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  • Writer's pictureHelena Sergeant

Demystifying Skincare Ingredients : A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: 19 hours ago

In the ever-evolving world of skincare, navigating through a plethora of products and ingredients can feel like diving into a complex chemical equation. From moisturisers to acids and antioxidants, understanding what goes into your skincare products is crucial for making informed choices about what's best for your skin. In this comprehensive guide, I delve into the essence of various skincare ingredients, shedding light on their benefits and how they work.

Working in a beauty salon provided me with invaluable knowledge before I ventured into the realm of freelance makeup artistry full-time. During my time, I delved into the intricate world of skincare, learning extensively about different skin types, conditions, and the importance of proper skincare routines.

Understanding the individual needs of clients and witnessing firsthand the transformative power of skincare regimens heightened my appreciation for the importance of using products consistently, both day and night. This foundational knowledge has not only enhanced my ability to create flawless makeup looks but has also instilled in me a commitment to educating others about the significance of maintaining healthy skin habits.

Moisturiser: So, let's start with the basics. Moisturisers are skincare products designed to hydrate and soften the skin by trapping moisture. They typically contain ingredients like humectants, occlusives, and emollients, which work together to restore the skin's natural moisture barrier, keeping it smooth and supple.

Collagen: Collagen is a protein that provides structure to the skin, helping it maintain firmness and elasticity. As we age, collagen production decreases, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. Skincare products containing collagen aim to replenish and support the skin's collagen levels, promoting a more youthful appearance.

Peptides: Peptides are short chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins like collagen. In skincare, peptides are prized for their ability to stimulate collagen production, reduce wrinkles, and improve skin texture.

Retinol (Vitamin A): Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is a powerhouse ingredient known for its anti-aging properties. It boosts cell turnover, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and evens out skin tone by promoting the production of new, healthy skin cells.

AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids): AHAs are a group of water-soluble acids derived from fruits and milk. They exfoliate the skin by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells, revealing a smoother, brighter complexion. Common AHAs include glycolic acid (from sugar cane), lactic acid (from milk), and citric acid (from citrus fruits).

Squalane: Squalane is a lightweight, non-comedogenic oil that mimics the skin's natural sebum, providing intense hydration and promoting a healthy, radiant complexion.

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) - Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is a BHA known for its ability to penetrate deep into the pores, making it effective for treating acne and reducing blackheads and whiteheads. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid found in grains like barley and wheat. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it effective for treating acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. Additionally, it helps to unclog pores and reduce redness and swelling.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that brightens the skin, evens out skin tone, and protects against environmental damage caused by free radicals. It also stimulates collagen production, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Ceramides: Ceramides are lipid molecules (natural fats for the skin) that help maintain the skin's barrier function, preventing moisture loss and protecting against environmental aggressors. Skincare products containing ceramides help to strengthen the skin's natural barrier, keeping it hydrated and healthy.

Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture, making it a hydrating powerhouse for the skin. It plumps up the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and enhances skin elasticity.

Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a versatile ingredient celebrated for its ability to improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of pores, reduce acne scarring and diminish hyperpigmentation, leaving behind a smoother, more even complexion.

Coenzyme Q10 (Q10): Q10 is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in the body, which helps neutralize free radicals (unstable molecules that damage skin cells) and protect against oxidative stress. In skincare, it supports collagen production, reduces the signs of aging, and enhances overall skin health.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals, preventing oxidative damage to cells. They help protect the skin from environmental stressors like UV radiation and pollution, and they also have anti-aging benefits, promoting a youthful complexion.

Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is an AHA derived from sugar cane. It exfoliates the skin, unclogs pores, and promotes cell turnover, resulting in smoother, brighter skin. It's effective for treating acne, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging.

Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent used to treat hyperpigmentation, melasma, and age spots. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin in the skin, leading to a more even skin tone.

Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is an AHA derived from milk. It exfoliates the skin, improves moisture retention, and enhances skin texture and tone. It's suitable for sensitive skin and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Argireline: Argireline is a peptide powerhouse known for its wrinkle-reducing effects, helping to diminish the appearance of fine lines and promote a smoother, more youthful-looking complexion.

Copper Peptide GHK-Cu: GHK-Cu is a peptide complex containing copper that has antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It promotes collagen and elastin production, reduces inflammation, and accelerates wound healing.

Malic Acid: Malic acid is an AHA found in fruits like apples. It exfoliates the skin, promotes cell turnover, and improves skin texture and tone. It's gentler than some other AHAs, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

Panthenol: Panthenol, also known as provitamin B5, is a moisturising ingredient that soothes and hydrates the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps strengthen the skin barrier, making it effective for treating dry, irritated skin.

Citric Acid: Citric acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits. It exfoliates the skin, brightens the complexion, and helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and discoloration. It also has antioxidant properties, protecting the skin from environmental damage.

Glycerin: Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated and supple. It's found in many skincare products due to its ability to prevent moisture loss and improve skin texture.


Introducing active skincare products into your routine can be a transformative step towards healthier, more radiant skin. Active ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) offer a range of benefits, from promoting collagen production and reducing fine lines to brightening complexion and improving hydration. However, it's crucial to incorporate these potent ingredients gradually to prevent irritation or sensitivity.

Begin by patch testing and introducing one new product at a time, allowing your skin to adjust. Additionally, always wear sunscreen during the day, especially when using active ingredients like retinol or AHAs, as they can increase sun sensitivity. With consistent and mindful use, active skincare products can help you achieve your desired skin goals and maintain a healthy, youthful glow.

Let me know if this blog has improved your understanding of active skincare ingredients, their benefits and how they work.

Improve your skincare routine (day & night) and your makeup will sit better and last longer on your beautiful face.

Always nice to hear from you! X

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