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How to Read a Skin Care Product Label

There’s nothing like the ingredients list on a cleanser or moisturizer. You need to take your old chemistry textbook with you to try to make sense of it. Or you can just check out our handy glossary on common ingredients.

Dimethicone: A silicone (along with anything else ending in “cone”), which gives a lotion a creamy silky feel.

Glycerin: Draws in water to moisturize without feeling heavy or clogging pores

Petrolatum: A thick, occlusive agent that seals in moisture

Ceramides: Lipids naturally found in the skin that helps keep water in and irritants out

Salicylic Acid: A beta hydroxy acid that clears out pores and helps prevent zits

Glycolic Acid: An alpha hydroxy acid that sloughs away the top layer of skin to brighten and even out texture

Lactic Acid: An alpha hydroxy acid that gently exfoliates as well as hydrates

Retinol: Sloughs away the top layer of skin to build collagen, soften wrinkles and minimize spots

Caffeine: Temporarily tightens and depuffs

Hydroquinon: A skin bleacher that fades dark spots

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