BB. Those two little letters led to an alphabet soup of multi-tasking creams. Just walk down the skincare aisle of your local pharmacy and you’ll see plenty of double-letter creams staring at you.
With so many alphabetical creams, like BB, CC, DD, and even EE (with FF on its way!), the question remains:
How do I decode them all and which is best for me?
Not to worry, we’re minding the P’s and Q’s of skincare for you. Here is a quick breakdown of all the double-letter beauty creams, starting with the original BB Cream:
BB stands for ‘Beauty Balm’. It can also mean Blemish Balm or Beauty Base, but BB cream is most commonly short for Beauty Balm. Originally formulated in the late 1960s by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek, BB cream was designed as a medical skin protectant for use after chemical peels or cosmetic surgery. There are a variety of formulations, each with a specific purpose, however, some of the most popular BB creams are multi-functional and serve as an all-in-one moisturizer, primer, sunscreen, concealer, and foundation.
Some specialty BB creams contain ingredients that address specific skin care issues. Look for anti-aging compounds including peptides, and antioxidants like Vitamin A, E, and C to maintain youthful skin. For dry skin types, BB cream moisturizers provide some powerful hydrators like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. Skin-lightening BB creams often contain licorice and arbutin, or even mica.
BB Cream Uses:
|Moisturizer||Evens Skin Tone|
Who should use a BB Cream: Great for normal to dry skin.
CC stands for ‘Color Correcting’. Just a few drops of a CC cream on inflamed skin, rosacea, or simple acne-like pimples and you’re in the clear! Most CC creams also double as a skin-lightener and tend to have more of a whipped texture and a lighter feel than BB creams. Many will spread on clear and also contain an SPF for sun protection.
CC Cream Uses: Perfect for oily or acne-prone.
|Dark Spot Reducer||Sun Spot Reducer|
|Age Mark Reducer||Acne Scar Smoother|
|Redness Reducer||Evens Skin Tone|
Who should use a CC cream: Ideal for those with uneven skin tones.
DD stands for ‘Daily Defense’ (or Double-Duty, some even say Dermatologically Defining). This recently released dynamic do-all cream is really just a heavy-duty BB/CC hybrid. Designed for use all over the body, this cream is thicker than a blend of regular foundation and tinted moisturizer. It’s essentially an overachieving multi-tasker that works as an antioxidant, illuminator, brightener, primer and broad spectrum SPF sunscreen. Oftentimes, DD creams also include a variety of anti-aging ingredients to keep skin looking youthful.
DD Cream Uses:
|Anti-Aging Firming Treatment||Oil Reducer|
|Redness Reducer||Evens Skin Tone|
Who should use a DD cream: Great for those concerned with aging skin.
EE stands for ‘Even Effect’. The beauty balm was designed to resurface skin and promote a youthful appearance. Even Effect cream was released in response to what studies have shown is a leading cause of skin discolorations, including dark spots and hyperpigmentation: air pollution.1 EE is a specialty cream formulated like a DD cream, but with added exfoliation benefits to promote skin cell regeneration for youthful looking skin. There is nothing on the market designed in the same way to keep skin looking dewy, youthful and healthy.
EE Cream Uses:
|Dark Spot Eraser||Skin Tone Corrector|
Who should use EE cream: Ideal for sensitive skin types.
Remember, these new innovations in skincare don’t mean that you can toss out your regular moisturizer, concealer or base. While alphabetical beauty creams can be used as all-in-one products, they are not intended to replace your current beauty regimen entirely. As cosmetics companies continue to push the boundaries of alphabetic beauty creams, can we expect to see more? Will it end with ZZ creams? Only time will tell.
1 Drakaki E, Dessinioti C, Antoniou C. Air pollution and the skin. 2014. Accessed November 17, 2016.