• Taylor Silvio

Common Skincare Ingredients Explained Part 1

I know that all of the different skin care products available to us can seem overwhelming. Not only are there a million different brands claiming to be the best out there; there are also a million different ingredients that all offer different functions. Some of these ingredient names can seem intimidating from AHAs and BHAs to Niacinamide. I sometimes even struggle myself to keep it all straight and choose products and ingredients that would best fit my skin's needs.

The easiest method for me was learning ingredients specifically in a short and sweet manner. This made choosing products a whole lot easier. I relate it to learning ingredients for nutrition in your diet. If you know the ingredients, you can check food package labels and always know what you are getting into. Skin is no different. These products are nourishment/food//fuel for our skin, which is the largest organ in our body!

Today I will easily map out some common skincare ingredients including; how they work, problems they can solve, and results they can provide. I will also include "Pro-tips" for people that already have a good base understanding.This will be super helpful for people to easily decide what skin problems they would like to address and pick some specific ingredients to incorporate into their routine and when choosing products/brands.

I will also post a blog to follow up including skincare ingredients to avoid layering together.

Let's get started!


Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body and skin and can attract 1,000 times it's weight in water. Some benefits include:

  1. Hydration: Attracting water externally and internally like a magnet helping to moisturize and hydrate the skin. Externally, attracting water molecules from the atmosphere and bringing to the outer layers of the skin. Internally, attracting water molecules deep in the skin and bringing them to the surface.

  2. Anti-Aging: The attraction of water molecules to needed areas of the skin help to plump the skin. This plumping and hydration helps create a youthful glow smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

  3. Acne control: Whenever our skin becomes dry, our body produces more oil to compensate leading to breakouts. Hyaluronic Acid helps keep skin moisturized when needed leading to less oil production and less breakouts.

*Pro tip: Molecular weight does play a part when choosing the right product or brand. The lower the molecular weight the deeper the hyaluronic acid can penetrate the skin. Think of it as the smaller the object the easier it can squeeze down into tiny spaces. Some argue if the molecular weight is too high and it attracts a bunch of water from the depths to the surface, it can leave a very temporary result.

Routine: Apply a few drops to face and neck (Don't forget your neck!) Tap into the skin AM and PM before creams/moisturizers.


Vitamin C is an antioxidant that brightens your skin tone and reduces signs of aging.

Well, let's start with what are antioxidants and why are they important? Antioxidants can protect your skin by reducing or opposing free radical production. Free radicals cause damage to your skin's DNA, which increases the speed of aging.

*Pro tip: How the Vitamin C is mixed and stored plays a role in effectiveness, therefore when choosing brands check this information. The problem is that Vitamin C binds so well to oxygen's free radicals that it begins the process even in the bottle/packaging when combined with water. You can tell this is occurring if the product begins to change to a light or dark orange (it should start clear). The problem with this happening inside the packaging is it leaves the Vitamin C disabled. Look for water-free products with zero to little silicone.

Routine: Apply pea sized amount all over face after cleansing.


Retinoids are topical Vitamin A that increase cell turnover and collagen production, which helps in the reduction of fine line/wrinkles, age spots, and rough patches.

Keep in mind this is a slow game product that takes generally 3-6 months of dedicated use to reap the benefits. However, if you have a prescription retinoid (tretinoin) you may see results within 6-8 weeks.

Routine: apply small pea sized amount at night time before any heavy creams. This is important to apply at nighttime because the sun's UV rays make retinol inactive!

Retinol can cause irritation, redness, and peeling until your skin becomes acclimated. Start by using a few nights a week, to every other night, to every night. Let your skin's reaction be your guide on slow progression of use. Always wear sunscreen because this product will increase sensitivity to UV radiation due to the exfoliation.

*Pro tip: Water and plant oils can affect the stability of retinol making it less effective. Look for products that do not contain these ingredients to get the best bang for your buck!

Stay tuned for Part Two including:

1. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

2. Niacinamide

3. Squalene

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