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What's Your Skin Eating?

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With so many new products hitting the store every week, it’s hard to keep track of what you’re slathering on.

So here’s an A-Z of the main ingredients in skincare formulas that really make a difference.

Opinions are divided. If a brand doesn’t specifically mention that it doesn’t, you can assume that it does. Also, it’s worth noting that even if the final product hasn’t been tested on animals, the ingredients may well have been. When in doubt go to the brand website and check for yourself or visit petaindia.com that lists cruelty-free brands. 
Brands not tested on animals include Dermalogica, Forest Essentials, Inglot, Omved, Soulflower and Unived among others, all available at Nykaa. 
A powerful acne-busting ingredient in skin creams that not just kills bacteria but slows down the spread of acne and improves the texture of acne prone skin.
A skin care ingredient often associated with anti-ageing products. Found in the skin’s deeper layers, Ceramides help skin to retain moisture and look plump and hydrated.
This ingredient gives skin a smoother appearance and is commonly found in primers, foundations and smoothing day creams. However, not recommended if you’re prone to clogged pores and remember to cleanse thoroughly at bedtime.
A weaker, diluted version of perfume, with a lower percentage of oils compared to a regular perfume.
Find it in Nike Women Gold EDT
Free Radicals damage healthy cells, speed up ageing and cause wrinkles. As we get older, the skin’s ability to fight off free radicals reduces and to counter act these you need to eat a healthy diet, and stock up on vitamins and antioxidants.
Find free radical fighting antioxidants in HealthAid Alpha Lipoic Acid 250mg - Mega Strength
This natural ingredient is derived from sugar cane and works as a great skin exfoliator. Glycolic Acid is the most common Alpha Hydroxy Acid and one of the safest forms of acids for skin but it’s best to do a patch test to rule out an allergy.
HA naturally occurs in the body’s cells and helps cells retain up to 1000 times their weight in water, giving skin a plump appearance. That makes it the perfect ingredient in moisturizers.
A thickening agent used in skincare, especially emollient creams. It’s best to stay away from formulas containing it because it can clog pores. If you must use such a product, be sure to cleanse thoroughly in the p.m.
Pronounced ‘ho-ho-ba’ this superstar oil has great moisturizing properties. Look for it in body lotions and face creams.
A natural clay mineral, Kaolin is a great face cleanser or mask for oily skin. It clears impurities and boosts circulation.
A kind of Vitamin C with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is a common ingredient in skin creams to reduce wrinkles, even out skin tone and fade dark spots.
Widely used in cosmetics, Mineral Oil is a cheap filler ingredient that can clog pores. It’s preferable to stay away from products containing Mineral Oil for that very reason. 
Mineral-free brands at Nykaa include Neutrogena, Clean and Clear, and Khadi Natural.
Non-comedogenic is a term used for makeup, creams and oils that don’t block pores.
Non-Comedogenic brands at Nykaa include Cetaphil, Faces and Maybelline New York.
This vital element not just helps you to breathe but also helps your skin absorb vitamins and vital nutrients into deeper layers.
These are man-made preservatives and increase the shelf-life of beauty products. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer and early puberty in girls. Increasingly many brands have opted to remove paraben from their formulations.
Paraben-free brands at Nykaa include Avene and Sebamed.
This substance causes the release of formaldehyde gas that can cause health problems at higher concentrations. Worryingly, Quaternium strains have been detected in many beauty products including shampoo, and even in baby products.
Quaternium-free brands at Nykaa include Biotique, Moroccanoil, Khadi and others.
The name for a group of Vitamin A molecules,  Retinol helps skin regeneration and enhances cellular structure. However, it can increase photosensitivity so be sure to use a sunscreen if you are using a Retinol-enriched formula.
SPF means Sun Protective Factor and refers a sunscreen’s ability to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage.
Found in face powders, eye shadows and good old body powders. However, they often cause clogged pores and respiratory disorders. It’s a cheap filler ingredient, best avoided.
theBalm and Smashbox are talc-free brands at Nykaa.
The abbreviations stand for Ultraviolet A or B radiation, the cause for skin darkening, sunburn and sun damage. These rays penetrate the deeper layers of skin and cause abnormal cell production and ageing. To protect against them, use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen cream.
A super antioxidant this can be taken orally or used in a skin cream. It suits all skin types.
Water or Aqua is a common skin cosmetic ingredient and is usually listed first because there tends to be more water than any other ingredient in most beauty products.
This is a fermented glucose used as a thickener. Avoid if you have a wheat allergy.
An essential oil that provides oily skin care and reduces high blood pressure.
An anti-irritant and antioxidant, Zinc treats acne prone skin and heals it.
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