Or does it just acts as a makeup base or coat over your skin? So, what exactly should you consider before choosing your face cream?
A simple question that changed my Skin – Does my face moisturizer works for the skincare in a true sense or simply helps the makeup to last longer ?
Do you know what started to bring about the improvement in my skin texture and concerns for which I tried countless remedies and products?
Firstly, I want to brief you on what exactly were my skin concerns-
- Dull skin with poor texture
- Acne prone
- Pigmented areas on face
- Makeup foundation & BB creams, which now very well enhance my look used to aggravate my skin concerns.
Now to the secret that helped me not only drastically improve my skin but also saved me from wasting bucks on skincare products-
Before making a purchase of any product marketed as a Skin-care, I started analyzing the ingredients’ list to understand if it’s more of a skin care product that truly cares for my skin concerns or a make-up product that gives a temporary solution.
I spent my time jotting down the skincare product claims and their respective ingredients. For this, I choose Facial Moisturizers which are often sold as Day and night creams.
Why specifically I choose to inspect face moisturizers?
As face moisturizers occupy the last step in skincare, in many the formula focuses on the feel and more on giving instant results.
My last month’s analyses were on skin pH and Know- Hows of Facial Cleansers. If you have missed out on it click the image below.
Let’s get started on selecting facial moisturizers by looking beyond the claims.
Basic expectations from a Facial Moisturizer: Day/Night Cream
Let’s first talk about the reason we go for day creams.
Irrespective of the skin type, we use day creams mostly to fulfill the basic needs of moisturizing the skin and protect it from harmful UV rays.
Little beyond the basic needs is to have an even skin tone and lighten the blemishes/dark spots
Additional needs: We expect our day cream to offer anti oxidant protection from the pollutants.
Expectations from Night creams: Anti-aging and skin rejuvenation (Includes healing of dark spots and hyper pigmentation)
What ingredients in a Facial Day/Night cream fulfill our needs?
If you need a real skincare kind of moisturizing effect then this is what you need to look for in your moisturizer’s ingredients: Humectants such as Hyaluronic acid and Sodium hyaluronate, Panthenol (vitamin B5)
Moderate humectants: Glycerine, Honey, Sorbitol, Propylene glycol, Butylene Glycol
Humectants attract and retain moisture in your skin.
Sadly, I couldn’t locate the cornerstone humectant Hyaluronic acid in either of the below mentioned popular day creams:
L’Oreal White perfect fairness control moisturizing day cream SPF17 PA++
L’Oreal White perfect clinical day cream SPF 19 PA++
Olay Natural White Natural Day SPF 24 Glowing Fairness Cream
Olay Total Effects 7 In One Anti-Ageing Day Cream Normal SPF 15
Pond’s Age Miracle Cell ReGEN Day Cream SPF 15PA++
Himalaya Clear Complexion Whitening Day Cream
However, Olay day and night creams seems to have decent amounts of panthenol. Decent amount because it was not listed towards the end of the ingredients.
Note: Ingredients are listed in descending order of their concentrations in the product.
Also, Olay Total Effects 7 In One Anti-Ageing Day Cream Normal SPF 15 seems have Panthenol in good enough amounts as you can spot it at the second row of ingredients.
For panthenol aka pro-vitamn B5 to show significant long term hydrating benefits to the skin, the skin care product needs to have at least 1% of it.
But, in many cases skincare products include panthenol for the sake of making claims.
Therefore, when you see a skincare product cashing on pro-vitamin B5 make sure to check if you can locate panthenol at least in the second row of ingredients.
If it is somewhere by the side of fragrance ingredients such as benzyl alcohol then the skincare product probably contains 0.5% or less than 0.5% of Panthenol.
Actives that counter hyper pigmentation and sun induced skin damage:
To even out the skin tone and reduce dark spots due to sun damage or acne our skin needs certain actives known as de-pigmenting or skin lightening ingredients.
Earlier hydroquinone was very popular in facial creams for skin lightening. After its controversial findings came to light, no longer brands incorporate hydroquinone in their products.
In the past few years Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), has replaced the hydroquinone and wide research backs up the potency of this vitamin in skincare.
