I get compliments from friends and¬†strangers every time¬†I wear this backpack and they’re always surprised when I tell them I bought it at Forever 21 and it was under $30! The craftsmanship is honestly something I wan’t expecting to find there. The material and structure of the backpack looks very expensive. I love that you can dress it down and wear it with a tank top and shorts or with a nice spring dress. This taupe color is gorgeous, but it also comes in white.

Backpack: Forever 21

-V-

I can’t believe in one week I’ll be in Louisville! I’m so excited! This pic is from the last time I went. I’m the last one on the right and yes I’m wearing flats! Taking roll up flats in your purse is KEY at the derby. Especially for me since my feet tend to swell if I’m on them too much. Don’t worry I did wear¬†heels, but eventually had to switch to flats. You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. Anyways planning has been fun, but stressful as usual. Especially because I did it last minute as compared to previous years (I still have clothes being delivered ūüôą). Here is what I have so far.

I put lots of thought into¬†every outfit…even my plane outfits. I like to be comfortable on planes, but still like to look cute because you never know when you’ll be sitting next to Brad Pitt! ūüėú My go-to plane outfit is always a maxi dress. They’re cute, comfortable, and keep your legs warm since it can get chilly. I always bring a light jacket too in case my shoulders get cold. Oh and I always wear cute flats to the airport. I’ve made the mistake of wearing heels to an airport and boy did I learn my lesson. I must have been on the last terminal because I swear I was sweating by the time I got there and my feet were on fire. I ordered these two, but haven’t gotten them in yet. Hopefully they’ll fit.

 

I ordered this cute¬†dress for the bourbon tours and was so excited, but then I got it and it didn’t fit. The chest area was really small and had no stretch. It’s so adorable though and if you have a more petite body you should TOTALLY get it. The ruffles are to die for!

Ordered these two for possible nights out. How cute are they?! I’m wearing my favorite dress Friday night, but I’m keeping that one a surprise. ūü§ó

   

Ok y’all so the struggle is real to find fabulous shoes with low heels. I ordered these three because they’re all cute and affordable. There’s a good chance I’ll never wear these again since I’m 5’3 and need all the help I can get so I didn’t want to spend too much¬†money on them. Obviously the green pair is what I’d wear with my derby hat, but I need to try them on together and I don’t have my hat yet. It may end up being too much green. ūü§Ē

 

 

My hat is finally ready and is on it’s way! She sent me three different ways she had made the top part of the bow. I’ll let you guys guess which one I picked.

  

The next derby post or posts (can’t decide if I want to make it one big post or break it up) will be all about where’d we go, who’d we see, what’d we do! Can’t wait to share it with y’all!

-V-

Everyone’s heard of the many uses and benefits of¬†coconut oil¬†for what seems like forever now.¬†You can use it to moisturize your face and body, make your hair silky smooth, and even cook with it. I’d always just used it for cooking or if it was in a hair mask. They’ve since come out with many other kinds of oils, but I was always scared of putting oil¬†on my face¬†because the thought of adding it¬†to my already oily face just seemed counterintuitive. Then one day, I fell in love with face oil by accident. I bought this mask from Ulta and when I washed¬†it off my face was so ridiculously soft that I went to the trash and dug out the wrapper so I could see what was in it: argan oil. I was so surprised that the¬†argan oil had left my skin super soft, brighter, and more importantly not greasy at all. I started doing research on argan oil and discovered you could buy it in pure form so now I love to put it on after my serum and before my moisturizer at night. I always wake up with a beautiful glow and soft skin.¬†Since there are so many different oils out there now, I’ve made a list of some the best oils for each skin type.

