What Are Active Ingredients In Skincare

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Have you ever looked at your skin and wondered what would make it appear more magical? Or maybe, does your skincare routine give you what you deserve? Well, you are not alone, and your doubt could be the first step to understanding what ingredients are in your skincare cream. However, it will be fair to mention how critical active ingredients are.

Ideally, active ingredients are the elements in your skincare products that help address specific problems. Thanks to the scientific backing, these ingredients will comfortably provide you with the effect you desire. Here are a few insights into various issues surrounding active ingredients in skincare.

What are Active Ingredients?

You could also refer to them as actives. They are natural elements in skincare products that effortlessly change the structure of your skin. Most often, this change happens at the cellular level, providing you with unrivaled results. Usually, they come in handy in repairing, rejuvenating, and nourishing the skin cells. You can also rely on them for hydrating and protecting these cells.

Usually, the active ingredients in a skincare product are about 2%. That is not to say that the composition is way too low. Instead, it is enough to dilute the inorganic elements in the product. That way, you are confident of getting the utmost satisfaction in the long run.


Why Active Ingredients in Skincare Matter

It is almost impossible to overstate the urgency of having actives in skincare products. That is because it is the only way to make logical decisions in the long run. Here are a few reasons why active ingredients are worth having in your skincare regimen.

  • Rejuvenation

It is no secret that active ingredients in your regimen will often make your skin feel new. Thanks to the various vitamins in the skincare product, the skin’s top layer gets removed, leaving you with a youthful appearance.

  • Repair

These active ingredients play a critical role in repairing the various torn tissues and cellular structure on the skin. Whether it is skin breakage or rushes, you will be confident of the best results at the end of the day.

  • Nourishing the cells

Usually, active ingredients play a critical role in providing enough oxygen, water, and nutrition to the skin. This way, you are confident of getting the glow you envision.Forever Young

Common Active Ingredients

Various elements have proven to be meaningful, each providing different benefits. The following are some of the most common ingredients that are included in skincare products.

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids

You can barely overlook the importance of AHAs in exfoliating the skin. Usually, this element comes in handy in removing the skin’s upper layer and encourages skin regeneration. This upper layer often entails dead skin, which inhibits blood circulation and even water in the skin.

Notably, this element is quite common in anti-aging products, as it is critical in slowing down aging. It is worth relying on when addressing acne, wrinkles, and pigmentation if that is not enough. In brief, this ingredient is all you need for a smoother, plumper texture.

It will also be fair to know a few examples of AHAs. Lactic and glycolic acids are not only prevalent but also incredibly effective. What is more, they can barely irritate your skin, assuring you of a seamless experience.

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  • Beta Hydroxy Acids

You could also refer to them as BHAs or salicylic acid. It is an active ingredient that comes in handy in treating blemishes and blackheads on the skin. You could also rely on them for removing dead skin from the surface.

BHAs have proven to be oil-soluble, allowing it to penetrate below the skin surface. That way, it effortlessly removes sebum from the pores. What is more, it reduces dirt, inflammation, and bacteria on the skin. Nothing could be more meaningful than this for oily skin with congested pores.

  • Niacinamide

If you are looking forward to protecting your skin against inflammation, this will be the ultimate choice for you. This element contains various antioxidant properties that help treat rosacea, acne, and hyperpigmentation. You will always appreciate what a versatile ingredient Niacinamide is, as you will freely use it on different skin types.


  • Vitamin C

It is almost impossible to overstate how powerful an antioxidant vitamin C is. In most cases, you will apply it topically, making it suitable for skin conditions that affect the surface. Typically, you will use it to boost collagen and elastin production. With this, you will be sure of youthful and much firmer skin in the long run.

Further, vitamin C is worth relying on for unrivaled protection against various environmental aggressors, preventing extensive skin damage. This element is all you need to brighten your skin, correct hyperpigmentation, and even the skin tone. As if that is not enough, vitamin C helps reduce scars and black spots on the skin.

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  • Peptides

Did you know that peptides will always link together to form proteins that are critical for the skin? Usually, these peptides are small enough to penetrate the skin, reaching critical areas without any problem. With this, it will be much easier to produce collagen in the body. Nothing could assure you of a younger and much firmer skin than this!

  • Tretinoins

You could also refer to this element as all-trans retinoic acid. Its role in treating acne and acute promyelocytic leukemia is astounding. Usually, it tends to be relatively common in skin ointment, creams, and gel. Once you apply it to your skin, you are confident of enhanced smoothness and alleviation of scars. From erasing wrinkles to addressing fine lines and dark spots, this is an element worth beholding.

  • Retinols

Most people will associate retinol with vitamin A, as it is its potential derivative. Ideally, once derived from vitamin A, it gets converted to retinoic acid, an element that your skin needs. That means you have to apply retinol topically, allowing for absorption into the skin.

It is no secret that retinol plays a significant role in enhancing skin renewal, brightening it, and ensuring that it is much healthier. However, you must be sure that the skincare product has the right formulation. It is the only way to avoid slight irritation. Remember, continuous use of relatively more potent retinol could readily expose you to significant irritation in the long run.

  • Glycolic Acid

As long as you are looking forward to getting the best exfoliant, glycolic acid will be the ultimate element for you. Usually, this active ingredient comes in handy in shedding dead skin cells, opening up pores. As if that is not enough, you will appreciate its role in revealing brighter and newer skin layers under the stratum corneum.Forever Young

Glycolic acid is yet again helpful in boosting collagen production. This ingredient ensures that your skin feels much firmer and younger. It will also eliminate wrinkles and fine lines on the face. Nothing could assure you of a better glow than this!

  • Ceramides

Sometimes, all you might envision is a sense of plumpiness. That is what you get from ceramides, which are lipids that assure you of smooth plumpness. You will often find it in anti-aging products.