You’ll locate Niacinamide in almost every day and night cream in the first row of ingredients itself. Of course, lowest its number in the list of ingredients, better the results.
Again, Olay Total Effects 7 In One Anti-Ageing cream seems to be the winner both for Niacinamide and Panthenol content within the creams. Not-so-surprisingly they cost more compared to their counter parts.
Disappointing is L’Oreal Paris White Perfect Day Cream SPF17++ with no trace of Niacinamide or Panthenol.
Correlate claims with ingredients:
Let’s just look at the promises made by L’Oreal Paris White Perfect Day Cream SPF17++: Transparent Rosy Radiance
Further description reads: Contains a breakthrough ingredient – Melanin Vanish, 1 drop 50X more powerful, (“More powerful” than what? Ermm…!) which helps to inhibit melanin production at the source. With SPF 17/PA ++, it effectively helps protect skin from UVA and UVB.
Let us check what the ingredients’ speak.
Aqua / Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (UVB Sunscreen), Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide / Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate (Occlusive, Viscosity Increasing Agent), Titanium Dioxide (sun block), Peg-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate,(Absorbs UVA Radiation) Synthetic Wax, Aluminum Hydroxide, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ci 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, Citric Acid, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract / Lemon Fruit Extract, Ethylparaben, Manganese Gluconate, Methylparaben, Octyldodecanol, Palmitic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Silica, Stearic Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Tourmaline, Parfum / Fragrance Etc..
From whatever I could decipher, I couldn’t locate anything in the ingredients that gives a transparent rosy radiance to the skin.
As for Ascorbyl Glucoside, a stable derivative of Vitamin C has very few studies that support its skin lightening claim.
Nevertheless, cosmetic formulators say it works provided it is present in specified %s for example, The Ordrinary Ascorbyl Glucoside 12% solution.
The ingredient highlighted in red- Phenyletheyl Resorcinol is a skin whitening agent. However, only independent research conducted by the makers of this chemical claim that its 0.5% is as good as 1%Kojic acid (Acclaimed skin lightening agent).
Also, there have been reports of allergic contact dermatitis due to Phenylethyl Resorcinol.
The only good thing of this cream is presence of Caproyl Salicylic acid which treats the rough dry patches of skin. But, I’d rather look for other options than buy a facial cream for one good ingredient.
Other Skin De-pigmenting Ingredients with different properties: Vitamin C, vitamin E, retinols, arbutin, azelaic acid, kojic acid, ellagic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid.
Of these Vitamin C or its derivatives, Vitamin E (tocopherol acetate), retinols, salicylic acid are commonly found in popular day/night facial moisturizers.
How much are Vitamin C and Vitamin E relevant in popular Day and Night facial moisturizing creams:
From clinical point of view dermatologists often recommend using Vitamin C after being under the Sun.
Because, UV rays decrease vitamin C levels in the skin, applying the vitamin C after being under the sun combats the free radicals produced by the UV rays as well as refills the depleted vitamin C from skin.
Additionally, Vitamin C promotes collagen formation (skin’s structural protein)
Different forms of Vitamin C derivatives available for skincare: Ascorbic acid, Ascorbyl glucoside, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ethylated Ascorbic Acid (has high potency).
L’Oreal White Perfect Clinical Overnight Treatment Cream has ethylated ascorbic acid as well as Niacinamide. Now that it has these ingredients somewhere in a pile of other ingredients it’s priced nearly double to that of the L’Oreal’s white perfect fairness control moisturizing day cream🤨
It also has PROCYSTIN which according to L’Oreal neutralizes free radicals and acts to reduce melanin formation. But, from whatever I could find about Procystin, it’s just a skin bleaching agent.
But, when it comes to getting lucky with Vitamin C, the skin care product needs to have a good enough % of vitamin C.
Therefore, to reap the benefits of Vitamin C look for Vitamin C serums that specifies the % of vitamin C. Add few drops of this serum to your day/night facial creams.
For instance, this high end product from Clinique- Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% offers vitamin C in emulsion form. You can add a drop or two to your moisturizer.
Almost every cream out there in the mark incorporates vitamin E. All thanks to its easy availability and cost.
