A Guide To Active Ingredients in Skincare

Using products that contain active ingredients can be the difference between achieving your skin goals and falling flat

Which ingredients are classified as active?

The term “active ingredient” is thrown around a lot in the skin care community.
The term “active ingredient” refers to a chemical that actively targets a specific skin concern. Simply put, these ingredients can create a physical change in your skin. Especially in regards to acne, pigmentation, and fine lines. Typically, active ingredients are the first 1-5 ingredients listed on a product label. They’re usually listed in decreasing order of importance and/or concentration.

Always check the ingredient list!

it’s up to consumers to know your ingredients.
You can’t always trust fancy packaging or rosy marketing language that promises you the moon. That way, you’re able to find the most effective product for your skin. Saving you time, money, and breakouts.

Common Actives From A to Z

AHA (Glycolic Acid)
One of the most commonly used alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). In addition to exfoliating the skin to improve texture and tone, it can also boost collagen production. It is commonly used to treat hyperpigmentation and acne.

Benzoyl Peroxide
This active ingredient is great at killing bacteria and decreasing oil production, leading to improvement in acne as well as whiteheads and blackheads.

BHA (Salicylic Acid) 
A strong exfoliating acid that causes the skin to shed and peel to reveal brighter, clearer, smoother skin. It’s a commonly found in acne-fighting treatments.

A powerful lightening agent.The product of choice for stubborn pigmentation. Not recommended for pregnant women!

Vitamin C
An antioxidant super-ingredient that fights free radical damage. Helps exfoliate the skin, improving tone and texture. It also helps with hyperpigmentation. Stimulates collagen production and helps improve fine lines and wrinkles. (Aim for 10% or higher concentration)

Vitamin A (Retinoids)
An anti-aging, exfoliating antioxidant. Also helps stimulates collagen production and helps with fine lines, pores, acne, and hyperpigmentation. With consistent use, it can make skin softer, smoother, and clearer.

Zinc Oxide
(Commonly found in sunscreen): One of the best sunblock ingredients available because it blocks 100% of UVB rays and 90% of UVA rays.

Inactive Ingredients Still Matter.

Inactive ingredients matter because formulation will always matter.
How a product is formulated can impact how well the active ingredient is absorbed into your skin! Inactive ingredients play a supporting role in the efficacy of the active ingredient. For example,  how potent the active ingredients remain over time, and how your skin will react. Additionally, products formulated solely with inactive ingredients are wonderful and necessary complements to the active products in your regimen. They generally help nourish, hydrate, plump, soothe, and restore.

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