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This popular Alpha Hydroxy Acid (aka AHA) lifts away dead skin cells to reveal renewed, softer and smoother skin. It also fades hyperpigmentation marks by dispersing melanin in the skin. This acid also promotes collagen synthesis, leading to firmer skin. Sunscreen should always be used, but especially when using skincare products with Glycolic Acid. It can cause redness or mild irritation in very sensitive skin so building up a tolerance with lower percentage Glycolic Acids helps to acclimate your skin.
This AHA is a gentle giant with large molecules that prevent it from penetrating the skin too deeply, making it much gentler than Glycolic Acid and excellent for sensitive skin. This acid also has antibacterial properties, which helps treat acne and fade hyperpigmentation from post-acne dark spots.
An AHA with a reputation, Lactic Acid is the special sauce in Cleopatra’s mythical skin-softening milk baths. It does come from milk, but isolated on its own, Lactic Acid is a powerful exfoliant that’s great for dry skin. Its molecule is slightly larger than Glycolic Acid so it doesn’t penetrate as deeply, making it slightly gentler. Other than its skin-renewing exfoliating abilities, it also improves firmness and hydration in the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines. It works even better when combined with Glycolic Acid and other AHAs.
This Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is the Robin to AHA’s Batman — it’s a chemical exfoliant that’s lipid-soluble, as opposed to AHAs’ water-soluble nature, meaning it can actually exfoliate within pores as well. It’s actually a great first step to address “problem skin” since its anti-inflammatory properties treat redness and breakouts. It’s known for clearing pores of dead skin cells and blackheads, and for tightening pores and smoothing skin.
Vitamin C
Vitamin C comes in various forms and stabilities with different things to offer the skin — mostly it’s a powerful antioxidant, protector against UV damage, and skin brightener.
L-Ascorbic Acid is one of the more powerful forms of Vitamin C, fading pigmentation and boosting collagen production, as well as providing excellent photoprotection underneath sunscreen. But like anyone who works too hard all the time, it’s rather unstable.
Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid is a newer form of Vitamin C that’s a more stable version of Ascorbic Acid.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a stable form of Vitamin C that shares the same antioxidant benefits as Ascorbic Acid but also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity to eradicate acne-causing bacteria. When combined with other ingredients like Vitamin E and Glutathione, Vitamin C’s benefits can be even more widely experienced.
This relatively new member to the Retinol family behaves a bit differently than its retinoid predecessors that require metabolic conversion before they can get down to business. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate binds directly to the skin’s retinoid receptors to boost collagen production, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and resurface skin to reveal new, smooth, hydrated skin. It’s also less irritating than traditional retinoids and tretinoin.
This herbal extract also goes by stage names Tiger Grass and Cica, and has been used for hundreds of years in East Asian medicine because of its superior wound-healing abilities. That, plus its ability to stimulate glycosaminoglycans (structural proteins that make up the binding cushion between cells) and hyaluronic acid synthesis in the skin makes it an antioxidant powerhouse with incredibly soothing, anti-inflammatory, and reparative properties. It helps calm blemishes and irritation, like a healing salve for your skin.
Fermenting pomegranate results in this enzyme that has gentle exfoliating effects, renewing skin cells while giving them all the antioxidant benefits of pomegranate that boost collagen production, repair sun damage, and reduce hyperpigmentation.
This plant-based extract helps reduce redness and irritation with its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as brightening and evening out skin tone with pigment-inhibiting Glabridin.
Vitamin E
A fat-soluble antioxidant that has a proven track record of protecting skin against free radicals and UVB damage. It works even better when paired with Vitamin C, doubling each other’s effectiveness and supporting collagen production for firmer skin that retains moisture better.
Aka Pro-Vitamin B5, this anti-inflammatory humectant is big on hydration, moisturizing skin as well as preventing moisture loss, so the skin feels plumper and smoother overall.
The equivalent of a cup of chamomile tea for your skin, this soothing ingredient has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help heal dryness and blemishes while inhibiting melanin synthesis to brighten skin as well. It also helps other ingredients better penetrate the skin.
Sodium PCA
Sodium Pyroglutamic Acid is a naturally-occurring amino acid found in the skin’s acid mantle (aka barrier). This powerful humectant helps bind moisture to the skin and prevent moisture loss. If you’ve ever experienced the extreme water-bloat of drinking a salty broth or eating sodium-rich foods, then you’d know how serious Sodium PCA is with hydration-retention.
