WHAT IS AN 'ACTIVE INGREDIENT'?

Setting the record straight.

In your hunt for the perfect skincare product you’ve doubtlessly stumbled across jargon that has soared overhead unexplained. One such term used with abandon and often without explanation is ‘active’ or ‘active ingredient’, to be more precise.

Active would denote a positive outcome. If ‘active’ is the adjective of forward momentum, positive skincare changes should be just around the corner, right? Perhaps.

The risk of using the term ‘active ingredient’ is that it can be a little misleading to the uninitiated.

So, what is an active ingredient? As simply put as it can be, an active ingredient is one that alters the structure of your skin, in most cases to treat and repair. When labelling a skincare product with the term ‘active’, it signifies that there’s an ingredient included that’s used to treat the problem the product is seeking to solve. Other ingredients are simply there for formulation purposes, such as to stablise and bond.

So, for example, if you had a cleanser that promised anti-ageing benefits, the active ingredient included would be one that targets fine lines and wrinkles, which in most cases will be a form of vitamin A or ‘retinol’.

Moreover, ‘active’ isn't just a throwaway title either. An active ingredient has been called as such after rigorous testing in a lab environment to determine the direct effects that product will have on our skin.

We know, unequivocally, that these active ingredients will do exactly what they are intended to do. With those basics covered, it’s equally important to know which actives you should be looking out for.

ANTI-AGEING - VITAMIN A, C AND E

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HYDRATION RETENTION - HYALURONIC ACID, GLYCERINE, SQUALANE

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UVA/UVB PROTECTION - ZINC

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ACNE TREATMENT - SALICYLIC ACID, AHA'S

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PIGMENTATION - VITAMIN C, BHA'S

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