Tuesday, 5 September 2017

a basic intro to skincare ingredients pt.1 - the goodies

We've all heard our fair share of fairy-tales and horror stories about the chemicals in our cosmetics & skincare, and I don't know about you guys but I get totally sucked into it sometimes! There was a time not too long ago when I really had no clue about skincare ingredients, and frankly, I didn't care much to find out! But recently, as I've been trying to look after my skin more as I approach the big 3-0, I've been paying a lot of attention to what the products I use have and haven't got in them!

When I've been in conversation with friends and family about my skincare routines (they always wanna talk blogging...but so do I, let's not lie!) I always end up mentioning the odd ingredient or chemical that is received with a vacant look, or a question something like 'a sulph-wha'?'. So, in response I decided to do some proper, in-depth research and put together a bit of an introductory guide to skincare ingredients and chemicals, to try and break down the gobbledygook that seemingly comes along with a skincare routine these days! 

I've separated the list into two categories; the goodies & the baddies – this post will be all about the good stuff, you can find the post on the baddies here!

The Goodies

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)

Added to a lot of creams and lotions in the las few years due to their fine lines & pigmentation reduction properties. This family of acids include glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids. Their strength varies from product to product, with higher potencies being known to cause some irritation, so getting the right balance for your skin is super important. They also cause mild sun sensitivity, which can obviously be remedied by wearing a daily sunscreen!

Beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid)

Again, this ingredient is one that is used in varie strength, dependant on the product. It can be bought over the counter in small doses, but higher strength potencies require a doctor’s prescription. Often considered less irritating that AHAs, salicylic acid helps to remove dried, dead surface skin, and also help improve the condition of sun damaged skin. It’s deep penetration properties mean that it’s usually a great ingredient for acne sufferers, as it can get deep into the pores and hair-follicle opening to remove excess oil.


Another increasingly popular skincare additive, retinol is a vitamin A derivative, and is hailed as one of the only proven skincare ingredient to actively reverse aging (along with hyaluronic acid).
A stronger active ingredient in the same chemical family is Tretinoin, and is an active ingredient in prescription Renova creams & Retin-A, but if your skin is too sensitive then store-bought Rentinol will suit you perfectly.
These ingredients work because of vitiman As ability to penetrate the lower layers of the skin, where collagen and elastin are found. This means that, when used correctly, this could be the most powerful ingredient in your regime for fighting a multitude of ski issues, as well as aging.

L-Ascorbic Acid

A form of vitamin C, it’s probably the only form of the vitamin that really makes any difference in your skincare. It is proven that vitamin C is the only antioxidant that can stimulate collagen, which can help counteract the effects of age and sun exposure, leaving the skin looking brighter and fresher in its appearance.

Hyaluronic Acid

An acid that is often used in conjunction with vitamin c, hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient for penetrating the skin. It’s Sunday name is glycosaminoglycan, and it considered another super hero product in the fight against aging! It is a substance that is naturally occurring in humans, but is found less abundantly in the skin as we age.


Another naturally occurring substance, ceramide helps hold skin cells together. It also helps to form a layer of protection for the skin as well as retaining some moisture and encouraging plumping! Using ceramides in skincare can enhance the effects of naturally occurring ceramide, that have been diminished by environment, aging and other drying skincare products.
Popular in eczema treatment products, ceramides can also help form a barrier for the skin.


Primarily used to aid elastin reproduction in the skin, peptides are a set of active proteins that encourage the skin to bounce back and heal when wounded. They are able to communicate with skin cells, and are usually beneficial in skincare because of their ability to encourage collagen production, redness alleviation, fine-line minimising. They are also used in conjunction with other ingredients to help penetrate their effects deeper into the skin.

Make sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below - how much did you know about your skincare ingredients before reading? Will you be making any changes? Let's chat about all things skincare!


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