Wisdom from Goldilocks: The Poison Is in the Dose
"This ingredient is bad for you -- ban it entirely!" *Record scratch* Hold up. When we hear that any particular ingredient or thing is bad, we should critically analyze these claims before we have a knee-jerk reaction. One of the most important mantras to keep in mind when analyzing such claims is: "The poison is in the dose."
That sounds scary - what does it mean? It simply means that oftentimes, too little of something could be toxic, and too much of that same thing could also be toxic. Take water for example: too little of it will kill a person, fast. Too much of it (in the ballpark of 1.5 gallons at once) can result in hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication, which can be fatal. We humans have a similar relationship with oxygen. In other words, Goldilocks was right.
So what does that mean about ingredients in skincare? For years, Vitamin A has gotten a bad rap for various concerns. Too much topical Vitamin A can cause a retinoid reaction, marked by redness and irritation. Too little Vitamin A can leave your skin deficient and compromised. The Goldilocks amount of Vitamin A supports healthy cellular turnover, regulates the skin's DNA, controls sebum production, boosts collagen production, and helps prevent unwanted skin woes like breakouts and fine lines.
And what about Vitamin C? Too much topical Vitamin C can cause sun sensitivity, leading to sunburns and hyperpigmentation. Too little Vitamin C can lead to deficiency, premature aging, and weak blood capillaries that rupture more easily. The Goldilocks amount of topical Vitamin C fosters collagen production, reduces hyperpigmentation, prevents fine lines, strengthens blood capillaries, and acts as an anti-oxidant to combat harmful free radicals in the environment.
What does this mean when it's time to shop skincare? In order to find products that strike the delicate balance between too much and too little essential skin vitamins, look for skincare that has been formulated by a physician. If you have questions about a particular ingredient in any product, reach out to that company directly; they should provide a thorough, transparent response about why they chose that ingredient and why it's safe for you. If they provide dodgy answers or refuse to respond, you might question the credibility and integrity of that brand.
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