 

DRY SKIN

Coconut Oil

  • Made up¬†of large molecules so it’s thicker and more moisturizing.
  • Rich in fatty acids
  • Can clog pores so careful if you have acne-prone skin
  • Good for extremely¬†dry skin

Shea Oil

  • Contains vitamin E
  • Super moisturizing
  • Stimulates collagen production
  • Good for extremely dry skin

Olive Oil

  • Rich in fatty acids, polyphenols, and squalene
  • Look for extra virgin and “first cold press” on bottle

Avocado Oil (also good for sensitive skin)

  • Rich in vitamin E and fatty acids
  • Restores look of skin and hair
  • Softens skin and reduces age spots
  • Good for mature skin

 

OILY SKIN

Argan Oil (also good for combination skin)

  • Has smaller molecules so it’s lighter and absorbs quicker.
  • Contains antioxidants, vitamin E and fatty acids that are good for anti aging, moisturizing and brightening skin.
  • Fights frizzy hair and gives it shine.
  • Regulates oil production
  • Good for mature skin

Rosehip Seed Oil (also good for combination skin)

  • Rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and has a natural retinol
  • Helps brighten and fade dark spots
  • Good for fading scars
  • Drying effect that’s good for oily skin
  • Good for mature skin

Tea Tree Oil

  • Good for treating acne

Grapeseed Oil (also good for combination skin)

  • Helps regular oil production.
  • Has antioxidants and vitamin C
  • Good for acne-prone skin
  • Reduces dark under eye circles

Jojoba Oil (also good for combination skin)

  • Shrinks pores
  • Reduces oil production
  • Long shelf life

Castor Oil

  • Promotes hair growth
  • Disinfectant and antibacterial
  • Good for acne-prone skin

Hemp Seed Oil (also good for sensitive skin)

  • Natural SPF
  • Aids absorption of Vitamin D
  • Rich¬†in Omega 6 and 3
  • Helps rebuild your natural skin barrier

 

COMBINATION SKIN

Marula Oil

  • Anti-bacterial properties that are great for acne-prone skin
  • Lighter oil and absorbs quicker
  • Hydrates the dry parts of your skin and doesn’t irritate the oily parts
  • Protects against UV rays and pollution

 

SENSITIVE SKIN

Chamomile Oil

  • Soothes redness and irritation
  • Anti-inflammatory properties that would be good for anyone with rosacea.
  • Put a little on your wrist for a day to make sure you’re not allergic.

Almond  Oil (also good for combination and dry skin)

  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids
  • Contains vitamin E and magnesium
  • Seals in moisture
  • Anti-inflammatory properties good for psoriasis and eczema

 

ALL SKIN TYPES

Maracuja Oil

  • High in vitamin C and fatty acids
  • Good for reparing damaged skin and brightening
  • Fights insomnia, stress, and anxiety

 

These are just some oils I’ve been seeing and hearing about lately, but there’s so many more out there. I like to use my oils at first by themselves in pure form so I know exactly what ingredient is working, but there are a lot of products that combine several of them so you can get many different benefits at once.

-V-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While retinoids (a vitamin A derivative) are mainly known for treating severe acne, they’re also¬†a great anti-aging weapon (google “retin-a for wrinkles before and after pics” and look at the imagesūüėć). They¬†increase cell turnover and connect with cells that have slowed down due to aging and get them functioning¬†like young, healthy cells again. The many benefits include¬†reducing¬†wrinkles and fine lines, tightening¬†pores, eliminating sun damage and¬†dark spots,¬†boosting¬†collagen and even decreasing¬†oil production. The first thing to understand is that retinoids can only be used by your skin if they’re converted into retinoic acid. Over-the-counter retinoids have to go through several conversions before they get to retinoic acid and lose potency during each conversion. Prescription strength retinoids are already pure retinoic acid which is why they’re the most potent.¬†There are several different types of OTC and prescription retinoids so I’ll break each one¬†down so you can find which one will work¬†best for you.

OTC RETINOIDS

Retinoids can have side effects such as peeling, dryness, and irritation. These are great for someone who¬†is just starting to use retinoids because since they’re weaker they cause little to no irritation. If a OTC retinoid has a strong concentration then it can work just as good as a prescription, it would just take longer to see results.

