BB cream is an all in one skin care product that functions as a moisturizer, sunscreen, and sometimes, foundation. BB cream commonly stands for blemish balm, blemish base, or beauty balm. Essentially, these products all offer similar functions. The goal is for it to protect the skin from damage, as well as improve the appearance of the skin.
In turn, they are thought to help reduce blemishes. A blemish is a spot on the skin that is considered a flaw or discoloration. A blemish may include acne, nodules, papules, scars, age spots, birthmarks, cysts, skin cancer, cold sores, or general skin damage from sun exposure or hormonal changes.
And there are various causes for these blemishes. Some are caused by external factors, like the sun or infections, and others are caused by uncontrollable factors, such as genetics. Yet, BB cream products work to cover blemishes that can’t be reduced while reducing blemishes that can proactively be diminished.
Since BB cream products have a variety of different functions, they also have a variety of different ingredients. But what are the benefits? In the following sections, this article explores the benefits of common ingredients found in BB creams.
1Cucumber extraction is commonly used in BB creams to help boost moisture within the skin. And surprisingly, it may have a basis in science and research as to why and how it works (1).
Cucumbers have found to have a high versatility when it comes to their health benefits and usage. One scientific review examined cucumbers and their use topically and orally. However, the review did state more research is needed to solidify these claims (2).
Essentially, it’s thought that the high water content in cucumbers (it’s about 96% water) contribute to hydration and moisturizing effects on the skin (3).
2The ingredient, aloe, in bb cream products may also temporarily diminish the appearance of blemishes via moisturizing effects. In a 2006 study published in Skin Research and Technology, researchers explored the use of aloe vera and its moisturizing properties.
In this study, freeze-dried aloe vera extract was observed through a 1 or 2 week application. It was found that aloe vera increased the water content in the stratum corneum after 2 weeks. The study concluded by saying that aloe vera was an effective ingredient to improve moisture in the skin (4).
A review on aloe vera conducted in 2008 explored its mechanism of action and uses. The review outlined that aloe vera contains Vitamin A, C, and E, 8 enzymes, various minerals, some sugars, hormones, and more. Through these contents, aloe vera has healing properties, protective effects, anti-inflammatory effects, immune properties, and possible moisturizing or anti-aging effects (5).
3Vitamin E reduces oxidative stress, preventing skin damage and protecting the skin from harm. Vitamin E is well-known for its anti-photoaging effects. It does this by preventing oxidative stress in the body and on the skin. It’s considered a major antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in the body (6).
One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology explored Vitamin E and its function against sunburns. 10 subjects in the study took Vitamin E orally for 8 days. It was found to reduce the sunburn reaction. Subsequently, it could reduce skin damage, particularly UVB, via these protective properties (7).
Another study found it even acted in a similar way even after sun exposure. Application was delayed by 8 hours after sun exposure. Yet, it still showed statistically significant results, improving skin damage (8).
4Botanical actives in BB cream products may improve the skin barrier. Ultimately, this may protect underlying structures, as well as actively protect the skin itself.
Dry skin is linked to a disruption in the skin barrier or a damaged skin barrier. Botanical extracts, including aloe vera, were examined. The botanical extracts included (besides aloe vera) betula alba, helianthus annuus, hypericum perforatum, lithospermum erythrorhizon, piptadenia colubrina, and simarouba amara. It was found that some of these actives did contribute to reducing dry skin. In this way, they had skin-barrier protective properties (9).
Further, many of these ingredients may act as antioxidants further protecting the skin from damage, such as that from the sun. In this way, they may reduce blemishes and promote skin health.
5Some BB cream products may have peptides in them that act as anti-wrinkle substances. Sometimes, these peptides are referred to as ‘botox in a jar.’
A 2002 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science examined the argireline peptide and its anti-wrinkle effects. Researchers found it to be useful in preventing wrinkles. They further claimed it was non-toxic and safe for skin use, giving way to its usage and addition in BB cream products and ingredient lists (10).
Another study supported these claims, citing peptides as plausible entities in treating the signs and symptoms of aging. However, this study and review did state that reversing aging is not possible (11).
6Hyaluronic acid is a popular ingredient in all skincare products, and is used as an active ingredient in some BB cream products. It has anti-aging and hydrating effects, protecting the skin from damage and promoting optimal skin health.