Naturally found in the Comfrey plant’s roots, this botanical ingredient is extremely soothing and healing, helping to reduce redness and irritation and increase hydration levels in the skin while repairing its barrier. It also stimulates cell renewal, leading to smoother skin that better retains moisture.
Kombucha’s fermented probiotics strengthen your skin barrier, protecting your skin from free radical damage while helping to boost hydration and cell renewal for brighter and smoother skin. Also known as Saccharomyces, Xylinium or Black Tea Ferment.
White Tea &
Green Tea
White Tea and Green Tea are both from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but White Tea leaves are younger than Green Tea leaves. Both are full of antioxidants, polyphenols, and catechins, which are superior free-radical fighters, repairing oxidative damage, reducing redness and irritation, and protecting the skin’s barrier. They’re also great at increasing hydration levels and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time.
Acai Berry &
Acai Oil
This impressive berry is a skincare overachiever, full of omega fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that work to firm and replenish skin by fighting and repairing free radical damage and reinforcing the skin barrier. It promotes collagen and elastin production and boosts cell turnover for brighter skin that retains moisture like it’s turning over a new leaf and cleaning up its act. Acai Oil’s lipid-soluble nature allows it to penetrate deeper into skin, flooding it with its benefits.
This carotenoid is found in microalgae, salmon, krill, shrimp, lobster, and flamingoes — it’s actually what makes flamingos and salmon pink. Bright red in colour, it’s a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and blocking UV damage, which means it can drastically help reduce dark spots. It also has been proven to boost moisture levels and moisture retention, elasticity, skin smoothness, and decrease fine lines and wrinkles.
Derived from the Babchi plant, which is often used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, this antioxidant is touted as being the natural (and non-irritating) alternative to Retinol for its similar skin-resurfacing effects. Bakuchiol’s composition is nothing like Retinol but it has the same beneficial effects on the skin, minus Retinol’s notoriously skin-irritating and sensitizing side effects. It’s even safe to use when pregnant and nursing. Bakuchiol improves firmness and elasticity by boosting collagen production and balancing hydration levels; it inhibits melanin production, reducing hyperpigmentation; and it regulates sebum production and acne-causing bacteria, diminishing blemishes. When combined with Salicylic Acid, it’s even more effective.
Aka Vitamin B3, this ingredient is a multi-purpose skincare champ, addressing dull and dry skin, enlarged pores, blemishes, and dark spots. It boosts collagen production and supports the skin’s barrier functions to diminish fine lines and helps skin retain moisture, it inhibits certain melanin processes to diminish hyperpigmentation, and it even has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects on acne and redness to help smooth and calm skin.
Rosehip Oil
A brightening, regenerative, and nourishing oil, its high levels of omega fatty acids, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E help repair and renew skin cells. It also fades hyperpigmentation, boosts collagen production and moisture levels, and nourishes the barrier, leading to smoother, softer, and more even-toned skin.
Sunflower Oil
This plant-based oil is beloved by nearly all skin types since it’s high in fatty acids, including linoleic acid, making it friendly for acne-prone skin. It’s a great anti-inflammatory emollient with the added bonus of Vitamin E, which helps soothe irritation, boost moisture levels and strengthen the skin barrier without contributing to acne.
This is an A-list moisture magnet, famous for its hydrating superpower abilities to bind 1000 times its own weight in water. Its large molecule size means it’s mainly a surface hydrator, but since its a water-soluble molecule, it also works as a fast pass for other ingredients with smaller molecules to better penetrate the skin. Hyaluronic Acid comes in a few forms: High Molecular Weight HA is an effective surface hydrator and protector, helping other ingredients penetrate the skin. Low Molecular Weight HA can hydrate a bit deeper in the epidermis, helping skin repair and protect itself. Crosslinking Hyaluronic Acid molecules helps them penetrate the skin better, leading to more hydrated skin that stays moisturized.
BaoBab Oil
This oil comes from the African Baobab tree, the largest succulent in the world, so it’s really good at keeping itself hydrated in dry climates. That makes this oil excellent for dry skin. It’s full of Vitamins A, E, and D, and nourishing fatty acids. Other than being an impressive moisturizer for skin, the antioxidants it contains help repair skin damage, improve elasticity, and calm inflammation and redness.