  • Retinyl Palmitate- The¬†weakest of all retinoids because it has to go through¬†two conversions before becoming retinoic acid. I wouldn’t waste my money on this because it would need to be highly concentrated to be worth it and it’s usually at the bottom of most products’ ingredients list.
  • Retinol- The most popular ingredient used OTC. Retinol is stronger than retinyl palmitate because it has one less conversion to become retinoid acid. Most products I found had this in their ingredient list towards the top so I would assume they had somewhat high concentrations. Some retinols to try

PRESCRIPTION RETINOIDS

  • Adapalene (synthetic retinoid)
    • Differin 0.1% : When this first came out it was a prescription drug, but last summer the FDA approved it to be OTC!
  • Tretinoic (retinoic acid)
    • Retin-A: There are several different kinds, but this one is the most popular. It comes in concentrations of
      • 0.025% or 0.01% gel
      • 0.1%, 0.05%, and 0.025% cream
      • 0.05% liquid
  • Tazarotene (synethic retinoid)
    • Tazorac: This is even stronger than retinoic acid and is more for severe acne. It comes in concentrations of
      • 0.1% gel or cream

Over the years, I’ve personally used all of these. I’ve mainly used them to treat acne, but more recently have used them just for their anti-aging benefits. I just got 0.025% tretinoic and am¬†going to start trying to¬†build my tolerance and try to move up to 0.1%.

Since retinoids, especially prescription, can cause so much irritation here are some tips on how to apply them so you’ll ¬†get the least possible side effects.

  • Two weeks before you begin stop exfoliating or using any harsh cleansers. ¬†Stick to micellar water if you can. Wear lots of SPF during the day and heavy moisturizing creams at night. This should help prepare your skin by strengthening it.
  • Make sure you start with a low concentration. I know you may really want to start with a high one, but trust me I’ve done that before and my face was peeling like crazy and I definitely regretted it.
  • Wait 15-20 min after you wash your face to apply the retinol because your skin needs to be completely dry to prevent irritation. Only use a small pea-size amount for your entire face. It’s also best to wait anywhere from 20 min to an hour to apply moisturizer afterwards.
  • Begin slowly by using it every 3 or 4 days. Cut the days in between after a couple of weeks¬†as your tolerance rises. You can also use OTC in between your off days with prescription. Just pay attention to your skin and use it however it works for you and consistently.
  • It takes about 3 weeks to start seeing tolerance in your skin so you’ll definitely see a little irritation, but if it starts getting really bad then go to once a week or even lower the concentration. With the exception of Retin-A Micro, you can also buffer your retinoid which means you can apply moisturizer before or immediately after (instead of waiting the 20 min). You can also mix it with your moisturizer to minimize the irritation.
  • If you get a few bad spots you can take two anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Advil, Aleve. You can also use 1% hydrocortisone cream twice a day for up to three days.
  • Don’t mix retinol with any AHAs and BHAs (glycolic, lactic, salicylic acid) or acne medication that contains benzoyl peroxide. Make sue to use gentle cleansers and alcohol-free toners.

Some other tips and warnings:

  • The sun deactivates retinoids so don’t bother putting it on during the day. Wear at least SPF 30¬†because it does increase your sensitivity to the sun.
  • Wait a week before and after to do any waxing otherwise you’ll rip your hair AND skin off.
  • Your face could possibly “purge”, which means some underlying breakouts could come up so don’t start using this around any major event (I’m starting mine after I get back from the derby) where you’ll need to look your best.
  • DON’T use retinoids if you’re pregnant.
  • It takes 4 to 6 months for your skin to become completely tolerant to a retinoid and can take a year to be able to use it every night, however you can notice the benefits much sooner.¬†For prescription it can take 4 to 8 weeks to notice a difference in your skin and 12 weeks for OTC so don’t give up!

Good luck!

-V-

 

 

I’m a platinum member at Ulta and if you are too then until tomorrow you can get 20% off your entire purchase. They have tons of brands that are usually excluded from discounts so it’s hard to even find things to buy there sometimes. Although this time I did discover that some bigger name brands that are on the exclusion list were actually 20% off as well such as Urban Decay and Smashbox! Not sure if this is because the discount is only for platinum members, but either way you can find out by shopping online and putting things in your basket and then adding the discount code to see if they’re eligible. Usually¬†though everything on the exclusion list isn’t eligible for the discount so I rounded up some great products from brands that will always be 20% off.

