Active Ingredients Worth Adding to Your Skincare Routine

Aug 16, 2023


When it comes to skincare, understanding the active ingredients in your products is crucial. These ingredients are the powerhouse behind beautiful, healthy skin. In this blog post, we have listed the most effective active ingredients commonly used in skincare products.


What is squalene?
Squalene is a natural oil produced by our bodies to hydrate by locking moisture and protect the skin, joints and eyes.  

Is squalane the same as squalene? 
Squalene is made from plant oils and shark liver oil. It is heavier than squalane and would benefit dry and mature skin types. Squalane is light in texture and non comedogenic making suitable for acne prone and oily skin types.

Benefits to your skin

  • Treats dryness and maintain skin moisture barrier and hydration 

  • Helps offset natural decline in your body squalene levels as you age which helps in keeping your skin more hydrated and youthfulII

  • Is an antioxidant fights free radicals that accelerate skin ageing

  • Works well with other active ingredients like retinol.

What skin types is squalene suitable for?
Suitable for all skin types

2. Ceramides

What are ceramides and what is their function in the skin?
Ceramides are lipids found in uppermost layers of the skin. They help seal in moisture by slowing water evaporation and preventing dry skin, and are essential for healthy skin function and protect the skin from germs, and dry air in the external environment and strengthen the skin barrier.

How do ceramides in skincare products work?
They increase the level of ceramides in skin that naturally declines due to ageing and sun damage, resulting in increase hydration and strengthening of the skin’s barier.

Benefits of regular use

  • Hydrates the skin and gives a fresher, softer and smoother skin

  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

  • Help restore skin barrier that weakens with age and protect skin from dirt, irritants, pollution, cold, and dry air

What skin types is it suitable for?
All skin types

3. Hyaluronic Acid

What is hyaluronic exactly ?
Is a gel-like fluid naturally produced by our bodies and is responsible for skin plumpness and volume, as well as cushioning the joints, lubricating the eyes and other tissues. Levels of hyaluronic acid in our skin decrease with age leading to drier skin, and making fine and wrinkles looking more pronounced.
Hyaluronic acid also comes in different molecular weights. Low molecular weights will go deeper in the skin improving elasticity and firmness. While higher molecular weights will hydrate the surface of skin, and medium will plump the skin.

How does hyaluronic acid work in skincare products?
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, that is it attracts water from the environment to the upper layer of the skin. The Hyaluronic molecule has the ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water makes it very effective at keeping the skin hydrated throughout the day. When applied to skin hyaluronic acid increase the water content giving a hydrated, smoother and plumper skin.

Benefits to your skin

  • Hyaluronic is an antioxidant that protects from damage from free radicals

  • Plumper skin softens fines lines and reduce appearance of wrinkles

  • Increasing moisture levels and treating dryness. As it draws water from the environment hyaluronic works very well in humid weather.

For which skin type is Hyaluronic acid recommended for?
Suitable for all skin types. 

4. Niacinamide B3

What is it?
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a water soluble vitamin that is not made by the body and any benefits are obtained by diet. It is used in skincare products for strengthening of the outer skin barrier and balance.

Benefits of using B3
  • Improving uneven skin tone and sallow skin
  • Increases hydration, plumps skin and minimise the appearance of          enlarged pores
  • Removes dullness and reduces fine lines
  • Protects skin from pollution and irritants in environment 
  • Known for and used for its anti inflammation properties
  • Works well when used with other actives like ha acid, vitamin c and retinol

What skin types is niacinamide suitable for?
All skin types

5. Peptides

Peptides are naturally occurring amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins in your skin. Peptides are produced by collagen when it breaks down to tell the body it needs repair.

How do peptides work in skincare products? 
Peptides they signal the skin to produce more collagen and elastin.

Benefits of regular use
Skin hydrating, softens fines lines and wrinkles, stimulates collagen production for firmer skin and reduce dullness.Incorporating peptides into your skincare routine can support the skin's natural repair process.

What skin types are peptides recommended for?
All skin types, and also for people who are sensitive to retinol, are on prescription retinol, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

6. Lactic acid & glycolic acid (AHA’s)

What are AHA’s?
Lactic and glycolic acids (AHA’s/alpha hydroxy acids) are chemical exfoliants. They use acids or enzymes to remove dead cells from the upper layer of the skin to reveal the brighter looking skin.

