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What exactly are active ingredients in skincare products?



If you dug anywhere through the mountains of beauty blogs you probably came across the term "active". (How can you add drugs to your treatment or how to choose drugs that can respond to acne, hydration, or whitening issues.) But what are drugs?

The short answer: An active ingredient is the active ingredient in a product. That means tackling all the skin problems that you want to target. Whether they work for you is not always clear – until you try them out. But there is much more to it than that. So, what dermatologists want to know about working with drugs and how to find one that will help you the most.

In general, an "active substance" contains an active substance.

"When I look at the back of a bottle and it's called 'drug', that means for me the chemical or molecule in the product that does what the product says it does," said John G. Zampella, Assistant Professor, Ronald O. Perelman, Department of Dermatology, NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. If you receive a cleanser that claims to treat acne the active ingredient is what acne actually treats, possibly something like salicylic acid, he explains. An "active" skin care product is simply anything that contains an ingredient (and not every product).

But these are not just ingredients that we believe do something – we have a pretty damn good idea that they will be effective. "An active ingredient has been researched in a laboratory to alter the skin in some way, a component that has data behind it," says Emily Newsom, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, to SELF , And statements about the effectiveness of these products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reflect this level of safety.

Just because a product contains no active ingredient does not mean that it is useless. The ingredients of which means all ingredients that are not considered active by the FDA and that are regulated as such are also important. In many cases, the product is simply not designed to treat certain conditions, even when it cleanses or moisturizes the skin. The inactive ingredients are also often the key to providing the active ingredient for your skin (the most common inactive ingredient is water). Some inactive ingredients may also be irritating to sensitive skin or allergies (eg, a plant extract), Dr. Zampella – so you should not ignore it on a label.

There are several major categories of ingredient-containing ingredients products.

These are the most common types of topical agents that address specific skin problems:

  • signs of aging : ingredients that are contaminated with SPF (eg, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, oxybenzone)), Vitamin A / Retinoids Vitamin C Vitamin E .
  • Dryness : hyaluronic acid, vitamin E.
  • Pigmentation problems kojic acid, AHAs, BHA, hydroquinone, vitamin C.
  • Acne : Vitamin A / retinoids, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide , Azelaic acid.
  • Rosacea : 19659024] various antibiotics, azelaic acid, sulfur.
  • Psoriasis : steroids, vitamin A / retinoids, vitamin D, salicylic acid, urea, lactic acid, anthralin, tacrolimus, pimecrolimus.
  • Eczema : steroids, tacrolimus, pimecrolimus.

You can find active ingredients in both prescription and prescription products.

Some skin products that contain active ingredients are considered medicines or medications and are subject to prescription. A product that claims to actually alter the skin structure (such as some anti-aging products ) or to treat the symptoms of a condition (such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea) is usually considered a drug by the FDA , which is subject to certain regulatory guidelines and an approval process that includes clinical trials before it can be sold.

Some ingredients, such as salicylic acid, are almost always treated like medicines, that is, they must be labeled according to a specific formula and in a very specific way on the product label, including the concentration and intended use of the ingredient. However, it is often the way a product is marketed – including the intended use of how the consumer perceives it and what the packaging claims, and which category the FDA is classified in. [19659034Aproductmayreduceso-called"skinsymptomssuchaswrinkles"or"reddening"orotherwise"lessnoticeable"maybeusedwithoutexplicitmention treating the underlying disease. In these cases, the FDA treats them as cosmetics rather than drugs. Cosmetic ingredients are not tested by the FDA before they are sold. Therefore, the responsibility for being safe and effective lies with the manufacturer. In particular, cosmetics are defined as products "for cleaning, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or changing the appearance", and they are committed not to deceive consumers with their claims otherwise the FDA could act.

It gets really confusing: whether or not a product lists the active substance as an active substance on the ingredient label depends on whether or not it is a cosmetic or a medicinal product. A cosmetic skin care product may contain the same active ingredient as a product that is considered to be a medicine, but the active substance in question is not listed as an "active ingredient" on the ingredient label but as a "component". – even if it is attached to the front of the package. This is due to the wording of the claims regarding the ingredient.

For example, a facial wash containing salicylic acid may be considered a medicine and listed as an active ingredient when it is claimed to actually treat or treat acne. If it is a cosmetic, salicylic acid may only be listed among the many ingredients.

You can find the same ingredient in a drugstore option, a luxury option, and a prescription.

And, most importantly, the expensive or prescription options may or may not be superior to a drugstore product with the same active ingredient. Prescription drugs and luxury skincare products can cost hundreds of dollars, but "the same active ingredient could be in a product that costs $ 10," Dr. Newsom. "Just because a celebrity uses it and it costs a lot more does not mean that it works even better."

For example, you can get a prescription for azelaic acid which is 15 percent (Finacea) and 20 percent (Azelex), which can cost somewhere between $ 300 and $ 400 if your Insurance does not cover this. Or, you can buy a 10 percent version online that does not claim to "treat" something (and not splinter azelaic acid into a drug fact box as an active ingredient, but in the long list of ingredients ) for a fraction of the price.

In some cases, these concentration differences or the overall formula of the product are important. In others it may only be a little or not important at all. For example: "The 10 percent [version of azelaic acid] was not tested in a clinical trial," says Dr. Zampella. "But the drug we know will be regulated by the FDA, will it have an effect ? I think the answer is" yes. "(Remember, active ingredients are not the only ingredients in one Product, and the inactive ingredients may be critical to delivering the drug to your skin, so it's always worthwhile discussing your decisions with your skin.)

When it comes to benzoyl peroxide, as another example, research suggest that a concentration of 2.5 percent is basically just as effective in treating acne as a 10-percent version says Dr. Zampella. "Depending on what you treat, that is Concentration may not be so important. "But perhaps only the 10 percent will do the job for your individual skin type and situation, and when talking about topical steroids used to treat psoriasis and eczema The dose definitely makes a difference, Dr. Zampella.

However, concentration is not the only thing to think about. Sometimes an ingredient has been orally approved for the treatment of a matter, but it is sold over the counter in a current form, says Dr. Newsom. This is the case with a newer ingredient called tranaxemic acid (TXA), which has been shown to help with melasma when taken orally – however, there is no sure evidence that it is topically effective.

The big take away Even if a product contains an active ingredient, it does not necessarily mean that it has a concentration or formula that brings it to the same level of effectiveness as a prescription option – so it can not work so effectively (and not) We just may not know if it will work. Talk to your Derm about your specific skin problems and about what you are curious about, and to determine if a prescription drug is needed or if an OTC recommendation is sufficient.

You can always ask your dermatologist for an ingredient list.

The back of a skincare product is usually a labyrinth of long words, and all you want is to work . But it's worth understanding the key ingredients and achieving what the product can do for your skin before you buy, so you do not waste effort and money. According to our experts, it is particularly important to pay attention to the following:

  • The active substance
  • The concentration of the active substance
  • All inactive ingredients to which you may be allergic or sensitive
  • The claims are formulated in the packaging [FinallyyoushouldfeelfullyempoweredtoanalyzetheingredientsthatyouputonyourskinAndofcourseifyouhavequestionsyourdermatologististhebestresourceyouhavetomakesenseofit

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