Blush brush in jar

What are BB, CC & DD creams?!

Korean skincare products have popularized many North American products and have even created a skincare revolution in beauty creams. From BB, CC and even DD creams found in stores, what do all those letters stand for and what do these creams really do?! Board Certified NYC dermatologist Dr. Kally Papantoniou helps to decode it all for us!

Drugstore and High End Department Store BB Cream for skin

What are BB, CC & DD creams?

To start, a little history of the creams are required. BB creams are short for beauty balms or blemish balms. They were first developed in Germany by a dermatologist who wanted a single cream what would both protect skin and provide coverage after laser treatments. This all-in-one skin cream formulation became a sensation in South Korea which then spread throughout Asia.

BB creams started hitting American store shelves around 2011 and today, almost every major beauty company has a BB cream: from drugstore brands, to department store brands, to even exclusive lines only sold at spas or doctor’s offices.

Makeup Office Beauty BB Cream

What are BB Creams & what do they do?

So, what exactly do BB creams do? Many BB creams offer effective sun protection with SPF 30 or higher. BB creams often also contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide which are physical sun blocks that also have water-resistant properties.

Although BB creams have many benefits, it’s not a miracle in a bottle.

Papantoniou says when looking for BB creams, there are many different skin treatments available including: anti-aging components with peptides and antioxidants such as vitamins A, E & C, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, ingredients that help to even out skin tone such as licorice and arbutin, light-reflecting mica to give skin a luminous finish and silicone-based ingredients such as dimethicone which help to smooth the skin, similar to a foundation primer. TIP: Mineral based BB creams are more gentle on skin prone to breakouts!

What are CC Creams & what do they do?

Although CC creams are similar to BB creams in that they are both packed with vitamins and complexion correcting creams, but CC creams focuses on Colour Correction (thus CC!).

Lighter than BB creams, a CC cream’s primary purpose is to colour correct skin issues such as sallowness or redness as well as acne. Luckily, most CC creams also have SPF! If you’re acne-prone with constant redness or dark spots or have dull skin, CC cream is for you.

What are DD Creams & what do they do?

Not too familiar with DD Creams, I was curious since these alphabet creams sounded like they were getting out of hand! DD creams are the “Dynamic Do-all” super cream. They combine the power and benefits from both BB and CC creams, but with a main focus on anti-aging.

The anti-aging specialty of the DD cream works to help diminish the look of wrinkles and fine lines with the use of the cream. As a bonus, the DD cream will also help to balance skin tone for an overall even, radiant skin tone!

Anti aging BB CC DD cream

Overall, these different alphabet creams have different ingredients with various benefits. There’s definitely an alphabet cream out there for you! Let’s just hope that brands don’t exhaust the entire alphabet…


About Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou
Dr. Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Surgical and General Dermatology for adults and pediatrics. She is also a Clinical Instructor at the Mount Sinai Hospital Dermatology Department. She has authored articles in her field, and has presented research at national meetings. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care; she is a superb diagnostician, with a special interest in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. She has a strong artistic background and applies her skill at natural symmetry and study of lines to her cosmetic patients.