What’s in a Beauty Cream?

By | January 13, 2018

People in the world spend millions of dollars on skin care. This competitive market has produced an extensive array of products. What do some of them actually contain?


Retin-A is a prescription drug, also known as tretinoin, belonging to a family of skin care medication called the retinoids. A vitamin A derivative, it is used for treatment of acne, blackheads, whiteheads and hyper pigmentation. Retin-A medication comes in different concentration for different purposes and skin types. When applied, your skin becomes more sensitive during that period.

The main purpose of Retin-A is to exfoliate, stimulate the development and growth of new skin cells, including collagen and improving skin texture. Retin-A is also mixed with other bleaching agents to remove pigmentation on the skin (especially effective when used together with microdermabrasion).

AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids), derived from fruit and milk sugars are widely used by dermatologists and aestheticians as peeling agents. Similar to microdermabrasion, AHA such as glycolic acid (from sugar) or lactic acid (from milk) are exfoliants, commonly used for smoothing out wrinkles and reducing the appearance of scars.

AHA is the most effective in concentration of 6-8% at pH range 3-4. Being acids, it can irritate the skin, producing side effects such as rash, redness and swelling. AHA products over the counter must not contain more than 10% concentration, beyond which only certified professionals are allowed to use.

HA (Hyaluronic Acid)

HA (Hyaluronic acid) is a complex substance found in the dermis and epidermis that maintain the amount of moisture in our skin. This is what gives skin its firmness and fullness by holding water and allowing nutrients to reach our cells. However, this element gradually recedes over time and the loss is known to be as high as 50% by the time we are 50 years old.

People buy anti ageing creams containing HA in order to compensate for this loss, hoping to reduce acne scars, wrinkles, sagging skin and rehydrate the skin. It is a good alternative to collagen due to its ability to produce skin plumping effects. Found also in medical applications, it is used for treating eye disorders, arthritis and other joint ailments.

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