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Do Multi-Purpose Skin Care Products Really Work?

Posted by Nikki Wisher on Jun 21st 2024

Do Multi-Purpose Skin Care Products Really Work?

For some people, skin care is a soothing self care ritual that gives you a chance to take time for yourself every day. For others (and frankly for all of us on some days), it just feels like a chore. So it’s no surprise that multifunctional skin care products are getting popular – think a combo moisturizer and sunscreen, for example, or anti-aging + anti-acne product.

On the surface, they seem like a great way to save time and simplify your skin care routine. But we’ve all been burned before by products that try to do too many things and, as a result, aren’t good at any of the things they’re supposed to do. I’m looking at you, shampoo-conditioner combo.

Is that the case with multifunctional skin care products, or do these products actually work as well as using multiple single-purpose products? Let’s find out.

Do Multifunctional Skin Care Products Work?

The entirely unsatisfying short answer to this is “sometimes.” Multi-purpose skin care products absolutely can work as well as using multiple separate products. Not all of them do, though, so it comes down to judging quality and efficacy on a product-by-product basis.

Don’t you worry, I won’t just leave you with that. There are some tricks you can use to see if a multifunctional product actually does what it claims to do and does it well.

How to Tell if a Multifunctional Skin Care Product Works

Everyone’s skin is one of a kind so you can’t know for certain whether a product will work for you until you try it. But there are some tips you can use to see if a product has what it takes to live up to the multi-action promises its packaging is making.

Check the Label

Skin care products are regarded as cosmetics so the claims they make on the label aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means that theoretically, they can claim anything they want. A helpful way to see if they’ve actually designed the product to do what it says it does is to check out the ingredients list. See if there are ingredients in it that match its functions. For example, if a product claims to moisturize and fight acne, make sure there are moisturizing ingredients and also acne-fighting ingredients within it.

To give you a quick cheat sheet, here are the main ingredients you want to see for some common skin care functions:

Moisturizing ingredients:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Sodium lactate
  • Urea
  • Aloe
  • Shea butter
  • Squalene
  • Petrolatum
  • Beeswax
  • Dimethicone
  • Ceramides
  • Niacinamide

Wrinkle reducing and skin firming ingredients:

  • Retinol
  • Vitamin C
  • Ceramides
  • Peptides

Ingredients to reduce dark spots:

  • Hydroquinone
  • Vitamin C
  • Retinoids
  • Kojic acid

Ingredients to reduce acne:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
  • Azelaic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Sulfur
  • Tea tree oil
  • Adapalene

Look for Research

Is there any research to back up the claims that this skin care brand is making about their product? This isn’t mandatory, but many brands do highlight the findings of their clinical studies, so it’s one factor to look for if you want some added assurance. You’ll usually find this on the brand’s website, specifically on the page for the product you’re considering buying.

Read Reviews

When you’re wondering if a product works, who better to consult than someone who has used it first-hand? Look for reviews for the product, especially on third-party websites that sell numerous brands like Skin Elite because these sites have no incentive to encourage you to buy one product over another.

There are a few caveats for reading reviews. First, everyone’s skin is unique so if a product worked for someone else, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you (and vice versa). Second, it takes some time for reviews to show up, especially for skin care products because it usually takes a month or more to tell if a product is working well. For newer products, it can be a while before there are enough reviews to be reliable.

Consider the Source

Skin care brands span the whole spectrum of quality. Some have proven themselves to be trustworthy time and time again with high-quality products that do what they claim to do, while others don’t have such a stellar reputation. As you’re shopping for multifunctional skin care products, your best bet is to start with products from trusted brands, like La Roche-Posay’s moisturizing sunscreen for example.

Trying Out Multi-Purpose Skin Care Products

The tips above can help you shop wisely for multifunctional skin care products. At the end of the day, though, as is the case with any skin care product, the only way to really know if it will work for you is to try it. The potential reward in this case is a great one, giving you the skin health and results you want with an easier, quicker skin care routine.