Put your hands up if you have: a) wasted hard earned money on disappointing skincare products in the past or, b) felt bombarded by the overwhelming choice we have when it comes to skincare. Don’t worry, we’ve come to the rescue. The skincare world is constantly developing shiny and hyped-up products and ingredients but, let’s be real, it can be difficult to keep up with it all. Whether you are a skincare novice, or you have a beauty cabinet filled to the brim with products, we have created a definitive skincare ingredient guide to help you either kickstart your regime or condense it. Always remember consistency is key when it comes to achieving a happy, glowing complexion!

Vitamin C

Best for: All skin types.

If you are looking for a bright, glowing complexion (who isn’t?) then look no further than vitamin c. This ingredient works as a melanin inhibitor meaning it will banish any pigmentation and dark spots. Since vitamin c is an antioxidant, it will protect the skin from free-radical damage throughout the day and it even has anti-inflammatory properties. If you are hunting for vitamin c on a skincare label, it can be disguised as ‘L-Ascorbic Acid’ or ‘Kakadu Plum’. Fun fact, Kakadu Plum is the world’s richest known source of natural vitamin c!
Use: AM underneath SPF.

Niacinamide

Best for: Acne, anti-aging, pigmentation, redness.

In a nutshell, this form of vitamin B3 is a little miracle ingredient that will target just about anything from blemishes and redness to pigmentation and ageing skin. Niacinamide works to encourage the skin to mimic the function of younger skin cells, resulting in skin that is more clarified, hydrated and plump.
Use: AM or PM.

Retinol

Best for: Acne, anti-aging, oily skin, pigmentation, redness.

Retinol is one of the most loved skincare ingredients in the beauty community, and for a good reason. Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin-A that encourages the skin to create more collagen and elastin, which in turn will result in a juicy complexion. Retinol will help reduce acne, oily skin, fine lines, wrinkles and even rosacea. If you are a retinol newbie, use it sparingly for the first few weeks until your skin becomes accustomed to it. Overdoing the retinol can result in inflamed and sensitive skin – ouch!
Use: PM. Always use a sunscreen during the day when incorporating retinol in your routine.

Ceramides

Best for: Anti-ageing and dry, irritated or sensitive skin.

Ceramides are skin-strengthening fatty acids that work to repair the different layers of the skin. This naturally occurring ingredient even makes up 50% of the skin’s composition! It retains water in the skin, so it helps to keep the complexion soft and hydrated. Our ceramide production decreases with age (sad face) so using skincare containing ceramides will keep the skin supple for longer.
Use: AM and PM.

Hyaluronic Acid

Best for: All skin types.

Great hydrated and plump skin starts with hyaluronic acid – don’t fight us on this. Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that naturally occurs in our bodies and can retain 1000 times its own weight in water! Basically, it is like a giant drink of water for our skin. Thanks to the Australian elements and air-conditioning most of the population has dehydrated skin, so we should all be using hyaluronic acid. Unfortunately, our bodies lose 1% of Hyaluronic Acid each year too, so it is important to apply this ingredient regularly.
Use: AM and PM.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acid

Best for: All skin types.

Alpha hydroxy Acids, AHAs, work to exfoliate the surface layer of the skin to reveal a smooth, firm and even complexion. Ingredients that fall under the AHA category include: lactic, glycolic, mandelic, tartaric, malic and citric acid. AHAs are best suited to skins concerned with ageing and pigmentation.

On the other hand, beta hydroxy acid is an oil-soluble acid, otherwise known as Salicylic Acid, that exfoliates deep into the pore to clear up any congestion. BHA is perfect for acne-prone skin as it will reduce pore size and break down congestion and acne scars.
Use: PM. Always use a sunscreen during the day when incorporating AHAs and BHA in your routine.

Enzymes

Best for: All skin types.

If you are new to the acid exfoliation game, perhaps try out enzymes. Enzymes are a gentler type of exfoliation and are derived from fruits and vegetables – think pineapple, pumpkin and papaya. Enzymes are the Pac Man of skincare as they work to eat away at the glue that holds our skin cells together. Kind of cool, right?
Use: PM. Always use a sunscreen during the day when incorporating enzymes in your routine.

Marula Oil

Best for: Acne, anti-aging, dry skin, sensitive skin.

This glow-giving ingredient is extracted from the kernels of the marula fruit in northern South Africa. It is a true ‘all-rounder’ ingredient that is loaded with omegas 6 and 9, antioxidants, fatty acids, essential amino acids and vitamin c and e. Marula oil will just about do it all from soothing irritated and blotchy skin to giving you a perfectly hydrated and luminous complexion. We want to bathe ourselves in this liquid gold.
Use: AM and/or PM.

Peptides

Best for: anti-ageing.

Peptides are made up of amino acids that act as building blocks for the skin to repair its cells and increase collagen production. The result? Skin that is firmer with fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Let’s not forget that peptides also help with inflammation and discolouration. Winning.
Use: AM and/or PM.

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Feature image: Erin Yamagata