Skincare Shopping 101: Ingredients to Look Out For
As much as we love dropping the cutest beauty products into our baskets, you can’t always trust fancy packaging or rosy marketing language that promises “flawless skin.” What you can trust is what you see in the ingredients list of a product.
You don’t need to be an ingredient scholar to understand what it says on the back of your serum or lotion, but familiarizing yourself with a few terms can make the shopping experience a lot more empowering. Instead of buying into pretty packaging, you’ll be able to make informed decisions as a shopper. And you’ll be able to select the best product for your best interests.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of skincare ingredients to look out for the next time you shop for cleanser, serum, or face oils.
Retinol is a multipurpose skincare elixir. It can treat everything from acne to fine lines and wrinkles, and dullness.
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that works by stimulating the skin cells of the outermost layer of the skin to turnover faster to boost new skin cells, resulting in smoother skin. It also enhances the production of chemicals in the skin responsible for keeping it moist and plump, like hyaluronic acid and collagen.
Product pick with retinol: Truly’s Purple Rain Facial Oil.
Collagen makes up 80 percent of the skin. It’s responsible for keeping skin plump and tight, so when collagen breaks down, the skin starts losing its youthfulness.
Add plant-based collagen into the equation, and you’ve got something that works even harder than animal-derived collagen.
To keep skin looking young and healthy, incorporate products formulated with vegan collagen. These will help make the skin strong, smooth, and young.
Product pick with vegan collagen: Truly’s Vegan Collagen Facial Serum.
“Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, [and] it helps to bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin, so that skin can appear plumper, dewier, and more hydrated,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist in Santa Monica, California.
By increasing hydration in the skin, hyaluronic acid keeps your complexion looking full, fresh, and plump.
Cosmetic chemist Sandra Bontempo adds, “Hyaluronic acid penetrates easily, which is why it works so well when applied topically. Our skin is the largest organ in the body and absorbs up to 60 percent of nutrients we apply to it.”
Usually you’ll find hyaluronic acid in moisturizing serums and lotions, but it may also be found in hydrating cleansers and face masks, too.
Product pick with hyaluronic acid: Truly’s Cream Skin Face Moisturizer.
This is the go-to ingredient for acne-prone skinned people.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which penetrates into the pores to unclog blackheads. It also fights acne-causing bacteria, exfoliates the skin, and reduces inflammation.
“Salicylic acid is an excellent pore-clearing ingredient because it exfoliates the surface of the skin and penetrates into pores to remove oil,” says board-certified dermatologist in NYC, Hadley King, MD. “This helps to prevent pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed.”
Product pick with salicylic acid: Truly’s CBD Jelly Anti-Blemish Facial Cleanser.
Vitamin C is one of the most common active ingredients in skincare products. It acts as an antioxidant to protect skin from free radical damage and counteract its effects. Vitamin C also works well in brightening dark spots with consistent use.
Many people use vitamin C as part of their daily skincare regimen, as it keeps the skin healthy, offers it protection, and keeps it looking glowing all at the same time.
Product pick with vitamin C: Truly’s Starface Jelly Sleep Mask.
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that’s often found in peels and exfoliating toners and cleansers. It works by ungluing the bonds between skin cells to reveal smoother skin underneath.
Glycolic acid is particularly helpful in reducing the appearance of skin creases, but some people also use it for treating acne.
It’s also great for boosting the efficiency of other skincare products.
“You’re going to get better absorption of other acne medications, like retinol, and other anti-aging products and antioxidants, like vitamin C and topical growth factors,” explains dermatologist Dr. Melda Isaac. “We even use it in office to prepare the skin for other types of procedures that we do.”
Product pick with glycolic acid: Truly’s Mary Jane Glow Serum.
Hemp oil offers a host of skincare benefits. You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled for this ingredient. It’s especially useful for acne-prone complexions.
“This oil is particularly good for people prone to redness and skin irritations like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis because it’s high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that help to hydrate the skin,” says Dr. Maura Henninger, a Naturopathic Doctor in New York City. “It’s also beneficial for acne-prone patients because of its antibacterial properties, thanks to those same omega acids.”
Product pick with hemp oil: Truly’s Hemp Oil Facial Serum.
No doubt, you’ve already heard of vitamin E many times before. You’ve probably also seen it written across various beauty products.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant often used in skincare to treat a range of skin disorders including dryness, dullness, and even acne.
According to board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, “It assists in various kinds of cellular restoration from sun damage to healing support for scars or burns.”
She later adds, “Vitamin E is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can be soothing and help calm the skin. It’s also good for hydrating skin, and serves as a moderately effective natural barrier to the sun.”
Product pick with vitamin E: Truly’s Flower Child CBD Face Cream.
So there you have it, our top-ranked skincare ingredients for beautiful, radiant skin. The next time you go shopping for beauty products, be sure to fill your virtual basket with all of the wonderful, skin-transforming ingredients mentioned above. They really can work wonders for your skin!