Summer can leave our skin feeling and looking a bit of a mess. Skin-soothing ingredients to the rescue! They’ll soothe any irritation and sensitivity, but the beauty of it is, your skin doesn’t have to be an irritated mess to reap the benefits. All the skin-soothing ingredients in this list also have other notable skin benefits and can work for all skin types. What are some of the most popular skin-soothing ingredients, and what are their skin benefits?
Beta Glucan is a sugar molecule (polysaccharide) derived from cereals, oats, and yeasts (among others). Beta Glucan is a humectant that works by attracting and holding the moisture in the uppermost layer of the skin. Because it supports the skin’s barrier function, it is a well-tolerated ingredient and is suitable for most skin types.
Beta Glucan also enhances macrophage activity. These are scavenger cells that defend the body from various pathogens. When it comes to the skin, it means it protects our skin’s barrier from bacteria and viruses. Studies have shown Beta Glucan is an ingredient that can be beneficial as a treatment for various skin conditions (like dermatitis and eczema, for example).
Beta Glucan is rich in phenols, which, in turn, are known for their antioxidant activity. Likewise, it is an ingredient that minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A study tested the penetration effects of 0.5% Beta Glucan in human skin models. Beta Glucan molecule is large, but it can penetrate the dermis. It reduces the roughness of the skin and plumps up fine lines and wrinkles.
Bisabolol is a phytochemical compound found in plants. The one used in skincare products is Alpha Bisabolol. One of the most common sources of Alpha Bisabolol is German Chamomile and the Candeia tree (a tree native to Brazil). Since most of the world’s production of Bisabolol comes from that particular tree, it led to deforestation. Bisabolol used in Ishtar’s products is ecologically sourced.
Because Bisabolol is rich in panthenol, it hydrates and reduces dryness and dehydration. It is often included in skincare products for sensitive skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Other notable benefits include anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. It stimulates collagen production and blocks the enzymes responsible for collagen degradation.
Niacinamide (also known as Nicotinic acid and Vitamin B3) is a popular ingredient in the skincare community because of its versatility.
It targets a variety of skin issues. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces redness and irritation. Likewise, it maintains a healthy moisture barrier and regulates sebum production. Niacinamide moisturises the skin and prevents Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) by increasing the levels of ceramides in the Stratum Corneum. Together with its anti-inflammatory properties, it can work wonders for sensitive skin and skin with compromised moisture barrier. Furthermore, it can be a beneficial ingredient for people prone to acne and breakouts. Niacinamide also helps fade hyperpigmentation (by blocking the accumulation of melanin) and boosts collagen and elastin production.
The soothing properties of Aloe Vera are widely known, and it has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is an anti-inflammatory that soothes, hydrates, and speeds up the healing process. Aloe Vera is rich in vitamins (vitamin A, C, E, and B12) and minerals (potassium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium). It also contains enzymes and fatty acids.
Centella Asiatica is also known as Gotu Kola, Indian Pennyworth, or as labelled in skincare product Cica. Korean skincare brands popularized it by including it in their products because of its skin-soothing properties. In the ingredients list look for madecassic acid, madecassoside, Centella Asiatica extract, Gotu Kola extract, or asiaticoside.
Centella Asiatica is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, amino acids, and terpenoids.
While it is not as well-researched as some of the other ingredients on this list, Centella Asiatica shows promise. It can hydrate the skin, calm inflammation, and increase collagen synthesis. It also has antioxidant properties and protects the skin against free radical damage. A study (done on mice, mind you) shows it can improve the speed of wound healing.
What are some of your favourite skin-soothing ingredients?