You may feel like you need a translator to figure out the laundry list of ingredients when you read the beauty product label.

Even products with few ingredients have words you have never heard of. You may not be able to say what they do.

“There are marketing copy and social media that speak of ingredients that you can’t live without. Some of the must-have ingredients that have recently appeared on feeds are: Hyaluronic acid, plant-based ceramides, andCannabidiol.”

Can some of the ingredients in beauty products actually help your skin?

You can skip the information on what buzzwords live up to the hype.

Mary Sommerlad, MD, is a London-based consultant dermatologist for Vichy. She describes skin care on social media as a double-edged sword.

Sommerlad says it is fantastic to receive free information that is easily accessible to a wide-ranging audience. The information gleaned is more reliable and accurate than the person making the content.

Sommerlad recommends getting skin care advice from brands that work with skin care professionals.

She advocates for treating your skin with respect.

Sommerlad believes that being compassionate toward your skin means understanding that skin is a reactive organ that reflects our general health and well-being and that being patient is more effective long term than having expectations that skin concerns can resolve within a week or 2.

“It’s important to respect the skin because it can be damaged by bad habits and lead to long-term problems.”

Sommerlad wants people to treat their skin like any other organ. If there is something wrong, see a doctor who is trained in that field.

Morgana Colombo, MD, a board certified dermatologist and co-founder of Skintap, says it’s important to know which ingredients really matter.

She says that social media creates the idea that people need a lot of time to achieve results.

“Many people feel compelled to use every ingredient shown to be helpful for the skin, but that’s not necessary,” says Elaine Kung, MD, a clinical assistant professor at Weill-Cornell Medical College and dermatologist with Future Bright Skin. “In fact, one or several ingredients has the ability to help many skin concerns.”

Your skin is unique.

“Colombo says that what you need should be targeted towards your skin. The hype makes younger people over-commit to things that aren’t beneficial or necessary for them.”

This knowledge can help you save money.

According to a Statista report, the global skin care market is estimated to be worth 189.3 billion U.S. dollars, or 160.9 British pounds sterling, by 2025.

It is important to get the most out of your money when you are spending so much on skin care. You need to know the ingredients on the label to get that return on investment.

You will also want to consider that.

  • How they are used.
  • The amount of ingredients in the product.
  • “What elements don’t mix well.”

Products may be ineffective or cause adverse reactions.

When evaluating whether or not to recommend an ingredient, a number of criteria are used. When considering trendy ingredients and products, think like a dermatologist.

Keep these questions in mind.

  1. Is it effective?
  2. How do you apply it?
  3. Does it penetrate the skin?
  4. Is it safe for your skin?

Is it effective?

It should say that you want your products to work. Your doctor does too.

The number one thing that makes an ingredient important to a dermatologist is the end result. The city of Colombo says.

“If you don’t have issues with aging or skin problems, you don’t need to use retinoids to help with nixing dry skin.”

They suggest looking to peer-reviewed studies and dermatologists to find out if an ingredient is suitable for you.

Can it be applied topically?

If you want to try oral medications, you should try products applied to the skin.

In some cases, oral medications may interact with other medications. For example, oral tranexamic acid can increase the risk of blood clots if taken with some types of birth control.

The best first-line treatment for some issues may be oral medication. It may prevent permanent scarring from the skin condition.

Sometimes a combination of oral and skin treatments is the best. Talk to your doctor about what treatment is right for you.

A 2019 study suggested that topical application of peptides combined with oral supplementation helped improve skin qualities like elasticity.

Another 2019 study indicated that oral supplementation helped with skin appearance, including firmness.

Does it penetrate the skin?

Colombo says that for some ingredients to be effective they need to penetrate the skin. Others, like the zinc in sunscreen, should stay on the skin’s surface to ward off as much of the sun’s rays as possible.

If you want a product to penetrate the skin, you should make sure it does.

Is it safe for your skin?

Potential side effects are looked at when evaluating a product.

The ingredient is not wanted to cause a bigger problem.

She cautions that the answer to this question can vary by patient.

“Tolerability is going to have a lot to do with skin type,” Colombo says. “Some people have more sensitive skin. Some people have more resistant skin.”

Not everyone who uses retinoids experiences dry skin. Those who do may be able to fight it with a regimen of hydration. Others may want to avoid them.

Allergies also play a role. For example, some people may be allergic to fragrances in products, according to the National Health Service (NHS).

