Updated: Jan 21
Skincare marketing can get confusing, I know. With a new "miracle" ingredient popping up every minute, you may not know where to best invest your money. I'm here to discuss a few of the most common worthless ingredients on the market today.
1. PLANT STEM CELLS
Simply put, we are people, not plants. You cannot put a plant stem cell on top your skin, expect it to work it's way down into your dermis, and behave the same way a human stem cell does - when it is not a human stem cell. There is no science supporting they work, and anything positive written about them is just marketing.
Collagen is a large molecule that cannot penetrate the epidermis. It simply sits on top of your skin and acts as a hydrating agent. Which is fine, just don't expect it to increase the actual collagen content of your skin.
3. HYDROLIZED COLLAGEN
This is a collagen molecule that has been broken down into peptides to get past the penetration hurdle. The theory is that these peptides work their way into your dermis, and act as building blocks for your skin to make more collagen. However, this theory has not been proven. The research just isn't there to back it up yet. So for now, I wouldn't spend big money on a product just for this ingredient.
4. (MOST) CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS
Oxybenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate have been shown to react with UV light and cause damage to the skin - leading to skin aging, irritation, and even cancer. Yes, that's right, these ingredients are actually causing the things you are expecting your sunscreen to prevent. In addition, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate are known hormone disruptors. The safest of the bunch seems to be avobenzone. But, with all that said, if you have a full day of sun ahead you, and the only thing you have on hand is a sunscreen with these ingredients, a few applications of it is going to be better than a sunburn. If you have a choice, though, physical sunscreens such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are much better (and safer) options.
5. ASCORBYL PALMITATE
This is the first generation vitamin C ester that went on the market. And while it does work as an effective antioxidant, it does little to stimulate collagen synthesis.
6. RETINYL PALMITATE
Despite what some companies may tell you, retinyl palmitate does not effectively convert to retinoic acid when applied to the skin. Therefore, it cannot do the things vitamin A does. But that aside, the main issue with this vitamin A derivative is the debate on whether it causes DNA damage and cancer growth. We prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid this ingredient all together.