The Science Behind the Best Skincare Ingredients

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By: Dr. Anjali Butani

Navigating the world of skincare ingredients with new trends coming out every week.

Are you tired of all those skincare brands claiming to have the "best" ingredients, but not explaining the science behind them? Well, you're in luck! In this article, we're going to dive deep into the world of skincare ingredients and actually explain why they work.

It seems like every week a new ingredient is trending on social media while last month’s trending ingredient is being debunked. That charcoal watermelon goat milk face cream is suddenly worthless! So today we are going to discuss some ingredients that are scientifically proven to improve your skin and really make a difference in your complexion.

Vitamin C

This powerful antioxidant has been making waves in the skincare world for years now, and for good reason. It's great for combating dark spots and wrinkles, while also promoting a healthy, youthful complexion. Vitamin C works by gently promoting exfoliation. It also neutralizes free radicals that can damage skin cells and cause premature aging. In addition, it also promotes collagen production, which is crucial for keeping skin plump and firm.
One of the best things about Vitamin C is that it's safe and effective for most skin types, including sensitive skin. It's available in a variety of forms, from serums to creams, making it easy to incorporate into your daily routine. But like any skincare ingredient, it's important to use it properly and consistently to see results. So if you're looking to brighten your complexion and fight off those pesky dark spots and wrinkles, give Vitamin C a try!


Retinoids are one of the most researched and effective skincare ingredients. They are derivatives of Vitamin A and work by increasing cell turnover, which in turn helps to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. They also stimulate collagen production, which helps to improve skin texture and tone.
Retinoids come in different strengths, with prescription-strength formulas being the most potent. However, over-the-counter formulations can also be effective. It's important to note that retinoids can cause some initial dryness and irritation, so it's best to start with a low concentration and gradually increase over time. It's also important to use sunscreen when using retinoids as they can make the skin more sensitive to UV exposure.
One of the most well-known retinoids is Retin-A, which was originally developed to treat acne but has since been found to be effective for anti-aging as well. Retin-A is available by prescription only, but there are many over-the-counter retinoid options as well, including adapalene and retinol. Retinol is a popular option because it's gentler than prescription-strength retinoids and can be found in many skincare products. Many over-the-counter formulas have shown dramatic results without the need to use prescription-strength medicines.
Overall, retinoids are a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. They require some patience and a commitment to using them consistently to get the best results.

AHAs and BHAs

AHAs and BHAs are powerful exfoliants that have become increasingly popular in recent years. AHAs and BHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, salicylic acid, and citric acid. AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, are derived from fruits and milk. These acids work by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, allowing them to be easily removed.
BHAs, or beta-hydroxy acids, are typically derived from other natural sources, like willowbark. These acids work deeper in the skin, typical in the pores to remove oils and sebum.
By removing dead skin cells, AHAs and BHAs help improve the overall texture and tone of the skin, reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation and help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. AHAs are especially effective at improving skin hydration and reducing the signs of sun damage, while BHAs are often recommended for those with acne-prone skin due to their ability to penetrate deeply into pores and dissolve excess oil and debris.
Despite their effectiveness, it's important to note that AHAs and BHAs can be quite powerful and may cause irritation or sensitivity in some individuals. It's always recommended to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase over time as your skin becomes accustomed to the product. It's also important to use sunscreen during the day when using these acids, as they can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Overall, AHAs and BHAs can be a valuable addition to any skincare routine, but it's important to use them responsibly.


Bodhi, also known as the sacred fig, is an Ayurvedic ingredient that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Bodhi is a powerful ingredient for skincare, especially for treating inflammation. It contains flavonoids, tannins, and phenolic compounds that provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to the skin.
When used in skincare, Bodhi extract can help reduce redness, swelling and irritation caused by acne, eczema and other skin conditions. It helps to soothe and calm the skin, making it an excellent ingredient for sensitive skin types. Bodhi extract also helps promote healthy collagen production, which can improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin.
Moreover, Bodhi extract has antimicrobial properties that help fight against bacteria that cause acne and other skin infections. The extract also has skin brightening properties that reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Its natural antimicrobial and skin brightening properties make it an excellent ingredient for treating acne and hyperpigmentation.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring substance found in the body that plays a crucial role in maintaining skin hydration and elasticity. It acts as a magnet for moisture, holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a highly effective hydrating ingredient in skincare products. As we age, our skin's natural HA levels decrease, leading to dehydration and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In skincare, HA is known for its ability to provide intense hydration to the skin, resulting in a plump and youthful appearance. Its molecular size allows it to penetrate the skin's surface and deliver hydration deep into the dermis. This helps to improve the skin's overall texture, tone and elasticity.
HA is a safe and effective ingredient for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It is non-irritating, non-sensitizing and compatible with other skincare ingredients. It can be used in a variety of forms, including serums, moisturizers and masks, making it easy to incorporate into your daily skincare routine.
Overall, if you are looking for an effective ingredient to combat dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles, hyaluronic acid is a great option. It's safe, effective and suitable for all skin types, making it a versatile ingredient that can benefit almost anyone.

Growth Factors

Growth factors are proteins that help promote cellular growth and regeneration. There are naturally-occurring growth factors, mainly derived from plants and the ocean, or synthetic growth factors. In the context of skincare, growth factors are often used to stimulate collagen production and improve the overall appearance of the skin. They can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Growth factors work by binding to receptors on the surface of cells, triggering a signaling cascade that leads to increased cell growth and division. While growth factors are naturally present in the body, they can also be synthesized and used in skincare products to promote healthy, youthful-looking skin.


Incorporating the right ingredients into your skincare is an important part of any skincare routine. If you’re investing time, energy and money into your skin regimen, you should make sure the skincare products you choose have quality and effective ingredients. When used consistently, these ingredients will give you the results you’re looking for.

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