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Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Every time you walk into a store, have you ever felt overwhelmed by hundreds of beauty and skincare products displayed on the shelves?

If that wasn’t enough, some products caught your attention with those beautiful packaging and marketing phrases like “hydrating, anti-aging, clarifying or lightening” etc.

You picked it up for a closer look then blanked out and confused by the ingredient list — jargon on the back of the bottle and now you aren’t so sure if this product is right for you or your skin type?

You signaled a salesperson to assist you, by the end of all this, you bought a product but you felt like you are being influenced on, you end up choosing a product with specific claims but have minimal to no effect on your skin at all whatsoever.

This is why you like online shopping because you have more time to search on the ingredient list and make your own decision? Well, you are like me, this is exactly how I feel when I went shopping for beauty/skincare products in the past until I started learning about active ingredients in skincare and what their benefits are for my skin.

So, what are active ingredients in skincare? In its broadest sense, an active ingredient is one that delivers the benefit of the product, one that has proven to have an effect on cells as the product claims.

In today's blog, I will discuss in detail about your favorite vitamins commonly found in most skincare products.

beauty shot of skincare products

Active ingredients in cosmetic - Vitamins in skincare

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) helps rejuvenate your skin, enhances skin clarity and luminosity, thanks to its soothing property. It also stimulates collagen synthesis and production of ceramide (components of your skin outer protective barrier), reduces rate of sebum secretion and redness from acne and eczema, improves skin texture and the appearance of hyper pigmented spots. This is a non-irritating active ingredient, suitable for all skin types, and could be used in morning and night routines. ​Vitamin ​C comes in water and oil soluble forms. The water-soluble forms are Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and L-ascorbic acid. An oil soluble version is Ascorbyl Palmitate. This vitamin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, helps diminish scars and dark spots, brighten and even out skin tone and also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It neutralizes free radical damage caused by UV light and prevents the breakdown of collagen. Pairing well with Vitamin E. When using products with this ingredient, always follow with sunscreen. Suitable for all skin types except sensitive.

Retinol (Vitamin A) speeds up your skin’s cell renewal processes to diminish sun damage and pigmentation, reduces scarring and aged spots, refines skin texture and increases production of collagen. This is a popular ingredient for acne treatment and anti-aging on the market, it is very strong and if you choose to introduce them to your routine, start with a low percentage and once a week at night, then gradually increase your skin’s tolerance up to 2 to 3 nights a week. Suitable for acne, mature and oily skin.

Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties, helps stabilize volatile ingredients like vitamin C, promotes skin’s softening and moisturizing, regulates skin’s elasticity, boost moisture and hydration and enhances the effect of vitamin C. Suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive, irritated and mature skin.

Panthenol (Vitamin B5) has the ability to regenerate skin tissue which is helpful in recovery of acne scars, spots, rashes, eczema and psoriasis. It also helps maintain skin softness and elasticity, smooth the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Suitable for dry, aging and damaged skin.

Co-enzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone), our body naturally produces CoQ10 but from the age of 30 onward it starts to decline. This antioxidant has been known to encourage cellular energy and delay the visible signs of skin aging. It also stimulates the circulation and boosts cellular oxygenation. Additionally, it helps to boost skin’s barrier repair function, hydrating, supports the production of collagen and elastin and promotes an even skin tone. Suitable for dry, damaged and mature or aging skin.

Vitamin K is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effect, helps reduce bruising, swelling, helping in the formation of collagen and has been known to help fade dark under-eyes circles and also wound healing. Topical vitamin K can be used one to twice a day. Suitable for acne, damaged skin.


Please don’t pair all of these active ingredients together in your routine, some of them would contradict with each other and could worsen your skin.

Please consider carefully which active ingredients you would like to use based on its benefits for your skin and introduce one product at a time so your skin would have time to familiarize with it.


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