Hyaluronic acid has a high water-binding potential, which makes it an excellent entity to increase skin hydration. In turn, it’s thought to increase skin strength, elasticity, and moisture. In one particular study, 76 female participants between the ages of 30 and 60 applied formulas 2 times a day for 60 days.
The results showed significant improvements in skin hydration, as well as elasticity. Researchers concluded that topically applied 0.1% hyaluronic acid may be associated with reduced wrinkle depth via these means (12).
Another study had similar results with the use of a hyaluronic acid-based cream. In this other study, researchers found that skin elasticity and roughness both improved, and that this treatment was well-tolerated, with no reported side effects. They concluded by saying that this ingredient may have a rejuvenating impact on the skin (13).
7Noni extract is also used as an ingredient in some popular BB cream products. Noni extract has antioxidant effects, protecting the skin from damage and harm (14).
A 2005 published article explore noni extract and its antioxidant effects. It was concluded to be a powerful and very good antioxidant compound (15).
8Zinc oxide in most BB cream products has protective effects from harmful UV rays. It’s also found in many sunscreen products for this same reason. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy explored the use of zinc oxide in protecting against the sun’s harmful rays.
Researchers determined that it is a highly effective and safe mechanism to include in sunblock and to protect against UV rays (16).
9Vitamin C is further found in many BB creams. It’s shown to have beneficial antioxidant effects, protecting the skin from harm and fighting oxidative stress.
Vitamin C is scientifically proven to be a viable antioxidant in the body and skin. It is found that Vitamin C levels in the skin become depleted after sun exposure. By adding these to skincare products, levels are brought back to normal and thus, restored. This way Vitamin C can actively do its job of protecting the body and skin from free radicals (17).
In turn, this protects the skin from external factors causing blemishes.
10Iron oxide as an ingredient may also protect the skin barrier, protecting the skin from damage and blemishes caused by external factors, such as sun exposure. It’s also considered to have antioxidant effects, similar to other ingredients.
11Jojoba oil is another common ingredient in BB cream products that may protect the skin from blemishes (18). A 2011 study in Skin Research and Technology explored the use of jojoba oil on the skin. It was found to be an effective moisturizing agent for the skin. Ultimately, this acts as a protector of skin hydration, function, and strength (19).
1Aloe vera use may cause burning, stinging, redness, or dermatitis. However, this is more frequent in particularly skin-sensitive individuals. Allergic reactions aren’t necessarily common but they may occur. It is further not recommended to use or consume aloe vera during pregnancy and potentially when breastfeeding (20).
2Jojoba oil is unsafe to take by mouth and may cause severe health reactions and damage, such as life-threatening heart disorders or conditions.
3The toxicity of iron oxide remains a controversial topic. In some cases (and depending on the mechanism in which it is received by the body), possible adverse effects include discoloration and siderosis (excess iron in the body) (21).
4Large amounts of Vitamin E may increase the chances of prostate cancer in men, and may have adverse effects including diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, weakness, fatigue, rashes, bruising, bleeding, and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek out immediate medical attention. However, many skincare products do not contain enough Vitamin E to produce a toxic reaction. But use caution otherwise.
5Too much Vitamin C may also result in gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, topical use may not promote such effects since it is applied to a localized area.
6Topical botanicals may cause an allergic reaction. This may involve a rash, itching, or any other discomfort. Always make sure to test the product on a small area of your skin first, before applying to your entire facial area. Also, ensure you check the ingredient list before buying and do your due diligence. Conduct research if you are unsure about an ingredient listed.
7Noni extract may result in diarrhea due to its laxative effects. It may also cause liver toxicity or damage. However, these effects may not be as prominent in topical applications. In fact, noni extract is boosted for its benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties, anti-acne effects, and anti-aging effects in the skin, as outlined in the above sections (22).
Due to the varied nature of BB cream products and brands there is no standard dosage. If you are using BB cream for its sun protection properties, you can reapply every 2 hours.
The most important dosage is actually the type of cream you choose based on your skin type.
If you have oily skin, consider a BB Cream with a matte finish. Gravitate toward those containing natural plant extracts, as well. This skin type tends to be sensitive, and a BB Cream with natural extracts is less likely to cause a reaction.