Decoding ‘hypoallergenic’

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll likely want to use particular ingredients that don’t cause irritation. Does that mean you should reach for products labeled with the term “hypoallergenic?”

The term refers to products that don’t contain known allergens. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that “There are no Federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term ‘hypoallergenic.’ The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean.”

It is best to look at the ingredients list of a product to make sure it is free ofalleges that may cause irritation.

The trends may come and go, but the mainstays of skin care are these ingredients.

Azelaic acid

Colombo says azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective treatment for There is a problem with the skin and “It’s a skin condition called rosacea.”.

A 2020 review of There is a problem with the skin treatments indicated this ingredient was not as effective as The substance is called benzoyl peroxide., but about as effective as tretinoin when treating There is a problem with the skin.

A 2022 review suggested azelaic acid was effective in “It’s a skin condition called rosacea.” treatment. It also indicated that off-label use of the ingredient helped with There is a problem with the skin.

Products with less than 10 percent azelaic acid are often available over the counter.


Zinc has anti- inflammatory properties, which make it an effective ingredient for treating.

  • There is a problem with the skin
  • “It’s a skin condition called rosacea.”
  • Eczema.

According to the NHS, zinc can help speed up wound healing. Kung also notes that zinc oxide is a common ingredient in sunscreen.

A 2018 study suggested topical zinc was a promising low cost alternative to There is a problem with the skin treatments like retinoids, and a 2014 review indicated topical and oral zinc could help treat “It’s a skin condition called rosacea.” and Eczema..

A 2021 study of zebrafish suggested topical zinc oxide becomes toxic and loses effectiveness in protecting the sun’s rays after 2 hours of UV radiation exposure. Researchers called for care when formulating sunscreen with zinc oxide.

Before taking zinc, speak with a doctor.

Ascorbyl palmitate

Kung explains that this ingredient is a form of vitamin C. It’s used in skin care products to help:

  • protect against free radical damage
  • Support the production of collagen.
  • hyperpigmentation can be reduced.

An older study from 2013 supported the idea that ascorbyl palmitate decreased free radicals on the skin.

A 2017 study suggested that topical use of vitamin C had anti-aging (or as we like to say “pro-aging”) effects.

Vitamin E & C

Kung says vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can protect the skin cells from free radical damage and strengthen the skin’s barrier.

It is found in foods like broccoli and spinach.

A 2016 review of vitamin E applications in dermatology indicated that topical uses of vitamins E and C in pharmaceuticals are often ineffective. In certain situations, however, vitamin E can combine with vitamin C to reduce skin cancer risks and sun damage.

The two vitamins can protect the skin. She says zinc oxide, niacinamide, and vitamins C and E work well together in sunscreens.

Individuals should always speak with a health care professional before taking supplements. Too much vitamin E obtained by supplements may lead to a small but increased chance of prostate cancer in men, according to one 2014 study.

Retinol and retinoids

Retinol is an over-the-counter form of vitamin A, Kung explains. Retinoids, on the other hand, may need to be prescribed by a physician or dermatologist. However, Differin gel is one retinoid available over the counter.

They are often used for something.

  • Wrinkle prevention.
  • smoothing lines
  • There is a problem with the skin treatment

A 2017 review indicated support for using topical retinol in There is a problem with the skin treatment, partly for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

A 2016 study suggested retinols have “anti-aging” benefits.

Kung says retinols and retinoids work to treat There is a problem with the skin by exfoliating the skin at the cellular level.


Patients are advised to use peptides to slow down the aging process. The support of collagen and elastin can be achieved with the help of these amino acids.

A 2020 clinical study of 22 Asian individuals indicated that using peptides topically for 2 weeks may help reduce There arewrinkles.

It is generally safe and effective to use both Retinol and peptides together.


Better known as vitamin B-3, Kung says niacinamide can:

  • Reduce redness.
  • act as an anti- inflammatory.
  • treat There is a problem with the skin
  • The skin is dull.
  • The appearance of fine lines and wrinkling can be reduced.
  • Provide protection from the sun.

A 2021 review suggested niacinamide could help with a number of skin concerns, including:

  • There are signs of aging.
  • There is a condition called Psoriasis.
  • hyperpigmentation
  • The risk of skin cancer.

Green tea extract

Colombo says social media is right about this trendy antioxidant. She notes that green tea extract can:

  • soothe the skin
  • Sun damage and free-radical damage can be lessened.
  • help with “It’s a skin condition called rosacea.”