ARDELL–¬†False Lashes

I have eyelash extensions now, but before I used to always wear false eyelashes because mine are stick straight and are hard to curl. These Ardell lashes are really affordable and have tons of different styles. I personally like the wispies.

BABY FOOT- Original Exfoliant Foot Peel

I heard about this awesome foot peel awhile ago and as soon as I saw pics (seriously google it and go look at the images) I knew I had to buy it and see for myself. Funny thing is, I STILL haven’t tried it ūüėā I get pedicures pretty regularly so I think I just always forget about it. I’m determined to try it out soon though. I think I’d be great for in-between pedicures to save money or if you got a guy at home that refuses to get pedis you should have him try this.

BATISTE-Dry Shampoo

I’ve been trying to find a more affordable dry shampoo than the one I was using that works really well and this is it. The dry shampoo also comes in plenty of different scents, but I usually just get original. It does come out white, but all you need to do is fluff your hair really well with your hands and it comes right out. I did decide to try their brunette version and I’m not sure if it needed¬†to dry first, but I ended up getting it all over my shirt ūüė≥ So just stick to the regular kind. Oh and you can find this brand at T.J. Maxx sometimes ūüėć

BIOR√Č

I love everything about this affordable brand especially the charcoal products.  The Self Heating One Minute Mask is probably my favorite. It really does heat up and leaves my face leaving clean and fresh. I also really like the Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips to clean out all my pores. 

CETAPHIL

This brand is great for sensitive skins and i’m currently using their moisturizer because it has SPF 30 and doesn’t leave my face very greasy (although I am in the process of testing some new ones that’ll hopefully be even better). This is a great moisturizer though at a great price.

CLEAN & CLEAR- Persa-Gel

I’ve been using this over-the-counter acne medication since high school. At times I’ve needed to get prescription stuff when my acne would get worse, but I’d always end up going¬†back to this because it works quickly and doesn’t irritate my skin very¬†much.

EYLURE- False Lashes

This is my favorite false lashes brand. It’s a little more expensive than Ardell, but I think they’re a little better quality too. I used to wear the No. 100 for an everyday look and their Vegas Nay collection is awesome for a more dramatic look for the weekends. I really like the¬†Bronze Beauty Lashes.

FEELING BEAUTIFUL- Face Masks

I love to buy these cheap masks and throw them in my toiletry bag when I travel. My faves are the Avocado & Oatmeal Facial Clay Mask and the Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask.

GARNIER- SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover

I love using micellar water because it cleans your face without drying it out like over-cleansing can do. Garnier also makes it in a travel size and just came out with a version for oily/sensitive skin.

HASK– Hair Masks

These little hair mask packets are another thing I love to throw in my travel bag. I especially like the Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner Packette and the Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner Packette.

HOLLYWOOD FASHION SECRETS- Silicone Coverups

I’ve posted about these before. If you ever go without a bra, you’ve got to buy these.

HOT TOOLS-¬†NanoCermanic 1.25″ Flipperless Curling Wand

This is the curling iron I always use to curl my hair.

JAPONESQUE– Waterless Brush Cleanser

I’m really bad at washing¬†my brushes often so I bought this to use in between more thorough washes. It’s not a very big bottle so I only use it on my eyeshadow brushes when I’m changing colors. It works quickly and really well.

KENRA PROFESSIONAL- Platinum Blow-Dry Spray

I’ve posted about this already and I can’t live without it because of my long, thick hair. If you have long, thick hair too than you shouldn’t be living without it either.

NAILTIQUES- Formula 2

So at one point I decided to try to save money by¬†doing my own nails, but it was so hard because my nails were so thin and would always break. My friend told me about this and it’s pretty awesome. It really helped strengthen and grow my¬†nails. Unfortunately, I went back to getting my nails done cuz I was terrible at it ūüė¨

NEUTROGENA- Pink Grapefruit Body Wash

I used to get pretty bad back acne and this helped clear it up and I’ve used it ever since.

