Hey everyone! Welcome back to Beauty Within! It's your host, Felicia 🙂 And today, we're here to talk about something that's been on a lot of your minds when it comes to skincare routines.
And that's layering active ingredients ~ Yes, what a wonderful world we live where we have a billion options to slather over our face.
It's understandable because we're often faced with so many different products [and] so many different ingredients.
And we buy them from different brands.
And, you know, they come in different consistencies [and] they have different actives.
But sometimes it's a different percentage.
And we're just overwhelmed! And it's even worse when you research the words that pop up and they say, “Apply this cream before your sunscreen!” Or, “Apply this oil before your moisturizer or after!” So we even get a lot of comments from you guys asking us whether you know pairing certain products is okay for your skin type.
So in this , we're gonna go through vitamin A B C, which is retinol, niacinamide, and l-ascorbic acid.
As well as things like AHAs/BHAs.
And how to incorporate them all into this ecosystem of ingredients! Essentially, it's like a guidebook so that you guys know which skincare combinations [and] which key active ingredients will work together well.
But just keep in mind that it's not going to be the same for everyone.
So if you guys haven't noticed, there are a lot of different active ingredients out there! So we'll quickly go over the most common ingredients that you'll find.
So the first one is vitamin A.
And you'll probably know of this more as retinoids or retinols.
So retinoids or retinols are vitamin A derived antioxidants.
And they are amazing at increasing cell turnover in our skin! So this means it helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
It evens out the texture.
And it even kills acne-causing bacteria, which is why it's sometimes really effective for acne-prone skin.
And fun fact is when vitamin A first came out, it wasn't an anti-aging [ingredient].
Or it wasn't designed for wrinkles.
It was actually helping with acne because it helps to constrict the pores [and] it helps with cell turnover.
And therefore, the pores aren't clogged.
So other names of retinoids you might be familiar with are tretinoin, retin-a, adapalene, differen, and also retinaldehyde.
And if you've tried any sort of retinol or retinoid, you'll know that these side effects of vitamin A is that it can be very drying on the skin.
So when you use this, you always want to pair it with much more hydration and moisturization.
So now moving on to vitamin B3! Otherwise known as my favorite! Niacinamide.
So niacinamide is known as the MVP for most skin types.
Niacinamide itself is a nutrient that we find in our body and that, you know, we naturally produce that helps change carbohydrates into energy.
So niacinamide has a long well-researched and documented history into helping all sorts and every kind of facet of skin condition like dullness [and] pore size.
It helps balance sebum production.
It helps with texture.
And it works great with sensitive skin, as well.
Because compared to things like vitamin C, which we're gonna get into in just a second, it's not as acidic.
It sits around the 4.
5 section of the pH scale, which means your skin will not be irritated by it.
And when we talk about how to mix certain ingredients, you'll find that niacinamide actually pairs well with many different ingredients because of this reason, as well.
Alright, now moving on to vitamin C.
And there's a lot of different vitamin C derivatives, but the pure form is known as l-ascorbic acid.
So vitamin C is a very very popular ingredient.
Very popular! We know a lot of you guys search for it [and] that you want to know how to pair it.
There's a lot of kind of myths and opinions about how to actually use vitamin C so that it is super effective on the skin.
So vitamin C is known for its overall brightening effects, as well as promoting elastin and collagen production in the dermis layer of the skin.
But the downside of l-ascorbic acid in its pure form as a liquid, [is that] it can be very fickle and unstable as an ingredient.
It's probably the most unstable one out there.
And because of its unstable nature, that's why I think there is a lot of confusion when it comes to how to properly use vitamin C.
And it will change from product to product because we'll find that it's in a lot of serums.
It's also in booster forms.
It's also in certain moisturizers.
It's also one of those ingredients that has, as we said, a lot of different derivatives.
So if you see on the back of the packaging in the ingredients list that there's tetrahexydecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl glucoside, or even magnesium ascorbyl phosphate to just name a few, those are all derivatives of vitamin C.
And if you have sensitive skin, these derivatives will work better with you because it's not as potent.
And so they're kind of formulated in a way that won't cause as much irritation.
So now moving on to AHAs, also known as alpha hydroxy acid! So AHAs are actually fruit derived or milk derived water-soluble substances that act as chemical exfoliants for our skin.
And how it works is it helps to slough away the excess dead skin that's lying on the very surface layer of our skin.
