the creation of healthy skin cells!
  • Sea Whip - a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient extracted from marine organisms - if redness and sensitivity are your concern.
  • Hinokitol - a multifunctional superpower ingredient proven to have antioxidant, anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-melogenic properties. Hinokitol has been studied for decades, there are more than 100 scientific articles on its biological effects.
  • Zinc Oxide - protects against harmful UV rays.

"When it comes to products I'd always choose quality over quantity," Ciara concludes.

"A consistent daily skincare routine with a few simple steps will give you healthy skin. Healthy skin has a balanced oil production, limited pigment production and it has a strong barrier against the elements (sun/wind/pollution).

"If redness, sensitivity, acne, rosacea or hyperpigmentation are a concern for you there is an underlying cause. A skin consultation will get to the root of that cause. A treatment plan and homecare routine can be created to achieve healthy glowing skin at every age."

To book a skin consultation with me please email [email protected].

Otherwise, you can listen to her on the Alison Curtis breakfast show on TodayFM this Sunday, February 2 to answer listeners questions.

Main image by @emrata