Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and must be given essential care. Over the years, humans have developed, created, and produced different skin care products.
Skin creams, lotions, moisturizers, serums and cleansers are just a few cosmetic products in the market today. Knowing the difference between these various skin care products can be quite confusing. Some people still cannot differentiate between a moisturizer and a lotion.
A skin cream is one skincare product that you cannot do without. It is important because there are so many factors that influence your skin and how it looks.
Genetics, skin condition, diet, hormones, sun exposure and pollution are just a few. Therefore, a skin cream can correct and counter the effects of these factors.
Everyone at one time or the other has made use of a skin cream. Some of us grew up to discover a certain kind of cream being used in the family.
Others were gifted or recommended a skin cream. A majority of us got one for ourselves, though, because we had to use one.
However, for one who is truly concerned about taking good care of their skin, the above won’t cut it. There must be a deliberate and conscious effort to understand what kind of skin cream works best for you.
Now this might prove to be a herculean task due to the number of skin creams on sale today.
Nevertheless, this buying guide will equip you with the relevant information you require to get that amazing skin cream.
Table of Contents
Differentiating between a Skin Cream and a Skin Moisturizer
The first step to getting a good skin cream is to know what a skin cream actually is. You should be able to differentiate it from a skin lotion or skin moisturizer.
Even though a skin cream and a moisturizer might look alike in form and texture, they are not the same. Well at least, not the same majorly when it comes to their properties and functions.
A moisturizer basically serves the purpose of moisture control while a cream cares for a lot of skin issues. A moisturizer will always seep into the skin while a skin cream works on the surface of the skin.
Generally, we could say a moisturizer is a type of cream. Most skin creams contains moisturizing ingredients. Ironically, many brands still name their skin cream products as moisturizers. The function of the product is actually more important than the name it bears.
A skin cream is a mixture of ingredients and chemicals that are designed topically for skin application and skin-related issues. There are different kinds of creams, made to take care of different skin issues. Some even are pharmaceutical in design.
A skin cream can either be an oil-in-water cream or water-in-oil cream. This is just the mixture form in which a skin cream can be manufactured.
Some of these creams are only used in the night while some are just for use in the day. A few of them are suitable for both night and day use. Bear this in mind when making that purchase.
Types of Skin Cream Based on Function
Most skin creams are formulated to perform the following functions:
BB Creams (Beauty Balm Creams)
This kind performs two tasks at the same time. First, it moisturizes your skin and then gives your skin tone an even blend.
CC Creams (Color Correcting Creams)
This kind works on your skin color and color-associated skin problems. It corrects blemishes such as dark spots, redness, etc.
DD Creams (Dynamic Do-all Creams)
This does all what the BB and CC creams can do with a cherry on the top. That is, it also serves as an anti-aging cream. With powerful ingredients, this kind of cream can reduce wrinkles as well as other aging signs.
Ingredients to Look for in a Skin Cream
There are certain ingredients that are very essential and important for your skin cream to contain. So before putting that skin cream into your cart, check out for these:
Retinol (Retin-A and Renova)
This is a type of vitamin A. It causes and brings about the growth of collagen as well as increase blood flow. It also works on the skin’s tone, color and texture. Retin-A is used in the treatment of acne; it also has the potential of restoring a youthful glow.
The problem of dryness to skin that Retin-A brings is countered by Renova, but with the same amazing effects. So if your skin is oily, it’s best you look for a skin cream with Retin-A. And if your skin is dry pick a Renova containing skin cream.
Using a sunscreen is required when using Retin-A or Renova. Their application exposes the skin to become more sun sensitive.
Skin creams highly loaded with vitamin C assists the skin greatly in collagen production. Collagen which is produced in the dermis (the thick layer of skin which is not seen), is very important to the skin. It increases the skin’s elasticity and makes the skin glow.
For the young people, vitamin C enriched skin cream would do your skin wonders. Also a person with dry skin must always look for products with vitamin C.
When getting a skin cream with Vitamin C, search for those with ‘MAP’ on the container.
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
This ingredient is one of the very well-known ingredients found in skin creams and skin care goods. It works on age spots, fine lines, and uneven skin color and reduces visible pores.
However, one might experience certain consequences using products containing alpha-hydroxy acid. These might include sensitivity to the sun and little skin irritation, if you have a sensitive skin type.
Yet, this can be addressed effectively by gradually using such a product. This will cause the skin to adjust to the application of the alpha-hydroxy acid. It is advisable to begin with a skin cream with that has concentrated AHA of 10% to 15% most.
Examples of alpha-hydroxy acids are lactic, citric, tartaric, and glycolic acids.
Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
Unlike alpha-hydroxy acids, a beta-hydroxy acid doesn’t irritate skin like the former. Yet, it is capable of performing that which alpha-hydroxy acids can do.
BHAs enhance the skin’s texture and improve the color of a skin that is discolored by the sun. They also treat acne ridden skins by entering into the skin through its pores.
However, it is interesting to know that not all BHAs are sold at stores’ counters. Some of them require that a doctor recommends them. This is important to know lest you damage your skin with that which isn’t suitable for you.
It is used for the sole purpose of lightening the skin’s complexion. They are referred to as bleaching creams. Dark spots and age spots are the commonly treated using these powerful ingredients.
They can be a source of allergic reactions due to their powerful reaction with the skin. If you notice such, stay away from this ingredient at all cost. Also, do NOT pick a skin cream containing this ingredient if you don’t want your skin becoming lighter.