Usually, these ceramides tend to protect your skin against various environmental stressors, including debris, pollution, toxins, and dry air. In brief, this element is a barrier against anything that could make your skin weaker.

Usually, people will rely on this active ingredient to treat dry skin and skin irritation. You could also consider it if you are suffering from eczema and psoriasis.

  • Hyaluronic Acid

Hydration is a significant aspect of your skin’s health. It not only makes it look younger but also livelier. Thankfully, hyaluronic acid prides itself on considerable abilities to keep the skin hydrated. Usually, it absorbs and maintains moisture on your skin, ensuring that it remains radiant and much softer.

This element is often a popular inclusion in anti-aging cream, as it is critical for that youthful glow. You will rely on it to treat fine lines, wrinkles, and dry skin. As long as you apply it in the right quantities, you will have no reason to worry.

  • L-Ascorbic Acid

Here is yet another active ingredient that ensures your skin remains vibrant and with a youthful glow. Typically, it penetrates the skin tissues and ensures that collagen production is at its peak. In turn, you will be confident of getting firmer and more youthful skin.

You can barely overlook the role of L-ascorbic acid in anti-aging skincare products. From rejuvenating the skin to addressing aging spots and wrinkles, this active ingredient is unrivaled. It repairs and brightens the skin whenever you apply it in the right proportions. This acid helps address hyperpigmentation and post-inflammation pigmentation too.


  • Hydroquinone and Kojic Acid

It is almost impossible to overstate the efficiency of H&K acid in depigmenting the skin. Whether or not it is after inflammation, this active element will ensure that your skin regains its usual pigment. Most often, you will find it in skin-lightening products. That means you could also rely on it to lighten your skin.

Hydroquinone and kojic acid will always be vital for those with contact dermatitis. If you are susceptible to sunburns, you will also benefit a lot from this element.

How to Layer Active Ingredients

Undoubtedly, we live in a world where people will always appreciate customizing their skincare routine or regimen. You are no exception. With this, it means layering could be an inevitable reality in the long run. However, it will always be invaluable to understand what procedure to follow when layering active ingredients.

There is barely a specific approach to layering. However, one rule remains steadfast: always start with the thinnest consistency and finish with the thickest. That means it will be best to start by applying water-based ingredients and finish with oil-based ones.

If you want to layer these ingredients during the day, ensure that you follow the steps.

  • Use a cleanser to clean your face
  • Apply a toner
  • Add some serum with antioxidants
  • Consider applying eye cream
  • Apply some moisturizer
  • Add some sunscreen

On the other hand, you will have to follow the following when doing so at night.

  • Ensure that you double-cleanse your skin, as it removes every dirt, makeup, and sunscreen applied earlier
  • Apply essence or a toner, depending on your preference
  • Apply eye cream
  • Add some treatment serums, including AHAs, BHAs, and retinol
  • Apply face oil
  • Add some moisturizer

How Often Can You Use Active Ingredients?

There is hardly a one-dimensional answer to this, as needs and preferences vary. However, it will be best to apply it around twice daily for approximately six weeks. This duration is long enough to monitor the various changes that could affect your skin. However, always ensure that you apply the products accordingly. The right concentration of some ingredients, including AHA, BHA, and retinol, should only lie between 10 and 20%.

When Not to Use Active Ingredients on Your Skin

Skin sensitivities vary, and so do skin problems and needs. That means the ingredients you use must meet the needs you have. Usually, you will have to avoid using some of these ingredients during specific situations.

For instance, it will be best to keep away from some active ingredients when pregnant. Now will be the right time to avoid vitamins A and E and various retinoids. That is because they usually get absorbed into the skin and could readily cause significant problems in the long run.

Also, you will have to avoid AHA, retinol, and BHA if your skin is susceptible. This way, it will be easier for you to prevent irritation upon applying. However, if you cannot avoid it, ensure that it is at its minimum.

In conclusion, there is no denying that proper skincare is a dream everyone envisions. With active ingredients at your disposal, you are confident of gaining livelier and more youthful skin. The catch is applying it in the right quantities and understanding the needs of your skin. Once you do, you will be ready to rock. Fortunately, the insights provided above will guide you in this pursuit accordingly.

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  • Ola,

    Again, this was like going back to my chemistry class in high school. with lots of scientific terms to remember and all:)

    However, I learnt a lot in this post and I like how you explain that the role of these actives with respect to the three outcomes of rejuvenate, repair and nourishment.

    Thank you for such an insightful piece. I have bookmarked this post for future reference.


  • Janet

    Hi, I have go through all your active ingredients and some of them sound familiar to me like the retinol with vitamin A. I can’t remember what products I use many many years back with this active ingredients. Yes, I were told not to use for long term period of time.

    Vitamin C also consider active ingredients? So does it mean it’s not suitable to use for long term period of time? Then how about those people who take vitamin C pill? I use to take vitamin C pill everyday and I do realise it helps my skin better.

    Thank you for sharing such an informative article that you have explained in such details of each active ingredients purpose.

  • Hi!
    Thank you for sharing this post, such a useful information!
    Does it mean the good skin cream should contain all of these ingridients you have listed above? Or it depends of the skin type?
    My skin goes very dry in winter and I could not find a right solution for this problem. In summer it is OK and I don’t use any creams. Maybe could you recommend a good skin care for man?
    I will appreciate it!

  • Hey,

    I am so pleased that I came across this article. Christmas is just around the corner and I am still thinking of what to get my Mum and my sister-in-law as a present. Now that I have landed on your website and especially this article, I have some great ideas now.

    They are both huge into skincare products. I will let you know what ones I buy them for Christmas and f they have any issues with them then I will get in touch, if that is OK with you?

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,


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