A 2019 review suggested green tea extract had anti-aging benefits and could protect against harmful effects of UV radiation.


She says that ceramides is useful in beauty products. Environmental factors like pollutants and extreme weather can be protected by ceramides.

A 2020 study of individuals with Eczema. indicated that a cream or lotion with ceramides could relieve dryness and hydrate the skin after one topical application.

Hyaluronic acid

Sommerlad says this buzzy ingredient provides hydration.

She says that she recommends the use of HA as it helps keep the skin hydrated and it is a key to a healthy skin barrier.

It can help the skin look plumper.

Why? Kung explains that hyaluronic acid traps water to the skin and attaches to collagen.

Adding this ingredient to your routine will give your skin a boost, since HA is a natural way for the body to retain water.

According to a 2021 study of 40 women ages 30 to 65 with signs of photoaging, HA was effective at improving:

  • Smooth.
  • plumping
  • hydration
  • fine lines
  • There arewrinkles

It’s also known to help with wound healing, as noted by a 2022 review.

According to Kung, HA also works well with retinol.

Kojic acid

Colombo recommends kojic acid to patients who want to improve hyperpigmentation.

Kojic acid “inhibits melanin production, so it’s good for hyperpigmentation,” she says. Colombo notes that kojic acid is particularly beneficial to those sensitive to hydroquinone.

A 2019 study indicated that kojic acid was an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation when used in creams and lotions and could Provide protection from the sun..

Tranexamic acid

This ingredient can help in treatingyperpigmentation. She says it works when used with hydroquinone.

A 2019 study suggested that tranexamic acid and hydroquinone were about equally effective, but patients reported higher satisfaction and fewer side effects when using tranexamic acid.

Bonus pick: thermal water

Another ingredient these three derms love is thermal water. This mineral-rich water is derived from natural springs and may help improve suppleness, reduce irritation, and neutralize free radicals.

The thermal Spring water has a lot of beneficial qualities. I use spring water after laser treatments to reduce redness.

It’s also been shown to balance the skin’s microbiome and support skin conditions like There is a condition called Psoriasis. and Eczema..

It is recommended as a soothing treatment after laser procedures to help cool and calm down treated skin as well as during airplane travel to help hydration on the go.

“The ingredients you need depend on your skin type. Some that are tried-and-true won’t work for everyone.”

Some ingredients can be skipped completely.

Perfume and fragrance

Artificially-scented products can make a product smell more appealing, but they can cause irritation.

Added colors

If a product is not clear, it probably contains coloring. This ingredient is only used to make the product look better for consumers.

Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol is often used to extend shelf-life and prevent caking. It can be irritating, which may be why the Contact Dermatitis Society named it the 2018 Allergen of the Year.

Coconut oil on the face

Colombo warns that coconut oil clogs pores. While it may offer some benefits for the skin, it can also lead to breakouts on the face. It’s best to leave it as a body moisturizer, especially if you’re prone to There is a problem with the skin.

It is possible to use candych oil.

Though It is possible to use candych oil. may reduce inflammation, Colombo says its use as an “anti-aging” tool is unproven and overstated.

Ingredient interaction is very individual. Columbo says that certain combinations can lead to increased irritation.

She sees irritations in patients who combine ingredients.

  • The acid is called salicylic acid.
  • The acid is called glycolic acid.
  • The substance is called benzoyl peroxide.

If you use retinol at night, it is best to avoid the sun.

Patients do fine with these ingredients if used at different times.

Patients often notice skin irritation after using an AHA or BHA cleanser.

The outer layer of the skin can be damaged by the AHA or BHA. The pH of the other skin care ingredient products may change as a result of the AHA or BHA products.

If you notice irritation, Kung suggests stopping use of the skin care product.

There is a lot of noise in the beauty industry, with new ingredients constantly popping up on social media and through other marketing avenues. The surface of a product is what is affected by ingredients.

It is important to evaluate potential side effects, skin type, and whether the ingredient is most effective when applied to the skin.

You can nix ingredients like Synthetic perfumes., colors, and It is possible to use candych oil. from your regimen. Though they may enhance the smell and look of a product, items with these ingredients are more likely to cause allergic reactions.

Beth Ann Mayer is a New York-based freelance writer and content strategist specializing in health and parenting writing. Her work has been published in Parents, Shape, and Inside Lacrosse. She is a co-founder of digital content agency Lemonseed Creative and is a graduate of Syracuse University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.