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  • Writer's pictureJamie Vilet

10 Powerful Skincare Ingredients and How They Work

Are you ever curious about what’s going on in your skincare? Or perhaps you know that a certain ingredient is good, but you’re unsure why or how it works. You may ask yourself what makes a key ingredient good for your skin. To answer these questions, here's a guide to these ten ultra-powerful skincare ingredients!

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinol is one of those ingredients that seems to do everything, so we had to put it first on this list! Known as one of the best age management ingredients, retinol reduces fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen and elastin production in your skin. It also has the power to improve skin tone and fade age spots and acne scars as it stimulates the production of new blood vessels.

But the benefits don’t stop with aging skin. Retinol has been proven to be a powerful acne treatment as it is a gentle exfoliator that removes dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. It works wonders for all kinds of acne, especially those who deal with stubborn hormonal acne.

There are a few things to be aware of with such a powerful ingredient. First, skin not familiar with retinol will need some conditioning to get used to the ingredient. Try using it sparingly at first, increasing use as skin normalizes. Additionally, retinol is not suitable for women who are pregnant or trying for pregnancy. The last thing to note is that retinol will cause sun sensitivity, so use only at night and be diligent in using SPF during the day.

Hyaluronic Acid

These days, it seems like hyaluronic acid is everywhere, and for good reasons. Hyaluronic acid plays a critical role in regulating water content, distributing nutrients to cells, and maintaining elasticity. Since hyaluronic acid is healing and hydrating, it improves skin appearance, creating supple skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid is an excellent treatment and preventative ingredient safe for all skin types, conditions, and Fitzpatricks levels.

Vitamin C

Another popular skincare ingredient that seems to have endless benefits is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it offers protection against environmental stressors you run into daily. But this ingredient holds power to do so much more!

Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties, offers UV protection and repair, boosts collagen synthesis, and treats hyperpigmentation. It’s ideal for treating sun-damaged skin and strengthening the skin’s barrier response for healthier, younger-acting skin.

This ingredient is a must-have for aging skin and those with hyperpigmentation disorders, but everyone can benefit from its protective and antioxidant properties.


Ceramides are fats or lipids found in skin cells that play an essential role in maintaining the skin’s barrier function. As we age, these natural ceramides decrease, so topical ceramides become necessary for maintaining healthy skin.

While using ceramides now will have some anti-aging effects along the way, they should not only be reserved as an age-management ingredient. Ceramides are beneficial for everyone since they prevent trans-epidermal water loss, protect from environmental damage, and protect your skin from harmful bacteria and other germs. This ingredient is key to keeping your skin healthy now and in the future.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are best known for their chemical exfoliation power. They can slough away dead skin and draw out impurities without harsh scrubbing, which makes us love them so much! But this gentle exfoliation leads to more than just softer, smoother skin. AHAs treat wrinkles, age spots, and acne while leaving behind a glowing complexion.

Another benefit of a chemical exfoliant is that your skin will absorb critical ingredients better, allowing your skincare to work more efficiently. You’ll find a low percentage of AHAs in many retail products, while many chemical peel solutions use higher percentages of these ingredients to provide a deeper treatment that must be performed by a licensed professional.

Like retinol, AHAs are highly active ingredients and may require skin conditioning for those new to the ingredient. Make sure to start slow and increase usage as your skin gains more tolerance for it.


Peptides are chains of amino acids that act as messengers to our skin cells. Peptides prompt our skin to perform specific functions like producing collagen and elastin, repairing tissue, and even relaxing the muscles. They are an excellent age-management tool that can be easily incorporated into any skincare routine using a cleanser, serum, cream, or a combination of all three.

Natural peptides are already found within the body, so your skin doesn’t react to the ingredient but responds to them, making them gentle enough for all skin types, conditions, and Fitzpatrick levels.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Niacinamide is a rejuvenating ingredient that stimulates lipid production within skin cells and improves your skin barrier function. It has powerful anti-aging properties as it reduces fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production and microcirculation. Niacinamide is also an effective anti-inflammatory agent that can treat all types of inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea, and it’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is one of the newest additives to make its way into the professional skincare scene, but don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of this incredible ingredient. CBD is a powerful antioxidant – even more powerful than vitamins C and E and is the only plant source of vitamin D in skincare.

CBD is best known for its anti-aging effects and for balancing the skin by regulating oil production. CBD is safe for all skin types and conditions as a restorative ingredient.

Tyrosinase Inhibitors

Tyrosinase Inhibitors are a specific set of ingredients that suppress excess melanin production by interrupting the biochemical process that triggers the production of tyrosinase, therefore preventing and treating pigmentation disorders and age spots.


Enzymes work on the surface of your skin to slough off rought, dead skin cells, leaving your skin smoother, brightener, and clearer. Most notably, enzymes alone do not disrupt the pH balance of your skin and are gentle on your skin barrier. Enzymatic exfoliation is one of the mildest forms, making it an especially beneficial option for those with dry, sensitive, and aging skin types.

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