Can Your Skin “Crave” Certain Ingredients?

Most of us have experienced cravings of some sort. After a night out, we crave hangover foods. During our monthly menstrual cycles, we crave certain foods. On a cold rainy day, we crave the warmth of sunshine. You get the picture — but can our skin actually crave certain ingredients too?

Hear me out. I refrain from using my nightly vitamin C serum during the spring and summer months since it causes the skin to become sensitive to sunlight. However, once I adopt my fall skincare routine and reintroduce my nightly vitamin C serum in the fall and winter months, I notice my skin craves it as if it looks forward to my nightly application. It begs the question: Can your skin crave the best skin ingredients?

person with face mask at spa

Skin cravings

Similar to when we crave certain foods based on our mood, our skin can crave certain ingredients based on different factors such as our current skincare routine, lifestyle habits, and skin type. If your skin has been acting up lately, it may be craving certain ingredients. Here are some of the best skin ingredients your skin may be craving.

If you have acne-prone skin…

If you tend to have acne-prone skin that leads to breakouts, you may need to wash your face two to three times per day with an oil-free cleanser. Don’t overdo it, though, as over-washing can lead to increased oil production. Use a lightweight moisturizer and avoid products that are super heavy and contain ingredients like cocoa butter and coconut oil. Exfoliate once per week.

If you have breakouts…

Many different factors can result in blemishes and breakouts, so if your skin is breaking out more than normal, look for ingredients like niacinamide and zinc. Niacinamide reduces blotchiness and redness, ultimately decreasing your skin’s inflammatory response, which is what leads to new pimples.

If you have combination skin…

Combination skin is when you have some spots on your face that are dry while others spots, like the T-zone, tend to be oily. One of the best ingredients for skin like this is a mild cleanser that can help minimize sebum, an oily, waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands, along with a medium-weight lotion with broad-spectrum sunscreen.

If you have damaged or dull skin…

If your skin is feeling lackluster (oh hey, Chicago wintertime skin), it’s most likely craving antioxidants, which work to fight off the effects of free radicals. Some of the best skin ingredients to add to your skincare routine include beta-glucan, green tea, licorice, and vitamins C and E.

If you have dry skin…

If your skin feels like the Sahara Desert, then you probably have dry skin. Wash your face once in the morning and once at night with a creamy gentle cleanser, but avoid products with sodium laureth sulfate, which is a common foaming agent found in most facial cleansers.

Apply a moisturizer with sunscreen while your skin is still wet to lock in moisture. If your skin begins to feel tight throughout the day, reapply moisturizer, but be conservative. You don’t want to overdo it and clog pores, which could lead to breakouts. 

You may even want to include hyaluronic acid, which has the potential to carry up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a popular ingredient in moisturizing, soothing products.

If you suffer from extremely dry skin, wash your face once at night and give your face a quick rinse with cool water in the morning to help maintain our natural oils. Limit any exfoliation to once a week.

If you have extra oily skin…

If you have extra oily skin — which let’s be real, most of us do during the summertime when there’s constant heat and humidity — look for skincare products, such as a mask, with kaolin clay. Kaolin clay is great for preventing acne as it works to absorb excess oil. 

Clay also helps clear your skin of dirt and grime, while lightly exfoliating your skin in the process. Use a clay-based mask twice a week to keep your skin well-balanced.

If you have sensitive skin…

If you have sensitive skin, you may be tempted to stock up on skincare products with alluring aromas that smell like a spa. But if you live with sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid skincare products with strong fragrances. Instead, opt for calming, natural ingredients like aloe, chamomile, and green tea. Just like with food, the fewer the ingredients listed, the better.

If you have signs of aging…

If your skin is looking tired and showing signs of premature aging, such as dark spots and wrinkles, your skin may be craving some vitamin A. Vitamin A boosts your collagen production, keeping your skin elastic and strong.

Vitamin A also is an effective exfoliator, helping keep your pores clear and your skin smooth. You’ll often see vitamin A listed as retinol or retinoid, so look for skincare products including these ingredients to fight off signs of premature aging.

Lilian Alishaev, RN, family nurse practitioner, and cosmetic nurse injector, says besides retinol, vitamin C is another magic elixir of youth that should be in the skincare routine of every woman.

“Women really need to start taking care of their skin at a younger age, including incorporating any procedures that stimulate collagen,” she says. “Will any of the creams reduce fine lines and wrinkles in my opinion? No. Creams do not remove wrinkles, but they help to maintain the skin from forming those wrinkles. Creams and topicals are more to prevent wrinkles and maintain the skin.”

The bottom line on skincare cravings

The next time you notice your skin craving ingredients, your skin may be trying to tell you something — so pay attention to it. Knowing how to treat your skin concerns begins with understanding the best skin ingredients that can be used to address your concerns. Next time your skin is acting up, tap into some of the best ingredients for your skin to remedy those skincare cravings. (Your skin can thank me later!)

Beauty Live

About Ashley Martens

Ashley Martens is a Wellness Writer based in Chicago, Illinois. With a lifelong passion for all things health and wellness, Ashley enjoys writing about topics to help people live happier and healthier lives. With a foundation in fitness, food, and nutrition, Ashley covers it all including sexual health and travel topics.