The most popular products in cosmetics


6/1/20224 min read

When analyzing the list of ingredients (INCI) of cosmetic products, one can get lost among the abundance of ingredients and complex chemical names. Most of these names are difficult for the average consumer to understand, so let's discuss the most commonly found active ingredients or active substances in cosmetic products.

Active substances are one of the categories of ingredients in a cosmetic product that play one of the most important roles in product formulation. Active substances or active ingredients are substances that are intended to address skin problems and provide a function for the cosmetic product. In many cases, the effectiveness of active ingredients is based on scientific data, and their mode of action is clear. However, this does not mean that other ingredients that make up the cosmetic product do not perform any function! Another category of ingredients in a cosmetic product is inactive ingredients, which increase the absorption of active ingredients, improve product consistency, prolong shelf life, etc.

Let's talk about the category of active ingredients. The most commonly found active substances in cosmetic products are AHA (alpha-hydroxy) and BHA (beta-hydroxy) acids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, and retinol.

AHA acids are obtained from natural sources such as milk and fruit sugars. They are gentle chemical exfoliants that remove dead skin cells and promote cell regeneration. AHA acids are widely used in anti-aging products to combat wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and pigmentation. They also help to fight acne and improve overall skin texture. The most commonly used AHAs are lactic acid (derived from milk) and glycolic acid (derived from sugar). Glycolic acid, with its smaller molecular size, penetrates deeper into the skin than lactic acid, which is a milder exfoliant and suitable for sensitive skin. To choose the right product with AHA acids, look for a pH value of 3.5 to 4 and an AHA concentration of 5 to 10%. It is best to use such products at night and not use products containing retinoids at the same time.

BHA acids include the well-known salicylic acid, which is also a chemical exfoliant. Salicylic acid penetrates deeper into the skin, making it suitable for oily and combination skin types and effective in fighting acne. BHA acids are oil-soluble, meaning that they penetrate deeper into pores and can remove excess oil, impurities, and blackheads. It is best to use BHA products once a week and gradually increase the frequency to two or three times a week (you can use it more often with the advice of a skincare specialist). Look for products containing 1 to 2% salicylic acid and use it at night before moisturizer. If you are using both BHA and vitamin C products, it is recommended to use vitamin C in the morning and BHA at night.

Hyaluronic acid is a moisturizing substance with intensive hydrating properties, making it one of the most popular ingredients in anti-aging products. It is a carbohydrate (glucosaminoglycan) found in our body, but its levels decrease as we age. Topical use of this acid can help restore skin moisture and combat transepidermal water loss. In addition to its water retention properties, hyaluronic acid can also reduce the depth of wrinkles and prevent new wrinkles from forming. This type of active ingredient is easy to incorporate into your skincare routine because it is compatible with many other active ingredients and suitable for all skin types. Hyaluronic acid can be used daily, up to twice a day, and is most effective when its concentration in a cosmetic product is between 1 and 2%. It is particularly advisable to use a product with hyaluronic acid in combination with other products containing vitamin C or glycolic acid.

Vitamin C is a key ingredient in skincare products that help give the skin a glowing, radiant, and youthful appearance. Its antioxidant properties protect the skin from UV radiation and pollution. In addition, vitamin C promotes collagen and elastin production in the skin, effectively reducing visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and hyperpigmented spots. However, the biggest advantage of vitamin C is that it brightens the skin and makes it more luminous with regular use. Cosmetic chemists often refer to this ingredient as the temperamental vitamin C because it can be difficult to stabilize. For this reason, various vitamin C derivatives such as ascorbic acid glucoside are often used in cosmetic product formulations. Vitamin C products can be used daily! To see noticeable results, look for products with a concentration of this ingredient between 5 and 20%. When using vitamin C during the day, it is necessary to use SPF protection and avoid using products with AHA and BHA acids together. Always store vitamin C products in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight to prevent possible product oxidation.

Niacinamide is a key component in cosmetic products that helps to combat various inflammations. This ingredient effectively soothes irritated skin and, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for acne-prone or rosacea-affected skin. This B3 vitamin derivative also strengthens the skin's hydrolipidic (protective) barrier and improves its elasticity. Niacinamide is recognized as a gently acting active ingredient and is suitable for many skin types, including sensitive and dry skin. Products made with niacinamide can be used daily, even twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The ideal concentration of this active ingredient is between 5% and 10%. Keep in mind that 10% is the maximum concentration that is safe in many skin care products.

One of the most coveted ingredients is retinol. This is an effective skin-rejuvenating substance with various properties that helps to combat signs of aging, acne, and uneven skin tone. Retinol (a vitamin A derivative) belongs to the retinoid family and is a powerful anti-aging ingredient that can repair skin damage and reduce existing signs of aging. This ingredient promotes skin cell regeneration, beautifies the skin, and fights against skin hyperpigmentation. Even a concentration of 0.01% retinol has been shown to be effective when using this product daily. If you are using a product containing retinol for the first time, start with a concentration of no more than 0.03% and use it once a week. Later, increase it to 2-3 times a week, depending on your skin's reaction. After your skin becomes accustomed to this type of product, you can slowly increase the concentration of this active ingredient. Note that retinol should only be used at night and preferably as the final step after moisturizer. If retinol is part of your daily skin care routine, use sun protection products with an SPF value of at least 30 because your skin becomes sensitive to UV radiation due to retinol. Also, avoid using products made with AHA or BHA at the same time.

Finally, if you use several products with different active ingredients every day, it is important to follow the proper product layering rules: use products with vitamin-based active ingredients during the day and products with AHA or BHA acids at night. Always make sure to use water-soluble ingredients before oil-soluble ones. Lastly, it is important to pay attention to the pH values of the products because the most acidic product should be used first.

-- The LAB