NYX COSMETICS

I don’t really use too many drugstore makeup brands, but this is my favorite. I’m obsessed with several of their lip products. Their¬†Soft Matte Lip Cream is great because it’s matte without drying out your lips. They have tons of beautiful¬†colors, but right now my fave is Cannes.¬†Simply Nude Lip Cream has several pretty nude shades. I like Disrobed¬†and Sable. Their Butter Gloss is another one to check out.¬†

PANASONIC- Nano Facial Steamer at Home Spa Treatment

You guys already know how much I love my facial steamer! I didn’t even know they sold it at Ulta! It’s only online though, but it’s pricey so 20% goes a long way!

REDKEN

If you missed my hair post, go buy Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender and Windblown 05 and go back and read it. 

BIG SEXY HAIR

Their dry shampoo is the expensive one I was trying to replace with Batiste. It does work a bit better and it’s on sale so I scooped it up today. You can also get great volume with their Root Pump Plus.

SHEAMOISTURE

Doing a post soon about all the different types of oils and how each of them benefit¬†your skin. Start now with this¬†100% Pure Argan Oil¬†and you’ll have the softest and most moisturized skin ever!¬†

SNP- Sheet Masks

Omg these are the cutest sheet masks ever! I mean who wouldn’t want to look like a koala, lion, or panda! They have so many animals to choose from and i’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all!

SOAP & GLORY- The Righteous Butter

This thick cream always gets rid of any dry patches I have and smells great.

TONYMOLY

Um this entire brand! Everything is amazing. It’s a Korean brand so you could seriously pick up any item and there’s a good chance you’d love it. I have yet to try anything from them that I didn’t like. If you’re overwhelmed with all their products, first try¬†their¬†Bubble Mask Sheet,¬†Mud Mask¬†Sheet,¬†Strawberry Nose Pack,¬†and really any other sheet mask.¬†

WIGO- Wood Thermal Brush with Mixed Bristles

The large round brush is what I use to get volume in my hair.

YES TO- Face Masks

I love their Miracle Oil Brighten & Condition Argan Oil Mud Mask (this mask is how I became obsessed argan oil) and their Miracle Oil Calm & Soothe Primrose Oil Mud Mask.

 

-V-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This top has such a cute print that’s fun for spring, but would also be really cute on a beach vacay. The lace at the bottom of the bell sleeves is a nice touch too. Did I mention this top is under $20 ūüėć I also finally got my first pair of distressed jeans. I’ve always wanted to get some, but I feel like the tears have to be strategically placed in order for them to be visually appealing. I’m a total perfectionist so it’s been hard to find some I like. I got these at the sale at Express last week and actually picked up a lighter pair too that’ll be on the blog soon. Oh and Express jeans come in short so I didn’t have to have them hemmed ūüôĆūüŹľ

Top: Forever 21 ~ Jeans: Express ~ Necklace: Express ~ Bracelet: Express  

-V-

If you haven’t been to the Kentucky Derby it’s something you definitely need to add to your bucket list! I’ve been twice before (the pic above is from the first time I went) and two weeks from today I’ll be headed on my way to Louisville to go for a third time. It is hands down my favorite girls trip I’ve been on. I’ve never gone as a couple, but think it would be just as fun. I’d be a little more expensive though since as girls guys buy you and drinks and you can get in to some parties for free etc. You ladies know how it is ūüėČ ¬† This year i’m going with five of my other girlfriends. Two of us have been before and the other four are Derby newbies. Here are some details about my upcoming trip so maybe next year you’ll be there too!

First, this is a six month planned trip. That’s right. SIX MONTHS. Even though the Kentucky Derby is always the first weekend in May, you have to start planning in November. November is when the flights are released and they go fast! In the past we have gotten reasonably priced flights straight to Louisville, but this year was another story. Prices were higher than normal so we saved a great amount¬†by getting flights to Indianapolis instead and are going to rent a car and drive two hours to Louisville. The same goes for the hotel. Book it in November to get the best rate and a good location.

