Skin Care Ingredients Guidelines

Creams and lotions containing alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids) may help with fine lines, irregular pigmentation as well as age spots, and may help to shrink enlarged pores. It also supplements cleansers, toners and masks to help loosen dead skin cells and smooth skin, without having to scrub.

Salicylic acid helps remove dead skin cells and improves the texture and colour of sun-damaged skin. It penetrates oil-laden hair follicle openings, which also helps to fight acne. It also loosens black heads and clears pores, acting as a comedolytic agent. It is less irritating than benzoyl peroxide, another common pimple-fighting ingredient.

Retinol is derived from vitamin A. Here’s why skin responds to skin care products with retinol: Vitamin A has a molecular structure that is small enough to get into the lower layers of skin, where collagen and elastin are found. Retinol is a superior anti-aging ingredient that has proven to improve fine lines, wrinkles, skin cell turnover as well as skin tone, colour hydration levels and complexion.

This is the only form of vitamin C that you should look for in your skin care products. Many skin care products ion the market today boast vitamin C derivatives as an ingredient, but L-ascorbic acid is the only useful form of vitamin C in skin care products. With age and sun exposure, a decrease in collagen synthesis in the skin leads to wrinkles. Vitamin C is the only antioxidant proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, minimising fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Skin care products containing this substance are often used with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration. Hyaluronic acid is often touted for its ability to “reverse” or stop aging. Some call it the “key to the fountain of youth” because the substance occurs naturally (and quite abundantly) in humans and animals, and is found in young skin, other tissues, as well as joint fluids. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the body’s connective tissues, and is also known to cushion and lubricate. As you age, however, the forces of nature destroy hyaluronic acid. Your diet and smoking habit can also affect your body’s level of hyaluronic acid over time. It helps to absorb and retain moisture within the skin, hence its use for treating wrinkles.

Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production. It acts as an antioxidant, and promotes the production of glycosaminoglycans (think hyaluronic acid, as an example). Moreover, studies have shown that copper-dependent enzymes increase body’s natural tissue -building processes. The substance helps to firm, smoothen, and soften skin, in less time than most other anti-aging skin care products. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin’s system responsible for those functions.

Alpha-lipoic acid is considered as “the miracle in a jar” for its anti-aging effects. It’s a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage. Alpha-lipoic acid has been referred to as a “universal antioxidant” because it’s soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the highest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, gives skin a healthy glow, and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.

The key to healthy skin is a healthy skin barrier — and ceramides are vital in fortifying it. This oily wax-like ingredient is found naturally on the skin surface and helps to retain water in the skin. It also helps to repair the natural barrier on the skin and to regulate cells. Ceramide production diminishes with age, so it is recommended to use a ceramide-based moisturiser because the more it’s on our skin surface, the more they are able to form on their own.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic. Understanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products. Available from: