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Common skin care ingredients that get a bad reputation, but shouldn’t.

Most ingredients that have a bad reputation have earned it. With that being said, improper use can also carry a lot of that blame. Another thing to note is that people have different skin types, so if your friend has great results, that does’t necessarily mean that you will as well.

What are some misunderstood skin care ingredients?

Salicylic acid is known for causing skin irritations but is actually readily tolerated by most skins, even sensitive skin when introduced in a low percentage and over a slow time line.

Over the counter and prescription vitamin A derivates, also known as retinoids, frequently irritate the skin. If you are new to using a topical retinoid acid or retinol cream, you may not expect the reddening and flakiness that most users experience, causing you to interpret this normal response as a skin reaction. Long term users might take a break from their retinol cream during the summer, only to find that when they start up their routine again, their tolerance has dropped right back to where they started. For example, the 1% cream you were using is now causing a mild reaction causing you to either go back to using a lower percentage cream or using it less frequently until your skin is able to tolerate the higher dose.

Why do some ingredients get a bad reputation?

A lack of information is one reason why some skin care ingredients have a bad reputation. Insufficient information on the behalf of the person buying products over the counter or self prescribing, in some cases can lead to improper use. Improper use can warrant undesirable effects, in-turn giving that ingredient a bad reputation and unfortunately some nasty side effects. Also, there can be circumstances where the physician prescribing the products did not have adequate followup with their patients throughout the course of treatment, only to see them months down the line when the problem is much worse. A situation like this can also give some ingredients a bad reputation.

One common skin care ingredient that is definitely deserving of its bad reputation is Hydroquinone. Incorrect use of Hydroquinone has led to serous cases of Ochronosis which can manifest in some individuals as a blue-black skin discoloration. These patients who were using the ingredients to inhibit melanin production ended up with a discoloration of skin far worse and more difficult to correct or conceal. However, when hydroquinone is prescribed effectively under a dermatologist care and used properly with a customized skin care treatment plan with regular followup, the results can be rewarding.

Can these ingredients be bad for some people?

Yes, it is always important to know your skin type as well as your tolerance to a particular ingredient. Reading vetted material from the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as visits to a board-certified Dermatologists are two great ways to learn more about your skin type.

Posted in: Skin Care, Uncategorized