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13 Jul

Skin Care Ingredients 101 : Top skincare ingredients



For healthy vibrant skin how you treat your skin can make all the difference.  But how do you know what skincare products are best? Knowledge is power and knowing what the top skincare ingredients are and what they do can help your skincare regiment by selecting the proper products for your skin.



Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B3 and has the capacity to hydrate the skin, strengthen the skin barrier, soothe, and help cure hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkles without causing irritation.  Why Niacinamide is so popular is because out of all its benefits it will not cause redness or dryness.

Niacinamide also helps increase the production of ceramides that keep the skin barrier strong and hydrated.  As well as offering many other benefits related to niacinamide being a antioxidant as well as a anti-infammatory.  Niacindamide neutralizes and calms the skin’s inflammatory responses to things like UV radiation and cell turnover.

Skincare products that contain Niacinamide can help dampen and decrease the negative effects of irriation causing skincare products such as those containing retinol for instance.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) restores the skins moisture and hydration by being able to absorb 1000 times its own weight in water.  This improves the skins moisture as well as creating an environment for Collagen to thrive.  Hyaluronic acid also nourishes the collagen and elastin fibers to improve skins firmness and to assist in removing fine lines and wrinkles.  Hyaluronic Acid can be applied topically or ingested.

Polyglutamic Acid

Polyglutamic acid is a hydrator that can hold up to 5,000 times its own weight in water.  By absorbing and holding water, Polyglutamic acid plumps the skin and restores hydration to diminish fine lines and boost elasticity for a younger looking complexion.

Another benefit of Polyglutamic acid is it can reduce and inhibit the enzyme hyaluronidase.  Hyaluronidase eliminates the hyaluronic acid in the body.  When this happens hyaluronic acid cannot bind to collagen and elastin molecules. This inhibits the synthesis of new collagen and elastin, resulting in the formation of wrinkles and sagging.


Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids (fats) found in the outermost layer of the skin.  A common analogy used to illustrate the role of ceramides is that the skin is the brick wall and ceramides are the mortal.  Ceramides help hold the skin cells together to form stronger bonds to create a stronger protective layer.

Besides keeping the skin barrier strong, Ceramide also serve the purpose of keeping the good things in, such as moisture, and the bad things out such as bacteria, irritants and pollution.



Research shows that antioxidants can reverse dark marks, accelerate healing, and achieve a acne free complexion.  

The invisible enemy to your skin are free radicals which bombard and attack the skin.  Free radicals such as light, pollution, cigarette smoke and more can damage the skin and the molecules in the skin.  Free radicals cause damage to the skin on a molecular level where they bounce around damaging collagen and spurring hyperpigmentation.  Antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals by protecting the skin molecules and preventing free radicals from damaging the skin.

Certain antioxidants originally found in plants are especially potent when applied topically, including vitamins C and E, ferulic acid, phloretin, reveratrol, green tea, grape seed extract and coenzyme Q10.  This is why many skincare products contain antioxidants.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants to improve skin because it is able to penetrate the surface layer of the skin and permeate the upper layer of inner skin.  Vitmain C can then permeate collagen making cells resulting in increased collagen levels in the skin.  Collagen is like the glue that holds the body together and by increasing collagen levels results in improved skin firmness and reduced wrinkles and fine lines.


Derived from the indian babchi plant bakuchiol is an antibacterial and anti inflammatory and its also a greate antioxidant.  Also bakuchiol triggers the same response in skin cells as retinol.

A recent study on Bakuchiol by the British Journal of Dermatology revealed Bakuchiol to be a gentle, vegan and plant derived ingredient that works as well as retinol but without the harshness or strain on the skin.

Bakuchiol is the breakout star of naturals.  Before bakuchiol there weren’t a lot of ingredients with scientifically backed antiaging claims.  Bakuchiol is a game changer.


Collagen is a protiein that makes up 80% of the inner layers of the skin, called the dermis, where it acts as scaffolding to hold up the top layer of skin.  Its one of the most important elements to retain and improve youthful skin and joints.

Topical applications of Collagen can improve the look and feel of the skin but ingesting collagen supplements works best to promote and restore collagen growth.  Collagen supplements are broken down and absorbed by the bloodstream where they send signals that promote new collagen growth within the human body resulting in improve moisture, reduction of wrinkles and fine lines and restoring and rebuilding connective tissue.


Peptides are a collection of short chain amino acids that are the foundation of all proteins in the body.  There are various types of peptides, with each performing a unique function.  The most common are signal peptides which tell the skin cells to shift into repair mode resulting in increased collagen production.


Retinol is a retinoid that is derived from vitamin A. Many other creams for mature skin remove dead skin cells, but this one does not. Instead, the tiny molecules that comprise retinol penetrate the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) and reach the dermis.  New forms of retinls employ innovations such as slow release technology that allows retinol to be absorbed through the entire skin layer over a 24 hour period.

Once retinol reaches this skin layer, it helps neutralize free radicals. This stimulates the formation of elastin and collagen, resulting in a “plumping” effect that can diminish the appearance of:

  • fine lines
  • wrinkles
  • enlarged pores

**Note:  Retinol can make skin more sensitive to the sun so its best to only use it at nighttime and to use SPF sunscreen during the day.


Alpha Hydrox Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble chemical exfoliants that have been used over the decades to remove dead skin cells which improves skin texture, pigmentation and collagen production.

When dead skin cells are removed the skin senses it and starts making new skin cells.  Also a message is sent to the fibroblasts cells to begin producing new collagen as well as producing hyaluronic acid.

Beta Hydroxy Acids

The difference between Alpha hydroxy acids and Beta hydroxy acids are Alpha is water soluble and Beta are oil soluble.  Beta hydroxy acids penetrate deeper into the skin to remove dead skin cells and sebum.

The most commonly used Beta Hydroxy Acid is salicylic acid, an acne fighter that dissolves cebum and dead skin cells.

Polyhydroxy Acids

A new hydroxy acid is making its appearance.  Polyhydroxy acid is gaining popularity because it has the same benefits as the other hydroxy acids without making the skin more sensitive to sun and UV rays . Also Polyhydroxy acids are gentle on the skin and product minimal irritation.

Why Polyhydroxy is smoother and gentler is because its molecular structure is larger which allows for a more gradual penetration of the skin.  Despite its slower absorbption Polyhydroxy acid is effectie in reducing fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation resulting in a brighter complexion.

Work Cited :

Papakonstantinou, E.  “Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging”.