This is great in acting as a bleaching agent just like hydroquinone, but without the allergic nature. It treats pigment issues by slowing down the skin’s melanin production.
This ingredient is found naturally in young skins and in very large amounts. Nature doesn’t allow this large amount of hyaluronic acid last for long as we age.
Popularly dubbed “key to the fountain of youth”, this acid is used in caring for skins that have wrinkles. It also locks in the skin’s moisture to keep it hydrated. To get more effectiveness from Hyaluronic acid, it is best you pair it with a product that has vitamin C in it.
If you’re looking for an ingredient that will boost collagen production, then copper peptide should be your pick. It can easily cause smoothness to a rough skin. Elastin is also produced when copper peptide is introduced to the skin. Not only does it add both elastin and collagen, it also gets rid of damaged ones.
It is an antioxidant with the dual nature of being soluble in either water or oil. This enables it permeate to every skin cell part and bring about protection against free radicals that break up skin texture. Alpha-lipoic acid is a super-antioxidant in the sense that it enhances other antioxidants’ levels. It would be safer to have very few antioxidants in your cream when combined with alpha-lipoic acid.
The usage of DMAE on the skin brings about fine line decrease as well as wrinkles.
The following ingredients should not be part of your skin cream:
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is used in skin creams and general cosmetics. This ingredient has proven to be toxic to the body even when in lesser concentrations.
Skin irritation, brain damage and reproductive problems are negative effects of the usage and application of phenoxyethanol.
Mostly used as a fragrance, TEA can cause a wide variety of health issues. Allergies, cancer and toxins in the organs are just a few of such. Run away from TEA and I don’t mean the one you drink.
To avoid being deceived, it can come in disguises on labels with ‘MEA’ and ‘DEA’. It is still triethanolamine, don’t pick it.
Paraffin wax or petroleum
Certain products contain paraffin wax or petroleum commonly called mineral oil. This should be avoided because they prevent moisture from escaping the skin; which is dangerous to oily-skins. They also clog up pores and cause skin irritations.
Para-amiobenzoic acid (PABA)
It is a UV block found in sunscreens and can be listed as an ingredient in skin creams with sunscreens. This is harmful to your skin as it causes allergic reaction, so avoid it.
Know Your Skin Type
It is also best of you know your skin type. Why is this important? Most manufacturers make skin creams with the objective of solving a particular skin type related issue. It will be counter-productive if you pick a cream that’s designed to do the opposite of what your skin needs.
Basically, there are 5 major skin types. Let us briefly look at them below:
This has a blended, well-toned, skin texture. This kind of skin just requires maintenance rather than correcting a defect. Nevertheless, always use a sunscreen contained skin cream.
This skin type always appears full of oil on the skin’s surface. A skin cream that isn’t rich in oil-based substances should be avoided.
This can easily be detected by observing the T-zone on one’s face. The T-zone will have more oil than other parts of the face.A skin cream with skin-blend function is suitable for this skin type.
It gets easily irritated because of its sensitive nature. It has the tendency of looking red, as well as having other skin blemishes. Avoid skin creams that have lesser acid-based ingredients.
Has the look of dryness, flakiness and roughness. Your skin tends to look as if it is powdered whereas it is not. Avoid skin creams that have alcohol. Glycerin, alpha-hydroxy acids and hyaluronic acid are ingredients one with a dry skin should look for.
Pointers to Ensure You Make a Good Skin Cream Purchase
Confirm the complete ingredient list
This is essential because certain ingredients might be harmful to your skin. If they are not fully stated then purchasing such product isn’t advisable. Any manufacturer that refuses full disclosure of what’s in their product shouldn’t be trusted with your skin.
Purchase from an open and reliable manufacturer
As stated above, the manufacturer or brand you make your purchase from should be one that is transparent in their dealings and products.
There are so many brands out there with toxic materials as ingredients. Avoid companies that haven’t been tested. And even if you choose a new brand, make sure they are open to disclose fully what’s in their product.
Get one with sunscreen
As much as the sun is the source of all life, it can be a source of death. Always get a skin cream that has sunscreen to prevent your skin being exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. It affords you the chance to be economical and save the cost of getting a separate sunscreen.
Get a cream that’s designed for your age
Skin creams are mostly made with a particular age group in mind. Therefore, it is important that you also pick one that suits your age bracket.A teenager picking a skin cream with anti-aging ingredients will be absurd. And an adult using a skin cream prepared for teenagers would be stupid. Definitely, the effect of such choice wouldn’t be desirable.
Find out the skin cream’s shell life
Do NOT purchase a skin cream with an unusual long shell life. Most products that have such shell life are laced with preservatives that are harmful to your skin. Go for products that have a short shell life which will prevent you from introducing harmful ingredients to your skin.
Avoid plastic containers
Plastics contain BisphenolA (BPA) which isn’t good for the body. It is quite common for BPA in cream containers to leach into the cream itself. Go for glass containers and if you must pick plastic, make sure it’s BPA-free.
Get an anti-aging skin cream (if you’re older)
Less sebum is produced as you grow older which causes the skin to become dry and develop wrinkles. An anti-aging skin cream will help you counter this.
There is no perfect skin cream out there; all you can do is be informed about what they contain. When you have that understanding, you can readily buy one that will work for you. Feel free to leave your comments below.