So, you know how we go through skin regeneration? Sometimes your skin just gets trapped in the glue, and it can't actually like fly away as it should.
So AHAs help unclog the pores and even out the skin tone by kind of reducing all that deadness around.
Which means it also helps with blackheads and whiteheads, as well.
So the most common AHAs you'll find on the market are glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, mandelic, and citric acid.
And, once again, all of these differ in molecular weights and sizes.
So for example, the glycolic acid is the most potent because it is the smallest form, which means it can sink down deeper into the layers of the skin.
Compared to something like lactic acid, which is a little bit better for sensitive skin because it's not as potent.
So you'll find these scattered in different products.
Alright, now moving on to BHA.
Which is known as beta hydroxy acid.
And if you have acne-prone skin, you will know this very well, inside and out! Hahaha.
So in a similar vein, BHA is also a chemical exfoliant that works to remove the dead cells and flakes on the skin's surface.
But unlike AHAs, BHA is an oil-soluble substance, which allows them to penetrate deeper into our pores, because our pores have sebum, to then dissolve any excess or any bacteria mixed in with the sebum that's actually causing acne.
So for acne-prone skin, BHA is a great option to help control sebum production.
It helps to smooth and minimize the look of enlarged pores and just handle and control the breakouts that way.
So now that we know what the key active ingredients are, let's go on to which pairings or which ingredients go well together.
So the first pairing or the first duo.
The lovely duo: Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C! So for those who have been watching our channel, we talk endlessly about how dehydrated skin can lead to skin looking and feeling just really dull.
Without love, without a tender loving stroke.
There there! So when you mix hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, you're actually getting an extra synergistic boost in the skin for brightening and hydrating.
And this duo not only helps with dehydrated skin, but the vitamin C helps to even out wrinkles and discoloration and just that overall brightening effect.
Moving on to the next pair, which is azelaic acid and vitamin C.
You know how much I love azelaic acid! We mentioned it previously in my skincare routine, so make sure you check that out! Not only is it a skin-friendly ingredient, but it's basically a miracle in a tube! Because it helps to calm down inflammation, it kills off acne-causing bacteria, and it even treats post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation in a very gentle way.
So when it's paired with vitamin C, these effects multiply and amplify.
So if you are facing any discoloration [and] you want to brighten out and even out your skin tone, this is a duo that I would highly recommend.
Moving on to the next best friends is retinol and niacinamide! So combining niacinamide with retinol is actually a really great combo for sensitive skin types, especially if you are kind of looking into starting a retinol-infused skincare routine.
Because niacinamide helps the skin tolerate the potent effects of retinol.
And not only does niacinamide help to dilute the retinol and calm the skin down because of its anti-inflammatory properties, but it also helps the skin to stimulate ceramide production.
And ceramides are the lipids and the glues that hold our skin together so that it is strong and protected.
So I love my niacinamide, I love my retinols.
But just a little side note, you don't have to start retinols before you're 25.
Just don't even think about it.
Unnecessary! Alright, so the next duo is niacinamide and vitamin C.
So this one has been a controversial duo, and you'll see a lot of different articles saying that you should avoid this at all costs.
But the thing is we've previously talked about this as more of a myth because once upon a time it was true.
And in those studies, the vitamin C that was studied was quite unstable.
And it was exposed to temperatures and heat that were not typically exposed to as, you know, a human being using a skincare routine in the morning and night.
But now with more innovative formulations of products that include vitamin C and niacinamide, it's actually quite safe on the skin.
So with that aside, combining vitamin C and niacinamide is found to help to smooth out wrinkles and even out dull and pigmented skin, especially when it concerns things like post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation.
So the last duo that we'll mention before jumping into a foolproof skincare routine and how to actually, you know, step-by-step put it in together is vitamin C, E, and ferulic acid.
This is the trifecta of ingredients! As we know by now, vitamin C is super unstable.
But when you pair it with vitamin E and ferulic acid, it actually helps to stabilize and actually boost the efficacy of vitamin C.
And it actually helps to calm down the irritation that could be happening.
As well as nourish the skin in the meantime.
Which is why you'll find a lot of products with this combination trio.
And when you use it throughout the day, it's really helping create that ironclad shield that's protecting your skin from the environment, from UV rays, and also stimulating collagen.
So it's like this inside-out effect.
So it's really really great! So now we know what the key ingredients are, what they do, [and] which combinations will generally work well together, let's now talk about how to actually layer them in the order so that it is the most effective in our skin.
