13 09 abc ingredients products tbYour guide to ingredients and what they do.

As the kids head back to school, it’s time for the rest of us to have a lesson on the ingredients you should look for in topical treatments. We’ve enlisted the help of a dermatologist to take us through common ingredients, what they do and how our skin benefits from them so you and your skin care professional can create an A+ regimen for your skin this fall.

Understand your skin

“The most important step in developing a skin care regimen is addressing the needs of a patient,” explains Dr. Anatoli Freiman, MD, FCPC, DABD of the Toronto Dermatology Centre. No two people have exactly the same skin, so individual regimens are required. “Get a credible, up-to-date skin care assessment from a professional to ensure you understand what your skin needs today,” he adds.

Once you and your dermatologist have a better idea of those needs—from hydration to collagen stimulation to evening skin tone—it’ll be easier for you both to discern which ingredients will work best for your skin. Here are the most common ingredients, listed by a combination of effectiveness and prevalence, along with examples of products containing them.

Retinol

The purest form of vitamin A, retinol is an essential ingredient for maintaining healthy skin. “Retinol helps to stimulate cell turnover,” explains Dr. Freiman. “It increases collagen production in the skin and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and early wrinkles.” For patients using retinol for the first time, Dr. Freiman recommends they use it every other day and slowly increase the frequency. “People should be careful not to combine retinol with other exfoliating products, such as alpha hydroxy acid, which can irritate the skin,” he adds. “And if you’re pregnant, don’t use it at all.”

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Left: PrecisionMD Vivatia Active Complex 0.5% Unique retinol foam formula absorbs quickly for more radiant, younger-looking skin. $90, available through medical aesthetic offices and medi-spas.

Right: Alyria Multi-Correction Night Serum Time-release formula helps even out skin tone and delay the signs of aging. $115, available through doctors’ offices. For locations, visit alyria-med.com.

Vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C neutralizes the free radicals that can damage cells and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin—but don’t think about rubbing an orange on your face for the same results. “Vitamin C needs to be in a stable form for it to be effective,” says Dr. Freiman. “It works to stimulate collagen production and prevent premature aging.” Vitamin C also helps activate any vitamin E in the skin.

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Left: Alyria Intense Radiance Serum Silky-textured treatment evens out skin tone and promotes skin clarity. $100, available through doctors’ offices. For locations, visit alyria-med.com.

Right: DermaQuest C-Infusion Delivers vitamin C in a stable, lipid-soluble form to tone and tighten the skin. $99, available through cosmetic clinics or at dermaquest.ca.

Vitamin E

This vitamin is another antioxidant workhorse, which helps improve healing and hydration, and fights free radicals. Dr. Freiman adds this note of caution: “Some people can get a reaction to vitamin E because it can be an allergen, so that’s something to keep in mind.”

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Left: Biophora Antioxidant Moisturizer Antioxidant-rich, hydrating formula helps to smooth skin, increase elasticity and improve radiance. $54, available through doctors’ offices. For locations, call 1-877-205-7778.

Right: VivierSkin C E PEPTIDES This patented vitamin C, vitamin E and peptide combination helps bring damaged skin back into balance. $149.50, available through medical spas and clinics. For locations, visit vivierpharma.com.

Sunscreen

“Sun protection, even in the colder months, should be a priority,” advises Dr. Freiman. He tells his patients to look for sunscreens that are at least SPF30 for protection against UVA and UVB rays. “Of course, you must apply the product at regular intervals for sunscreen to be effective,” he adds.

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Left: SkinTx Daily Defense SPF 45 Combination sunscreen and sunblock provides protection for the face, neck and chest. $40, available through medical spas and clinics. For locations, visit vivierpharma.com.

Right: Colorescience PRO Sunforgettable SPF50 A lightweight mineral powder delivered through a self-dispensing brush provides non-irritating protection. $63, available through medical aesthetic offices and medi-spas (visit colorescience.com for the location closest to you).

Hyaluronic Acid

“The main effect of ceramides and hyaluronic acid is that they help moisturize the skin,” says Dr. Freiman. By increasing your skin’s hyaluronic acid content, you improve its ability to retain moisture.

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Left: DermaQuest Advanced B5 Serum This serum is a dermal hydrator, helping to balance the skin so that each subsequent application absorbs better. $78, available through cosmetic clinics or at dermaquest.ca.

Right: Precision MD Celfix DNA Ceramide Renewal Nourishing Cream This cream helps address past effects of sun exposure and helps replenish the skin barrier. $90, available through medical aesthetic offices and medi-spas.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid

“Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, exfoliates dead cells from the skin to promote faster new cell growth,” says Dr. Freiman. Once the buildup is removed, the surface of the skin becomes smoother—and more sun sensitive, so be sure to use sunscreen. “Use the product as directed and at the frequency indicated or you’ll risk damaging your skin,” he adds.

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Left: SkinTx Exfoliant Forte A formula for oily and acne-prone skin types to reveal brighter, younger-looking skin. $80, available through medical spas and clinics. For locations, visit vivierpharma.com.

Right: Biophora Bioactive Solution Conditioning exfoliator eliminates dead skin cells to improve skin clarity and tone. $52, available through doctors’ offices. For locations, call 1-877-205-7778.

Stem Cells

Stem cells trigger the production of new healthy cells in the body. Topical treatments can use plant stem cells or ingredients that stimulate the body’s own stem cells. “What they help do is plump up the skin and help the skin regenerate itself,” explains Dr. Freiman.

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Left: DermaQuest Stem Cell 3D Complex This combination of plant stem cells and peptides helps reduce wrinkle depth and collagen breakdown for younger-looking skin. $258, available through cosmetic clinics or at dermaquest.ca.

Right: Stemulation Facial Serum and Boost Crème Duo These products work together to promote fresh, glowing skin that’s free of dryness, dark spots and fine lines. $380, available at stemulation.com.

Do you avoid products that have ingredients with names you can’t pronounce? Turns out they’re not all as scary (or as bad for you) as they sound. Click here for a list of the most-misunderstood cosmetic label terms.