Another thing we start planning early is of course the outfits! ūüíĀūüŹĽ We go to several nice dinners and fun outings in the evenings and during the day on Thursday we’re going to several bourbon tours. I’m a little behind on my outfit planning this year, but should have these finalized by next week and will share them with you. Friday we’re going to the Kentucky Oaks which is a race ran by the fillies and always held the day before the derby at Churchhill Downs. It is an official sponsorship with Bright Pink, which is a non-profit that focuses on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer, so they suggest you wear pink. This year I’m so excited about the dress I found!

 Dress: ASOS

At the Oaks my friends and I have decided to wear fascinators (the little hats you see Kate Middleton wearing sometimes) and save the big hats for the Derby. We’ve even coined it “Fascinator Friday”! Fascinators can be found online as cheap as $30 and upwards of $300. It just depends how fancy you want it. I really wanted to make both my fascinator and hat this year, but unfortunately ran¬†out of time so had to find someone to make them. I found a great shop on Etsy and she¬†makes reasonably priced fascinators and hats and the quality and detail is great.¬†I looked up color schemes on Pinterest and found this one that I really liked except instead of the moss color I wanted to use navy and sent¬†it to her to use for my fascinator. She’s almost done with it and just needs to add some finishing touches.

Fascinator: Etsy

The dress I bought for the Derby I’ve actually had for several years. I almost wore¬†it the last time I went there, but decided on another dress. The dress in the pic is actually a Dior dress worn on the red carpet, but I found the dupe version by A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz (they make tons of great designer dupe dresses). I couldn’t find the stock photo, but it looks exactly the same.

Dress: A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz (past season) similar style here and here.

Since my dress is white I could pretty much go with whatever hat color I wanted. I decided I wanted fun and bright so I found this color scheme. It’s in the beginning stages, but here’s a sneak peek.

Another very important outfit detail is to make sure you wear comfortable shoes! You’ll be on your feet a lot so wedges and low heels are the way to go. I’m 5’3 so I normally don’t go for low heels and I feel like it’s hard to find shoes that have low heels AND are cute, but that’s my current mission. Next week I’ll update ya’ll with¬†more of my outfits and hopefully will have found some super fabulous low heels!

-V-

Acids are great for” turnover”¬†which¬†basically means out with your old, dull skin and in with your new, healthier¬†skin. I’ve mentioned acids before in several of my posts such as¬†THE SKINCARE INGREDIENTS YOU SHOULD NEVER MIX and have recommended many products that include them, but it was brought to my attention that I haven’t actually explained all the different kinds and what they do. Here is a list¬†where I breakdown all the basic info. of acids and who they’re good for.

Acids help with turnover. Start with low dosage. Test spot on arm and forehead (thickest part of skin) Use sunscreen. Acids specifically salyslic acid can be harmful to pregnant women.

 

ACIDS THAT EXFOLIATE

AHA (alpha hydroxy acid)-  These acids are food based and water soluble. They can cause mild irritation and sun sensitivity.

  • Glycolic Acid- This acid is one of the most researched making it the most popular and most recommended. It’s derived from sugar cane and is the smallest hydroxy molecule so it can penetrate the deepest and fastest. It brightens skins by reducing hyperpigmentation, fades dark spots, and reduces fine lines. It’s also known to increase collagen production which means a deeper wrinkle reduction. It’s good for treating acne which makes it great for oily skin. It also increases hyaluronic acid levels which is a plus for dry skin and reduces photo damage for mature skin.
  • Lactic Acid- This is another popular AHA. It’s derived from sour milk. It’s a larger molecule which means it’s more gentle and makes it perfect for more sensitive skin because it also works on the surface of the skin instead of the cellular level.¬†It¬†causes less inflammation with the same results as glycolic acid. It’s good for dry skin, even rosacea, because it moisturizes and exfoliates dead skin at the same time. Great for encouraging collagen grown, fading hyperpigmentation and inhibiting melanin production. Low and medium (12%) concentrations have been discovered to increase thickness and firmness and reducing fine lines.
  • Citric Acid- Derived from fruits such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit. It’s an antimicrobial which shows up in acne products to fight bacteria. Good for lightening and reducing hyperpigmentation. Often added to products in small amounts to balance the pH and make sure it’s not too alkaline.
  • Mandelic Acid- Derived from bitter almond and wild cherry. Good for fine lines, acne, discoloration, skin elasticity, and strengthening collagen. A larger molecule better for sensitive skin. It’s known to help those with cystic acne because it helps regulate sebum (oil) production.
  • Malic Acid- Occurs naturally in the body as well as sour fruits, mainly apples. Good for removing dead skin cells, treating acne, improving fine lines, and promoting collagen production. Also found in products to adjust¬†pH balance.

