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Skincare Terms Explained

Pore-minimizing, toning, brightening—skincare can be a minefield of not-so-clear terms, so here’s a primer to help demystify the language.

Skincare ingredients, language and science can be complicated—especially with new additions every day. But it’s important to understand what some of those terms mean so you can decide if the skin products are right for you. And once you know what to look for, and what each term means, you can get a better handle on your skincare routine and the skincare products you want to use on your face.

Here are some of the most common skincare terms, what they mean and what ingredients can help you achieve them.

Don’t be afraid of skincare exfoliating

If a product is exfoliating, it likely has one of two qualities: Either it includes some grit (like sugar) to physically scrub dead skin from the surface of your complexion or it includes acids like LHA, AHA or BHA to promote cell turnover. Both are considered exfoliating—one physical and one chemical. Though they sound scary, acids are skin treatments that, when used correctly, gently exfoliate extremely well. The goal of exfoliation is to slough off dead or damaged surface cells in an effort to allow new, fresh skin to come to the surface. Choosing a skincare product with LHA, like L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Face Serum with LHA, is a gentle way to exfoliate—and exfoliating is key for helping to reduce dark spots and for preventing blockages in your pores. In fact, almost anyone can benefit from exfoliating two to three times a week. If a scrub is more your speed, select a gentle one that will buff away dead skin cells without damaging your skin like L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Coffee Scrub for Rough Skin.

The best skincare regimen includes brightening ingredients

If you’re looking to minimize dark spots, to restore your glow or to banish a sallow complexion, you want products that brighten. While often mistaken for simply lightening agents, brightening products (the good ones) will actually work at the cellular level to stimulate collagen and hydration. The best ingredients here are antioxidants (like vitamin C, peony extract, niacinamide, green tea and resveratrol) and acids (like glycolic). Antioxidants help to combat damage that has already been done by outside forces, like the sun and pollution, while also helping to strengthen your skin to protect it from future attacks, while acids help to slough off dead skin cells that may be causing your complexion to look dull.. You can use these ingredients singularly, but the best skincare regimen will use a combo of these ingredients in small percentages to get the best effect, like in L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Night Moisturizer.

How to shrink pores, a.k.a. refining

Those looking to refine their skin are likely dealing with congestion, breakouts or acne. Basically you want to know how to shrink pores. Refining tends to refer to minimizing pores, and all of those fun skin conditions usually go hand in hand with larger pores or oilier skin. While your pores can’t physically shrink, they can appear smaller and definitely be clear of built-up sebum and debris with the right products. Look for clay masks like L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliating & Pore Refining Mask. It draws out impurities, including excess oil and pollution, while also balancing. The result is a clear complexion with tighter-looking pores.

Renewal is all about that skincare glow

If you’re after a renewed complexion, you’re likely looking for hydration and a certain joie de vivre in your cheeks. Luminosity and glow—they’re getting harder and harder to hold on to as your skin ages or you spend time in the sun or city. Using ingredients like squalane and glycerin—with are both in L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Moisturizer—are great ways to recapture that glow. You can also count on the moisturizer to revive your complexion thanks to its rosy pigment, which ups the ante on your luminosity. For all things renewing, look to your face cream. The best face cream will add moisture while also helping to banish any dullness.

Tackle your skincare routine with ease

While using products that specifically target these outcomes on their own is good, the best skin care regimen will include products that take a multi-pronged approach. L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Rosy Tone Moisturizer both exfoliates and renews, while L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliating & Pore Refining Mask refines pores and contributes to glow. Look for smart solutions, and don’t be afraid of those skincare keywords—with the right know-how, you can figure out exactly what you need.

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