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The three molecules your skincare should have

In an interview with Lounge, L’Oréal Paris global scientific director Elisabeth Bouhadana talks about the importance of a simple beauty routine

Your skincare routine needs to be simple so that you can do it every single day.
Your skincare routine needs to be simple so that you can do it every single day. (Pexels)

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We throw a lot of money and time at our face and body. Every other day, there's a new skincare product in the market, pushing people to try something different to get that “baby skin”. From acids to serums, there's too much of everything around us, with a promise to give a healthy skin. 

“Skincare doesn't have to be so complicated,” insisted Elisabeth Bouhadana, the global scientific director of L’Oréal Paris, during the online The Other Summit, held few weeks ago to give a sense of the "science behind the brand's formulation".  

Also read: Are beauty pageants really regressive?

After the event, we spoke with Bouhadana about the importance of a simple skincare routine and the impact of covid on how people approach skincare. Edited excerpts:

Elisabeth Bouhadana, the global scientific director of L’Oréal Paris
Elisabeth Bouhadana, the global scientific director of L’Oréal Paris (Courtesy L'Oreal)

How has the pandemic changed the way people look at skincare?

Skincare has become more important for sure. People have realised that it's connected to health because skincare products penetrate the skin. Today's consumer wants to know what their product contains. They are getting more curious, more conscious; they are asking the right questions. The pandemic has made people more selective about the products they use; they want quality.

There's just so much noise about different skincare routines people should follow. Is there a single simple routine one you practice that addresses most concerns?

Your skincare routine needs to be simple so that you can do it every single day. I always say that the simplest beauty routine is always the best, but you need to know the good products.

As far as the daily routine is concerned, I would suggest, whenever you do it, morning and/or evening, start with first washing your face. Even in the morning, we have all the dead skin cells that accumulate during the night, so it's important to get rid of all that. And what really helps in achieving it is a product that contains salicylic acid. It will also help in improving the penetration of the product you will use just after. 

So just to follow up in the morning, I will choose a product that contains hyaluronic acid. It's a molecule that we all have in our skin, but it starts decreasing around the age of 25-30. This molecule is fundamental in taking care of the skin's plumpness and decrease signs of aging. Whether you are 18 or 45, if there's one molecule you need, it is hyaluronic acid. 

And when it's combined with salicylic acid, it's a perfect combo. Because the salicylic acid will help get rid of all the greasiness of the skin and hyaluronic acid will help increase the moisture and plumpness. 

So a good, simple beauty routine is washing the face, applying a serum with hyaluronic acid followed by salicylic acid. And the last thing we have to have to do is wear SPF because it helps decrease  premature aging. After doing a lot of studies, we found that 80% of (premature) aging can be decreased if you use an SPF regularly.

And how much SPF is ideal?

A minimum of 20. Of course, if you go to the beach, or work outside, SPF 50 is better.

Coming back to the skincare routine question, is there like an ideal number of products a person should use each time?

I would say, keep it simple. It doesn't need to be sophisticated. Wash your face, apply a product that protects moisture, and if you're starting to have some pigmentation issue use a product that has glycolic acid and niacinamide.

I would say a maximum of three products is good. The most important thing is to follow the skincare routine every day. People start expecting drastic changes in only seven days. Skincare is not like makeup; it is something which starts from the surface, and works from the inside. 

What is that one skincare ingredient people should stay away from?

Bleaching products because they are just too harsh. In the first step, you will see the problem decrease after using the product. But after one week, the problem returns even worse. 

Also, it's also a question of finding the products with a good dosage and a good stability of ingredients. Sometimes the same ingredient can be beneficial for the skin or not beneficial at all. Take glycolic acid, or even niacinamide, for instance. These molecules have high efficiency and you need to use them in the right dosage to have the good efficacy. I would say the concentration between two to 10% is a maximum for niacinamide. I would say for glycolic acid, two to 10% again is okay. Anything over 10% in both cases can result in overreaction. 

And what's the one ingredient that should be in our skincare routine?

If you only have to select one, I would say hyaluronic acid because it helps moisture the skin which is the most important thing for us as we age. 

Ideally, we should have three ingredients for sure: hyaluronic acid, glycolic and salicylic acid, depending on if you have dry or oily skin. These are our skin's lifesavers.

Also read: What will make a beauty brand work in 2022?

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