BHA (beta hydroxy acid)- Plant based derived from willow bark. Oil soluble and better for oily skin

  • Salicylic Acid- Great for oily skin and treating acne.¬†It’s not for mature or dry skin unless spot treating because it can be irritating. It gets to surface skin as well as down to the pore and dissolves oil and breaks apart debris inside that causes acne. It exfoliates clogged pores by removing the top layer of skin. It corrects dark spots without irritation because of willow bark which has anti-inflammatory properties. Other AHAs can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones¬†so this is a better option for anyone with darker skin trying to get rid of sun spots.

Retinoic Acid ( Vitamin A)- Only can be obtained by prescription (Tretinoin such as Retin-A).It reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves firmness, helps with uneven skin tone, increases collagen, treats acne, repairs sun damage, and prevents premature aging. Retinol is found in over the counter products, but it has to be converted into retinoid acid before it can be absorbed into the skin. It makes retinol not as effective, but also not as irritating as retinoid acid.

 

ACIDS FOR BRIGHTENING

Kojic Acid- Derived from mushrooms as well as can be created during the sake brewing process from fermented rice. Great to reduce sun spots, acne marks, and hyperpigmentation as it inhibits tyrosinase which produces melanin. Hydroquinone is another popular ingredient to lighten skin, but I recently found out that it cannot be used long term because it loses¬†it’s efficacy and so it needs to be used in cycles (now I know why my Murad stopped working)! ¬†Kojic is a better alternative as it’s safe to be used long term and more stable.

L-Ascorbic Acid- (Vitamin C) Wrote a detailed post about this, but in case you missed it. Decreases dark spots, hinders melanin production, fights free radicals, and increases collagen production.

Azelaic Acid- Derived from a naturally occurring yeast in the body to combat bacteria. Helps with lightening such as acne spots and hyperpigmentation, but also great for treating acne. Reduces the bacteria growth in hair follicles that result in acne. It also can be used to get rid of the bumps, lesions, and swelling due to rosacea.

 

ACIDS AGAINST ANTIOXIDANTS

Alpha Lipoic Acid- All antioxidants protect against free radicals such as pollution and UV rays. This is considered the most powerful antioxidant because it is both water and fat soluble which means it works well on both the lipid layer of the skin as well as the cell membrane while many others can’t such as vitamin C. It’s capable of regenerating other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E and also 400 times stronger than both of them combined. Anti-inflammatory benefits reduce redness and blotchiness which results in an even skin tone. ¬†Reduces fine lines and wrinkles by eliminating¬†aged collagen.

Ferulic Acid- Found naturally in seeds of fruits such as apples and oranges, but also in some vegetables, nuts, and grains. Fights against free radicals. Keeps vitamin C and E stable. Good for preventing sun damage and wrinkles.

 

ACIDS FOR MOISTURIZING

Hyaluronic Acid- Can hold 1,000 time it’s weight in water. Plumps and firms skin and keeps it very hydrated. Great for all types of skin especially dry skin. Keeping skin moisturized helps diminish wrinkles and fine lines and maintains¬†a youthful look.

As with any new ingredients, start with a low concentration and work your way up to prevent or ease any irritation. Test a spot on your arm and forehead (the thickest skin on your face) to check for a reaction. If you’re pregnant, check with a doctor because acids, specifically salicylic acid, can be harmful. Lastly, don’t forget to wear sunscreen as some of these cause sun sensitivity (although you should always wear SPF in my opinion ‚ėļÔłŹ).

Hope this has given you a better understanding of some of my past posts and makes it easier for you to pick some new skincare products containing these ingredients.

-V-