Skin Care

Introduction to Five Key Skincare Ingredients

Are you someone who wants to use effective products, but not sure what’s important and which ingredient does what? This article is for you!

May 7, 2024

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We’ll give you a sweeping introduction to five key skincare ingredients - where they come from, what they’re used for, when to use them and where to find them. After this, you’ll know what to look for and what to avoid when you check an ingredients list, and you’ll start kicking off some skincare goals!

Let’s jump in.

Vitamin C

We’ll start with Vitamin C. No, we’re not about to recommend slathering oranges on your face! Vitamin C is helpful in a variety of ways, and in a variety of forms! It is a well-known brightening agent and can diminish fine lines and wrinkles, as well as reduce inflammation and discolouration to produce a radiant, clear complexion. Vitamin C helps you stay clear by protecting you from ‘free radicals, which are environmental stressors that can cause skin damage.

To make the most of the different kinds of Vitamin C and develop products tailored to specific skincare needs, Vitamin C is usually produced synthetically in a lab. Three of the most common forms in skincare are L-Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin Cg and Activated C.

L-Ascorbic Acid, or Pure Vitamin C, is typically used for anti-ageing benefits like smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles and brightening up skin tone. Vitamin C boosts collagen production, which is responsible for the strength and elasticity of your skin. Activated C is used to remedy acne and reduce discolouration and pigmentation. 

Before choosing which is right for you, take a minute to consider your skin type! Vitamin C can be too harsh for sensitive skin, so you want a product with a lower concentration. Vitamin C can be found in a number of products, but you can commonly find it in serum treatments. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is widely known as a gentle soothing agent in skincare. This antioxidant is naturally produced in our bodies and is also sourced from plants, fruits and veggies for topical treatments. 

Vitamin E is soothing, hydrating and fights off free radicals due to its antioxidant properties. Like Vitamin C, it protects your skin from being battered by sun, wind and pollution, and can also help reduce inflammation and hyperpigmentation. 

You can find Vitamin E in many oils and serums, and it’s a common ingredient in moisturisers and serums.

Hyaluronic Acid

Don’t let the ‘acid’ part intimidate you - it’s not going to burn your skin off! In fact, this ingredient is one of the most gentle, popular commodities in the skincare world. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by our bodies, but the skincare ingredient is usually sourced from plants through a process called microbial fermentation. 

The big benefits of hyaluronic acid as a topical treatment are its hydrating and plumping characteristics. It binds water molecules together, helping your skin retain moisture. It also builds up your skin’s natural barrier of protection, and repairs damaged skin. 

Hyaluronic acid is found in many moisturisers and serums. It’s often paired with Vitamin E for soothing, hydrating skin treatments.

Niacinamide

Niacinamide has become a fan-favourite ingredient in skincare in recent years, thanks to its impressive results and extensive benefits. Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B-3, an acid heralded as a magic brightening treatment. Again, don’t be afraid of the word ‘acid’, your skin will love it!

Niacinamide supports the skin barrier, reduces inflammation and hyperpigmentation and diminishes enlarged pores. If you’re looking for a product that will cover a number of bases and remain gentle on your skin, this is the one! 

This ingredient is a powerhouse of benefits and is often found in serums, creams and toners.

Retinol

Retinol is derived from Vitamin A. It is part of the non-prescription group of retinoids, which means it needs to undergo a conversion into a retinoic acid on the skin (the prescription retinoids are already retinoic acids). The reason prescriptions can be required is that retinoids are heavy hitters, and can cause damage if administered incorrectly. 

Retinol is mainly used for mature skin to brighten skin, diminish wrinkles and dark spots, and even skin tone and texture. It’s also often used to treat acne, as it increases the rate of cell turnover to speed up healing and the production of new, younger-looking skin.

Retinoids penetrate deeply into the skin and work at the cellular level. Because of this, it is incredibly effective at reviving dull skin, reducing signs of ageing and shrinking enlarged pores. While it can take a few weeks to see results, the eventual effects are striking.

You can find retinol in many eye creams and evening moisturisers. However, retinol can be too harsh for some, causing irritation. It’s worth consulting a doctor before diving headfirst in with retinol products! 

Well, we’ve covered the big hitters of skincare ingredients. Now it’s time for you to get out there to find your best skincare fit!