If you have normal skin, consider a moisturizing BB Cream that can make your skin appear smoother. You could also look for one with a skin whitener in it if you need help balancing your skin tone.
If you have dry skin, look for a BB Cream with a watery consistency instead of a thick cream, since thick creams can cause excessive dryness. You should also look for moisturizing formulas.
What is BB cream used for? BB cream is short for ‘blemish balm’ cream. It’s a versatile combination of products such as moisturizer, primer, SPF, foundation, skin treatment, and concealer. It was originally developed in Germany as an all-in-1 cream to be used by patient’s post-laser treatment for protection, coverage, and hydration.
What is the difference between CC and BB cream? The difference between BB and CC creams is subtle–CC generally stands for “color correcting” and the products are meant to address issues like redness or sallowness (usually with light-diffusing particles), whereas BB creams are like lighter foundation with a few skincare benefits thrown in.
Can you use BB cream every day? Because it is not as heavy as a foundation, you can use BB cream for oily skin daily, without looking caked.
Do you need a primer with BB cream? A BB cream (Beauty Balm cream), is supposed to act like a moisturizer, primer, has SPF. Ideally, you do not require a primer before applying a BB cream. Having said that, if you do have visible pores and want to blur it out go ahead and apply a primer.
Is BB cream bad for your skin? BB cream is beneficial for your skin and is better than foundation. BB creams provide coverage with added skincare benefits like SPF and antioxidants and many more depending on what brand you choose.
Can BB cream be used alone? Yes, BB cream is said to be a one-man army, does the job of a sunscreen, foundation, moisturizer and also a primer. But this is possible only if you buy a high-end bb cream.
Does BB cream clog pores? It really depends on which one you buy. Some BB creams are too heavy and will clog pores, causing more pesky pimples. Others aren’t oil-free, which can be a problem if your skin is already greasy and you’re looking to steer clear of breakouts and shine. So, you need to be careful when picking the best BB cream for oily skin.
Can BB cream be used as concealer? Yes and no. BB cream is more likely to slide on your eyelids than a concealer, and it’s a little too creamy for use on the eyelids.
Does BB Cream cause acne? BB creams are multipurpose products that may contain moisturizers, sunscreens, and color. If any of the ingredients in the bb cream clog your pores or irritate your skin, then it may cause pimples.
What’s a DD cream? DD cream stands for “Dynamic Do-All” or “Daily Defense” cream. DD creams have the same texture as a BB Cream but offer more SPF protection as well as a barrier to prevent moisture loss. It also includes the “Colour Correcting” particles from the CC cream.
Which is better BB or CC cream for oily skin? If you have oily skin, generally you’re better off trying a CC cream. BB creams tend to be oilier than CC creams as they are focused more on hydrating dry skin.
BB cream products are popular on the market today for their versatility. They protect the skin from sun damage, provide moisture, and improve the look of unwanted blemishes. In addition, the ingredients in these products have their own individual benefits contributing to these effects.
Cucumbers in many products have hydrating properties, moisturizing the skin and allowing the skin to retain moisture easier. Aloe vera works in a similar way. Aloe offers moisturizing and hydrating effects to the skin, protecting it against damage and cell death.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant compound. It fights oxidative stress, protecting the skin from not just the sun but also from aging components. Noni extract is also thought to act as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from potential damage. Vitamin C also has similar effects and benefits.
Botanical actives may help protect the skin barrier by strengthening it and locking in moisture.
Hyaluronic acid has high water-binding properties making it an essential ingredient in many BB cream products. It hydrates, improving skin elasticity and reducing skin roughness. Zinc oxide is found in many BB cream products, as well as most sunscreen products, protecting the skin from UV rays that create sun spots and blemishes.
In addition, iron oxide as an ingredient is thought to protect the skin barrier, and jojoba oil may act as a powerful moisturizing agent.
As with any product you intend to use on a regular basis, check the labels and ingredient list. Make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the items on the list. Further, only apply a small amount to your arm to start. If an allergic reaction happens, it won’t be as severe as it would be if you applied the product to your entire facial area.
BB creams have many benefits. They improve skin durability, moisture, and strength, while at the same time may act as a foundation for makeup applications. And one of their most important properties is protecting the fragile skin of the face against sun exposure and dangerous UV rays.