So there are actually two methods.
The first method is through looking at the texture or the consistency of the product.
The second way is actually through the pH, which is a little bit more on the advanced side.
So let's first start with the texture! Okay, so rule of thumb is that you'll want to apply your skincare products from the thinnest or the most watery in consistency to the thickest or the creamiest or oiliest of textures.
So thin consistency products are water-based, and it works really quickly in sinking into our skin.
So these include things like toners and serums.
Then, thick textured products will contain more oils that serve as “emollients”.
So emollients just means that it helps to trap the water or the hydration in our skin.
And it also softens the skin.
But this is very different to actually hydrating.
So what moisturizers and these thicker ingredients do is it acts as a blanket to make sure everything that you applied beforehand, which is the more watery products, to keep that all trapped into the deeper layers of the skin so that the cells are hydrated and happy.
Another way of looking at this is when you combine oil and water.
When you place both into a glass, you will notice that the oil and water separate into two layers, right? The oil is floating on the top, while the water is settling on the bottom.
So this is a very simple visual representation of what can actually happen on our skin.
This is why we want to apply watery consistencies first and then top it off with oils because you want to seal all of that in your skin.
Now moving on to layering through pH levels.
This is one approach that's especially important if you're choosing to incorporate different active ingredients.
Just a little recap on what the pH level is.
It ranges from 0 to 14 from acidic to alkaline.
And if your product is too acidic on the lower side, you might experience things like irritated, red, or inflamed skin.
Well, on the other opposite end.
If something is very alkaline, it can make your skin really dry, flaky, and dehydrated.
And our skin is constantly changing up and down on this pH scale at every step in our routine.
But the ideal level and where our skin naturally lies is between 4.
5 to 5.
So the interesting thing is that the lower the pH is, the more likely the product can actually absorb into the skin.
So for AHAs and BHAs and vitamin C, these all lie lower in the pH level.
So naturally you're going to want to incorporate these acids first or earlier on in your skincare routine.
Then things like retinols, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, and even, you know, skin-friendly plant oils including jojoba [and] rosehip, this is higher up on the pH scale and ranging between 4.
5 – 7.
And this indicates that they are more skin barrier-friendly ingredients that can help you rebalance the skin and leave your skin at its most optimal state.
So after you apply your low pH acids, you can start applying the other actives on top of that.
And then by the end of it, you'll be one happy bee! Alright, now with all that said, let's break this down into which key active ingredients will work better in the morning and which one at night.
The essentials of a daytime routine is that you want to cleanse, you want a moisturizer, and you need a sunscreen.
These are the three things that will not budge in a day routine! So when you want to start including any of the active ingredients that we've talked about, you want to do this after you cleanse.
So cleansing, active ingredients, moisturizer, then SPF.
“So which active ingredients will work best in the morning?” So you want to think of your day routine and layering the different product to fight against external environmental damages.
So vitamin C, as we said before.
When it's paired with things like vitamin E and also ferulic acid, it really helps to strengthen your skin's defenses against the harmful UVA/UVB rays that's really killing off your DNA and making you prematurely age.
And it's also helping to fight off the free radicals that you don't see that are also damaging your skin on a microscopic level.
So I personally love using a vitamin C serum.
The one you'll see that I use is the Obagi one that has actually all three of these ingredients.
So I cleanse my skin.
I use a – maybe a hyaluronic acid toner.
And then I'll pair it with a vitamin C serum and then moisturize and sunscreen.
So that's a very basic, very foolproof daytime routine.
So the next ingredients that can work really well in the day, you can definitely use them day and night, is AHAs, BHAs, and azelaic acid.
If you are fighting things with hyperpigmentation, acne marks, or you just want overall skin brightening, you can use AHAs like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or mandelic acid in the forms of toners and serums.
Otherwise if you have active breakouts, you might want to try a BHA toner or serum.
You can also try something called gluconolactone, which is known as PHA! Which is a gentler, more milder form of AHA.
And then there's azelaic acid, which is my best friend! So if you decide that you want to incorporate these in your routine, it will look a little something like this.
After cleansing, you'll start using your vitamin C because of the low pH level.
So then after vitamin C, you can use your AHAs or BHAs or azelaic acid.
And we would suggest you just choose one because you do not need all of them! And then after all those, you want to use a simple moisturizer and then obviously an SPF.
So that's just an example of what you can do in a daytime routine.
It really just depends on what your skin is feeling on the day [and] what you want to really target.
