Understanding Skin Care Products
Kojic acid is a more recent remedy for treating pigment problems and age spots. First developed in 1989, kojic acid has a similar effect as hydroquinone. Kojic acid is made from a fungus, and studies have shown that it is effective at lightening skin.
Retinol is made from vitamin A, and it's in many non-prescription skin care products. Retinol's stronger counterpart is tretinoin, which is the active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova, available by prescription only.
If your skin is too sensitive to use Retin-A, retinol is an alternative, although the effects are less impressive. Retinol may improve mottled pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, and skin tone and color.
You may also hear about retinyl palmitate. This is in the same family as retinol, but if the skin care product you choose contains retinyl palmitate, you will need to use more of this product than one that contains retinol to get the same effect. Pregnant women or nursing mothers cannot use retinol.
Be choosy when selecting a vitamin C product. Vitamin C in its most commonly found forms is highly unstable when exposed to oxygen, making it useless. Choose one in a tube or a pump. Also, many topical vitamin C preparations do not penetrate the skin enough to make a difference.
If you are considering using a topical vitamin C preparation, ask your dermatologist which product will be the most effective for you.
Skin care products containing hyaluronic acid are often used with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration.
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally (and quite abundantly) in people and animals and is found in young skin, other tissues, and joint fluid.
Hyaluronic acid is part of the body's connective tissues, and is known to cushion and lubricate. Aging destroys hyaluronic acid. Diet and smoking can also affect your body's level of hyaluronic acid over time.
Skin care products with hyaluronic acid are most frequently used to treat wrinkled skin although they don't replace anything the body has naturally lost. These are very effective moisturizers.