What are the ABCs of beauty cream, when and why you should use them?
When it comes to navigating the beauty bar it can seem like an impossible mission to figure out the benefits of some products. Lipsticks, mascara, foundation are no-brainers. We know what they are, what we like about them, and what they do for us. But some beauty products are a bit more mysterious. That’s why for my latest mission I’ve gathered intel from Dr. Rebecca Baxt – a board certified New York dermatologist – to decode BB, CC, and DD beauty creams. When selecting a beauty cream, Dr. Baxt suggests checking the active ingredients and making sure it has at least a 20 or 30 SPF. Here’s more intel from Dr. Baxt on beauty creams and I’ve included a roundup of products to try.
What is it: BB creams are short for beauty balms or blemish balms. They were first developed in Germany by a dermatologist who wanted a single cream that would protect skin and provide coverage after laser treatments. The all-in-one formulation became a sensation in South Korea and then spread throughout Asia. “The average woman in Asia goes through seven different steps taking care of her skin,” says Dr. Baxt.
What it does: Many BB creams offer effective sun protection, with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher than the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendation for daily use. What’s more, BB creams generally contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide, physical sun blocks that have some built-in water-resistant properties, Baxt says.
When it comes to skin treatment, you can find BB creams that contain the following:
- Anti-aging components, including peptides and antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, and C.
- Moisturizing workhorses like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
- Ingredients such as licorice and arbutin that help even out skin tone.
- Light-reflecting mica to give skin a luminous finish.
- Silicone-based ingredients, such as dimethicone, that help smooth the skin, acting much like a foundation primer does.
Product to try: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35. Available in nine skin tone shades.
What it does: Lighter than a BB cream, CC cream’s primary purpose is to correct color-related skin issues, such as sallowness or redness. Like BB cream, it has SPF as well (number varies by brand).
How to use it: If you’re acne-prone, have dull skin, dark spots or constant redness, CC cream is for you.
How it differs: Use CC cream to help with redness, acne, dark spots, sallowness and more. It’s also lighter than BB cream.
Product to try: Amorepacific ‘Color Control’ Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50. Winner of Elle magazine’s ‘Genius’ Award in 2013 and Allure magazine’s ‘Best of Beauty’ in 2013.
What is it: Fresh to the ‘alphabet cream’ craze, DD creams, or “dynamic do-all” are a super cream: They combine the power and benefits of both BB and CC creams. However, their primary focus is anti-aging.
What it does: The anti-aging specialty of the cream works to diminish wrinkles and fine lines throughout use. Additionally, DD cream will balance skin tone and protect the most sensitive areas of your skin.
How to use it: Supposedly, you’ll really see improvements in your skin with continued use, so use often and incorporate it into your daily routine.
How it differs: DD cream’s strongest selling point is their anti-aging benefits. If you’re looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, this cream is the cream for you.
Product to try: ‘DD Cream’ Dermatologically Defining BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30. Fragrance-free, dye-free, GMO-free, triclosan-free, gluten-free, and petrochemical-free.
Which should you choose?
According to Baxt, each category overlaps to the point where the differentiation is almost non-existent. The upside is they are all great products that can be very beneficial for the skin. The downside is sorting through the many varieties to determine which would work better for you. If discoloration is your primary concern then start with CC creams, because that’s their claim to fame so you will more than likely find a product that contains skin-brightening ingredients such as arbutin or daisy flower extract. If fine lines and wrinkles are the issue, then look for an ‘alphabet cream’ full of ingredients like retinol, firming peptides or adenosine. If your skin is oily, then look for an ‘alphabet cream’ that controls oil and has a lightweight texture.