Skincare is a multi-billion dollar business across the globe. From products claiming to erase years’ worth of lines and wrinkles to creams virtually guaranteed to lighten dark spots, it can be difficult to determine which products work and which are ineffective at best. When purchasing skincare, look for the following five ingredients that produce visible results.
#1 – Retinoids
Retinoids increase cellular turnover in the skin. Over time, this enhanced cellular turnover leads to fewer blemishes and younger-looking skin. Tretinoin, the active ingredient in the brand-name product Retin-A, is retinoic acid, which is one of the strongest ingredients in this family. It has been the gold standard in acne treatment and anti-aging for decades, and it is available by prescription only. Retinol is a much weaker (yet still effective) retinoid, and you can find it in all kinds of skincare products.
#2 – Moisturizers
When someone’s skin is “radiant” or “glowing,” that generally means it is well-moisturized. Some of the most common moisturizers you can find in skincare today include cetyl alcohol, lanolin and linolool, paraffin, stearic acid, mineral oil, and lecithin, among others. Numerous oils can also be used as moisturizers, including jojoba and coconut oil. Some moisturizers are comedogenic, which means they can block pores and lead to comedones (blemishes). Acne.org provides a helpful chart that you can use to compare ingredients.
#3 – Occlusives
An occlusive ingredient is one that forms a barrier on the surface of the skin. It locks in moisture (and other active ingredients) in a skincare product, which can make them more effective. Some of the most common occlusives are petrolatum, squalene, dimethicone, carnauba wax, and even cholesterol. Many common occlusives have the potential to be comedogenic, so choose your products wisely.
#4 – Chemical Exfoliators
Chemical exfoliators are skincare ingredients designed to slough away the dead cells from the surface of the skin without physical manipulation. These products range from extremely potent to relatively mild depending on their concentration. The three most common chemical exfoliators you’ll find in skincare today include alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), and poly-hydroxy acid (PHA).
#5 – Vitamins & Minerals
While not all topical vitamins and minerals benefit the skin, many have become staples in effective skincare regimens. Some of the most common examples include:
- Niacinamide – Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is required for healthy cellular function. It helps the cells use fats and sugars appropriately, which is vital for beautiful skin.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C – or L-ascorbic acid more specifically – can fade dark spots, prevent sun damage, and improve the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E serves as a natural anti-inflammatory, which soothes the skin and reduces redness. It is perhaps most well-known for its ability to minimize the appearance of scars when applied routinely.
Before you purchase your next skincare regimen, take the time to check the ingredients. From retinoids to chemical exfoliators, each of these ingredients serves an important purpose in keeping your skin looking young, hydrated, and healthy.