What is the difference between lactic acid and glycolic acid?
Lactic acid is made from fermented milk or sugar. it is a gentle exfoliant that can be used for all skin types including sensitive skin, it smoothes skin texture as well as hydrates. glycolic acid is also made from sugar but is a bigger molecule and as a result penetrates deeper in the skin than lactic acid. Its is stronger and provides more noticeable results.
Benefits of glycolic acid include diminishing mild dark spots and blackheads, and anti-aging by stimulating collagen production in the skin.

For what skin types is glycolic acid best for?
Normal, combination, and oily skin types. Not usually recommended for sensitive due to risk of causing irritation

7. Salicylic acid (BHA)

What is BHA ?
Is an exfoliant used to clear sebum buildup, mild blackheads and whiteheads, dead skin cells and bacteria that can potentially cause acne.

What is the difference between BHA and AHA?
AHA’s are water soluble and work on the skin's surface to shed dead skin and reveal brighter skin. While BHA is an oil soluble acid and penetrate the skin deeper to unclog pores.

What skin type is salicylic acid recommended for?
Oily skin and acne prone 

Who should not use salicylic acid?
Salicylic acid can irritate the skin if overused and not following the manufacturer instructions. If you are using BHA for the first time and are unsure if you are sensitive it is recommended that you check with your dermatologist or do a patch test first before using. BHA is not recommended for very dry skin

8. Retinol

Is a form of vitamin A. It has been used for many years by dermatologists to treat acne in topical and oral prescription medicines. In the cosmetics industry retinol is used for anti ageing.

How does retinol in skincare products work? 
Retinol promotes a faster skin cell turnover, by stimulating production of collagen and elastin fibers. resulting in a fresher and brighter looking complexion. 
If you are using retinol for the first time, you should introduce gradually into your routine to minimise risk of irritation and choose products with low concentrations. Retinol also increases sensitivity to the sun so make sure to wear sunscreen  during the day when using retinol products.

Benefits of using retinol regularly
  • Creates a plumping effect that reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores. 
  • Has an exfoliating effect that help improves skin texture and even up skin tone 

Who can use retinol products? 
All skin types, except people on prescription retinoids, breast feeding and pregnant women. Retinol products should be used with caution if you have sensitive or very dry skin.

9. Vitamin C

In its basic form, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radicals damage to the skin. Vitamin C in skincare products comes in various forms, including L ascorbic acid, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate. It is used in skin care products for skin brightening.

Benefits of regular use of vitamin 

  • Helps to brighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots left from acne
  • Evens out skin tone and increases skin radiance 
  • Is antioxidant helps in protecting skin from free radicals and sun damage
  • Promotes the production of collagen, which helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, smoothes fine lines as well as giving firmer feeling skin

What skin types are peptides recommended for? 
All skin types. Vitamin C used during the day tend to increase skin sensitivity to sun, therefore it is recommended to layer it with sunscreen. 

10. Coenzyme Q10

What is it?
Q10 also known as ubiquinone is found in all the cells in the body. The enzyme is responsible for cell energy and regeneration and healthy skin function. Natural levels of Q10 decline with age making our skin more prone to fine line and wrinkles and oxidative stress.

How does it help your skin?
  • Prevent lines and wrinkles
  • Improves dull and tired skin making complexion radiant
  • Skin repairs and regenerate at faster rate
  • Protects from free radical damage

What skin types is Q10 good for?
All skin types

11. Zinc oxide

What is it and what are the benefits of using it?
Zinc oxide is an active ingredient used in sunscreen to blocks UVB and full range of UVA rays and to protect skin from sun damage and photo-ageing. Zinc oxide is non comedogenic and will not clog pores if you are acne prone or have oily skin. However it tends to leave a white cast on dark skin tones. Those should choose tinted formulas and sunscreens that are formulated to leave no white residue.

What skin types is zinc oxide recommended for?
Zinc oxide is non irritating and can be used by all skin types including sensitive 


last update: 16/11/2023

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