What Is An Active Ingredient In Skincare?

This is what I would call ‘essential’ knowledge regarding getting good skin and understanding your skincare routine and it is a popular question.

Let’s face it, if you are not engrossed in the world of skincare but want good skin the correlation to getting there and the term ‘active’ isn’t very clear. What is an active and how does it work? Let me break it down for you.

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The definition of an active in skincare

It’s essentially the part/ingredient of the product that is responsible for providing the effect on skin that is advertised on the bottle. It’s the most important part of a product.

To determine an active ingredient is much more than just guess work though. Everything that is classed as an ‘active component’ of a product has to have evidence to support what exactly it does on the skin.

This is why they are so important to understand and look for – they are the part of an ingredient that if proven to be efficacious for your skin.

It is also a big reason why the same ingredients are talked about year after year, brand after brand. Good active ingredients already have more research to support their benefit to the skin. Therefore, you’re investing more wisely because there is a good chance it will work over something that is maybe a newer ingredient that has yet to be tested.

What are the most common actives in skincare?

The most common actives currently on the market are based on these skin conditions;

What is considered an active ingredient?

– Dehydrated skin – HA, Vitamin E, Ceramides

– Rosacea – Antioxidants

– Aging – Retinoids, Vitamins C, E and A

-Eczema – Steroids, tacrolimus, pimecrolimus

What should I do if I don’t understand the ingredients list or which actives are in a product?

First of all, I totally get it! Skincare is confusing and it only seems to get more confusing as the emphasis of skincare marketing has been diverting towards the science of skincare but the best thing to do, if you don’t understand something, is to ask.

Ask your dermatologist or if you don’t have one your favourite beauty blogger (that you know, knows their stuff when it comes to evidence based advice), ask me or ask the brand. Any brand that is selling a good product will know exactly which components of their product will suit which type of skin or skin condition.

In case you want to come back to this information I’ve created an infographic for you right here on Instagram which you can save! Or if you don’t have Instagram you can always bookmark this page!

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