Nonetheless, if you locate Vitamin E in ingredients’ list next to preservatives such as Phenoxyethanol or fragrance then it means it was added in quantities to act as preservative but not to benefit the skin.
Retinol (Vitamin A) derivatives:
Retinol derivatives have innumerable benefits ranging from treating acne prone skin, excessive oiliness to anti aging.
But, it’s a powerful ingredient that causes dryness, redness, flaking of skin till the skin gets over the purging phase. After 4-6 weeks skin starts responding well to retinol based products.
From the day/night creams I choose for checking the claims and their relevant ingredients, I found retinol derivatives in anti-aging range of Pond’s.
Pond’s anti aging day and night creams have almost same ingredients with the only difference of added sunscreens for day time cream.
Furthermore, as low as 0.03% of retinol shows great skin benefits. Therefore, I didn’t bother guessing the quantity of retinol in these creams.
Not to mention, retinol degrades in sun. Sunscreen within your moisturizer protects you from UV rays but may or may not save the liable retinol.
Therefore use your retinol based products during PM for best results.
Also, I stumbled upon the so-called luxury anti aging range from Pond’s.
Deceptive claims promising youthful glow?
Let’s check what these luxury range of skincare products from Pond’s have to offer:
Tag line: Recapture the radiant glow of youthful skin.
*Again, both are the same with the presence and absence of sunscreen being the only difference.
The product description reads:
Infused with real precious gold – It takes touch of gold to reduce age
Infused with goodness of Vitamin A and vitamin B3
As for the gold there’s very little research to support its anti-aging, “brings back youth” claims. In fact, there have been more of negative reports on usage of gold for skincare.
Truth to be told, gold in skincare sounds more or less a marketing gimmick to increase the price tag. (Pond’s gold range costs around 3000Rs for 50 ml of each day and night cream)
Not to forget, you’ll find mica and calcium aluminium boroasilicate in the ingredients’ list of both day and night creams.
Mica and Calcium Aluminium Boroasilicate gives you the gold shimmery makeup look.
However, what bothered me was presence of these ingredients in even night cream. Night creams should help in rejuvenating the skin not give a false sense of radiance.
There’s no point in removing makeup before going to bed if the night creams we apply act as a makeup coat.
Know-Whats of Selecting Facial Mositurizers –Day/Night Creams – Your Takeway
By now you must have understood the reasons for wide gap between expectations and results from our day/night creams.
A facial moisturizing cream essentially comprises of different ingredients with different purposes. For example,
Skin conditioning ingredients: Softens and smoothes skin by giving a temporary moisturizing benefit to the skin
Film forming ingredients: These are responsible for the silky non-greasy feel of the creams.
Ingredients that make and stabilize a cream: Emulsifiers, pH balancers
So, you cannot simply buy a product for the highlighted active ingredients. In most cases the film forming ingredients don’t let the active ingredients benefit the skin.
Does that mean should you avoid using the popularly advertised day and night creams?
These popular day creams have the advantage of easy availability so, use them mainly for the sun protection they offer.
Focus on SPF and texture of cream that suits your skin rather than any other claims.
If you need goodness of vitamin C and E then go for serums such as St.Botanica Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C, E Facial Serum. Then apply any of the popular creams you prefer.
Alternatively, for de-pigmenting, skin brightening needs you can use a moisturizer serum such as, Suganda Skincare White Lotus Moisturiser (Check here) which has concentrated actives- Niacinamide, Panthenol, hyaluronic acid. Then apply a sunscreen on top of that.
For night time skincare:
While selecting night time creams you need to be more vary of the list of ingredients.
Most of the night creams that go by the claims of “repair” have ingredients that give a sense of temporary plump look by filling in fine lines. For example,Olay Natural White 7 IN ONE Night Nourishing Repair Cream has dimethiconol which serves the purpose of giving a plump look.
Other ingredients such as Nylon-12 and Polyacrylamide which form a coat like film, found in many night creams may not be necessary for someone who has no aging related skin concerns.
Therefore, go for serums that address your concerns and then apply a simple moisturizer with short list of ingredients.
So, this was my round up of popular day and night moisturizer creams. Hope this be of help to you.🤗
If you wish to discuss a particular product feel free to drop in a comment.