Skincare is self-care, and it’s all the rage right now.
There has never been a time where the average person has access to some of the latest science in skincare. No longer for the rich and famous, the best ingredients for skin are now available in products sold by your local pharmacy.
Each of these active ingredients does a different job, so you still need to choose wisely and based on your skincare goals.
Here’s what you need to know about these incredible ingredients.
If you have any interest in skincare and beauty regimens, then you have heard of retinol. Once the secret of celebrity dermatologists, it’s now available almost everywhere.
Retinol is a product of vitamin A, and it pops up in creams and oils. It turns back the clock on damaged skin by:
- Boosting collagen production
- Reducing the appearance of fine lines
- Smoothing skin tone
Choosing a retinol product carefully is important. You should start with a weaker potency to avoid a poor reaction. Something that’s too strong can dry out your skin and even cause it to become red and flaky.
Additionally, you should top up your retinol-based product with moisturizer and sunscreen. These complement the effects and help you prevent further skin damage.
2. Vitamin C
When you think of vitamin C, you think of the bright scents, tastes, and colors of citrus fruits. The use of vitamin C in skincare isn’t far off.
Vitamin C brightens up dull and aging skin. How? By helping your body’s collagen production, which protects your skin from signs of aging. It also inhibits your skin’s melanin production, which prevents and reduces hyperpigmentation, evens out your skin tone, and promotes radiance.
Antioxidants are another nutrient you know from your diet. They have the same impact on your skin – your largest organ – as they do on your general health.
These nutrients protect your skin by preventing free radicals (caused by pollutants) from damaging your skin.
Some of the most popular antioxidants for skin care are those we listed above:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Green tea
As with other products, you should choose your antioxidant according to your skincare goals (i.e., vitamin A for fine lines).
4. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is the wunderkind of skincare ingredients, but for years, it was exclusively found in medispas and high-end skincare products. Frankly, it’s still expensive, but it’s good to know that a little goes a long way. You won’t make your way through a whole bottle a month.
Although it sounds like something cooked up in a lad, HA exists naturally in your skin. It’s the substance that retains water and keeps your skin looking plump (and hydrated). It holds a thousand times its weight in water to prevent our skin from literally drying out.
As you grow older, your body’s production of HA decreases (just like collagen and elastin).
Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet helps offset this but so does using products with HA as an active ingredient.
Why use HA? It’s a prime ingredient for anti-aging because hydrated skin is young skin – no matter your age.
Unlike other products, avoid picking out a random product yourself. Instead, ask a skincare specialist or dermatologist what HA products would work best for your skin. It works well with other skincare ingredients, but there’s a whole chemical process involved in each product that could make it a wonder product or completely ineffective.
And at $100+ a bottle, you don’t want to take that risk.
5. Salicylic Acid
So far, our list of the best ingredients for skin products focuses heavily on anti-aging. But salicylic acid takes a different track. It’s one of the best ingredients for people with oily or acne-prone skin.
Salicylic acid is derived from willow bark and is what’s known as a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), which is one of the common acids found in skincare products.
The chemical structure of BHAs is what makes salicylic acid so helpful for acne. It is oil-soluble, which means it gets deep into your pores to unclog them.
One it gets in, it dissolves the dead skin cells and other debris that causes clogged pores. It also soothes inflamed skin, so you’re also less likely to suffer from redness.
You might use salicylic acid to beat blackheads and whiteheads, but it’s not the perfect ingredient for cystic acne. It’s also important to use these products carefully because overuse can lead to irritated and dry skin. In fact, if you struggle with blackheads and dry skin, then you may find that you should avoid it altogether as the disadvantages could outweigh the benefits.
If you’re into the idea of holistic health, then you may be familiar with the concept of adaptogens. These are popping up in health food stores and cafes around the country, and it’s a fancy way of describing the use of medicinal botanicals and herbs. It’s a play on traditional Ayurvedic or Chinese medicine.
Adaptogen skincare products usually find their place as a toner. You’ll find adaptogenic ingredients like:
- Rhodiola rosea
- Marshmallow root
Rather than promising anti-aging, adaptogens bring your skin back to its natural baseline. They remove the effects of stress and prime it for further treatments (for acne or aging).
7. Alpha Hydroxy Acid
The last item on our skincare list is the mighty alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs are water-soluble, which means they do their best work on the surface of your skin. As a result, these are epic exfoliators that peel away dead skin cells and debris and reveal the plump, lovely skin hiding underneath. They also help reveal more a more even pigmentation.
If you haven’t heard of AHAs yet, you will. It’s a staple of K-beauty brands and ult beauty giant Drunk Elephant. So, you can expect to see it pop up in the more enterprising drug store brands soon.
Choose the Best Ingredients for Skin Goals
Our list of the best ingredients for skin offers a lot of food for thought. While there are a lot of ingredients – and even more products – out there, it’s worth it to remember that each one works for a different type of skin.
Setting skincare goals will help you sort through these ingredients and make the perfect choice for your skin.
Are you looking for more skincare and health tips? Check out our Lifestyle archive for more great content.