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Skincare Q&A

Skincare Q&A

By M. Borriero
Skincare questions


Q: Mineral VS chemical sunscreen: which one is better?

A: Let’s clarify the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens (also known as physical sunscreens as they provide a physical barrier between your body and the sun’s rays) contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Ingredients that you can find in a chemical sunscreen include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone.

READ MORE: Meet our Själ Skincare Expert

Mineral sunscreen sits on top of your skin, absorbing and bouncing away harmful UVA and UVB rays, and it represents a better option if you have sensitive skin. On the other hand, some ingredients contained in the chemical ones penetrate the top layers in order to absorb UV rays before they can damage the skin. These usually have a thinner formula compared to the mineral ones, and are easier to apply and rub in.

Q: How often should I exfoliate my face?

A: Two or three times a week would be ideal, but it depends on your skin type, if sensitive once is enough. Exfoliation removes dead cells from the outer layer of the skin revealing a radiant, clean and smooth complexion. Be careful, over-exfoliating can cause irritation and inflammation.

There are different methods to exfoliate: you can apply acids (AHA, BHA, glycolic, malic, mandelic and tartaric), fruit-derived enzymes (papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, pomegranate are the most common), and physical exfoliators such as cream or gel-based products that contain small particles or beads. Both acids and enzymes work by dissolving dead cells.

Q: Should I wear sunscreen every day?

A: Sunscreen is an essential step of your skin care routine and it should be applied all year long, even in winter.

Most important, wearing sun protection decreases the risk of skin cancer and keeps the skin young and healthy with an even skin tone, reducing the appearance of discolouration and dark spots. The best combination would be to apply a sunscreen with antioxidant ingredients, to protect from environmental damage.

Q: Retinol & Vitamin C: can I use them together?

 A: You can use both but not in the same moment. Apply a vitamin C serum in the morning (excellent antioxidant) after cleansing and before the moisturiser, you will protect the skin from environmental damage and free radicals’ production. At night-time, you can apply a retinol serum or cream, just remember to use a sunscreen protection the day after as retinol it’s photosensitive, breaking down if exposed to sunlight and increasing the skin’s sensitivity to harmful rays.

Q: What's the difference between a serum and a moisturiser? Shall I use both?

Alteya Moisturiser

A: Serums and moisturisers help the skin in a different way. While a serum works in the deeper layer of the skin to repair cells, the moisturiser contains emollients that form a skin barrier, locking in moisture and nutrients. Serums contain highly concentrated ingredients and are used to treat a specific skin concern, such as acne, pigmentation or fine lines, offering an additional benefit to the skin and the texture is generally much lighter and thinner. Moisturisers are conditioning (with a thicker texture than serums) and they are meant to create a barrier as well as prevent water loss. The recommendation is to use both products AM and PM.

Q: Skincare tips for rosacea? 

A: Stick to gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers, apply every day non-chemical sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium dioxide and opt for a soothing face mask. Do not overly exfoliate your skin: it can trigger inflammation and redness easily.

Q: What are the best natural ingredients for sensitive skin?


A: First, use a mild soap-free cleanser morning and evening, ideally with a creamy texture (avoid foaming or gel cleansers). Look for ingredients that calm the skin down such as camomile, oatmeal, honey, calendula, green tea, cucumber extract and pure rose water. Avoid toners with alcohol or added fragrances and use a moisturiser with healing properties.

Q: I have dehydrated skin. What's a good skincare routine to follow?

A: Apply morning and evening hyaluronic acid or squalene serum and follow with a moisturiser that provides adequate hydration. If you want to exfoliate avoid AHAs acids such as glycolic, malic or lactic acid, and opt for PHA (Polyhydroxy acid) which has the ability to attract moisture to the skin. Need a quick fix? If your skin feels tight and dull, spritz on a facial mist to refresh and hydrate your skin all day long. 

Q: Do I need to moisture my oily skin?

A: Every skin type needs hydration! Both dry and oily skin can be dehydrated. Use a water-based moisturiser, as your skin can produce a lot of oil but still lacking in water. Dehydrated skin can lead to issues like inflammation, premature skin ageing, and breakouts. Just because your skin is oily, doesn’t mean it has enough water: cold weather, harsh water, heating and excessive cleansing cause loss of moisture.

Q: Is my skin dry or dehydrated?

A: Dryness refers to a skin type (like oily or combination), while dehydration refers to a skin condition and can happen to anyone, regardless of skin type. Dry skin, which might be flaky, red and irritated lacks oil as it doesn’t produce enough sebum compared to a normal skin, dehydrated skin doesn’t have enough water and the result is dullness and tired eye appearance.

Q: How can I prevent and treat pigmentation?

A: The most effective way to prevent pigmentation is using a sun protection every day. Typical peel ingredients can treat existing dark spots such as retinol, azelaic acid, AHAs, glycolic acid and malic acid. Pigmentation can be due to sun damage, past inflammation like acne, hormones or pregnancy.

If the dark spots are in the eye area, you can use an antioxidant cream followed by a sun protection in the morning, and a retinol eye cream for the night.

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