And then knowing which key active ingredients will subtly help throughout the day.
So then moving on to a nighttime routine.
Essentially everything stays the same, but one key active ingredient that you can incorporate is the retinol.
Because retinol will work at night to really help with your cell regeneration to then be able to reveal fresh and healthy skin by the morning.
And then by the morning, you'll then protect it.
So it's like this cycle.
And retinols will come in serum forms, as well as moisturizer forms.
As well as booster forms, which is probably the most potent.
But there'll also be retinols that are incorporated into a moisturizer, which is much better if you're just entering into this whole applying retinols.
And according to cosmetic dermatologist, Dr.
Sam Bunting, who also has a channel on YouTube, she says that retinoids are recommended for nighttime use because they are fragile when it is exposed to the sun.
And retinoids by nature are photosensitive.
There's kind of two general ways that you can look at applying retinols in your nighttime routine.
If you want the maximum effectiveness, you can apply it straight after cleansing.
And then apply your moisturizer and you can call it a day.
If you are just starting out and you don't know if it's gonna work with your skin, you want to create a buffer on the skin so that it's not SO potent.
You can use your hyaluronic acid serum or toner or your niacinamide toner or serum and then apply it with the retinol or even vice versa.
And then seal it with a moisturizer.
Okay, so that is just a general approach on how to pair and how to layer key active ingredients in your routine.
So now we just want to answer a little bit more of the questions that we always see you guys leave.
First is, “How do I adjust the dose of my active ingredients when we are irritated?” Those are the times that we should really strip back and not go crazy on using key active ingredients.
But there are ingredients that can help your skin rebuild itself back into a healthy state.
So these will include hyaluronic acid, skin-friendly oils like jojoba or rosehip, and things that incorporate ceramides.
All these will really help your skin build itself back! And then we would say stay away from things like vitamin C [and] AHA/BHA because that is just going to further irritate your skin and break it down and basically cook it even more.
Next comment that we want to point out is some people ask, “How many active ingredients should I combine or Incorporate into my routine because I have so many!” So when it comes to this question, it really does just boil down to what you want to fix.
So is it hyperpigmentation? Is it acne? Is it dryness? So we would say even though we gave you guys a bunch of different combinations that do work together, do not feel that you have to use them in conjunction at all.
The easiest way and the best way is to actually just pick one.
Start with that.
And then you can rewatch our video at the beginning to then incorporate maybe two.
And personally, I would keep it at that, people.
Just keep it at that.
Next and last comment that we want to address is pilling.
So sometimes when we're applying our skincare products, by the end of it we get this weird little granules and clumps of stuff on our skin that kind of looks like eraser shavings.
True that! And chances are it's because you didn't leave enough time and really let each product work its way into your skin before applying the next product.
So actually you're just creating your own little skincare concoction, and it wasn't able to penetrate.
And that's probably why pilling happens.
So if this happens, our advice is to just take a little bit of extra time between each of your steps.
We're not saying let your toner completely dry out on your face before applying the next one.
But just let it sink in for about, you know, 10 seconds to 30 seconds.
Because we still want the skin to be damp when you apply the next product, but not wet.
But if you let it absorb a little bit more and you have given that extra time and it is still pilling, it could be that the ingredients maybe like the silicones and the dimethicones aren't mixing well with other ingredients of another product's formulation.
So you can try just mix in and out.
So don't worry! It happens to all of us.
I do that all the time.
And I'm like, “What the heck happened?” And then you have to start all over again, but it's okay! So that is our video highlighting key active ingredients, what they do, and how you can layer them into a general skincare routine.
We just wanted to share with you guys the combinations that we thought would be really safe for you guys to use in your routine based on the studies that are out there from dermatologists [and] from different skincare journals.
And the ones that we didn't mention like retinol and vitamin C because of the unstable nature, we would just avoid it.
So hope it all makes a little bit more sense now.
And once again, it really just comes down to each of your own skin types [and] what products you have.
So if you have any other questions, make sure you leave it down below.
Make sure you are subscribed.
Make sure you turned on the notification bell so that you can learn with us every single week.
And we'll see you in the next episode.
Bye! It's so hot! My freakin' clammy! Mehhhhhh.
*blow blow* *twist twist* And I'm wearing leather! Dyifferen and retin.
So niacinamide is known as the MP – MP3.
*lol* *DJ FEL* Okay.
Oh my god! This tea is so good! *Thank you for watching <3*.