actives - the skincare ingredients that work

Fun fact: When I started my skincare journey, I thought I'd exclusively use natural skincare. Kumbe the concerns I had like clogged pores, eczema, dehydration, uneven skin tone could not be properly addressed by natural skincare.

I got soooo frustrated. Because isn't natural skincare supposed to be the best for you? All I had to show for it was sensitive, dehydrated skin.

I quickly learned that I needed to introduce certain actives in my routine. Actives that the uninformed internets deemed terrible, horrible, no good very bad for your skin.

Well I introduced the actives anyway.  And my skin was like: "Yaaasss!  This is what I've been waiting for! Thanks for listening!"

What are skin care actives?

There are different types of skincare ingredients, one of these are actives. Skincare actives are ingredients that are essential to making a product work. They help the product deliver on its promise.

Exhibit A: In anti acne skincare, salicylic acid is a common active. Salicylic acid is oil soluble and can penetrate the pore to remove the excess oil and unclog pores. Thus the "anti-acneness" promise of the product.

Exhibit B: Eczema needs a lot of hydration and moisture to heal. In Kenya, Aveeno skincare comes highly recommended if you have eczema.

Dimethicone is one of the best moisturizing ingredients out there and is the active in the Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion. Thus the "helps prevent and protect dry skin" claim on the label.

When should you use skincare actives?

You should consider using skincare actives if you want to address specific skin concerns, like I did. Acne, dullness, dehydration, dark spots etc.

When you go skincare shopping,  look at the label. In the case of most African, European and American products, the first 10 ingredients should have the active ingredient(s) you need, in effective amounts.

For clogged pores, blackheads, acne, pimples

Actives like BHAs, azelaic acid, zinc, niacinamide just might be what you need. These actives will help the skin regulate oil production and stop pores getting clogged by the excess oil.

For dullness, dark spots and uneven tone

Look for actives like AHAs, hydroquinone, Vitamin C and its derivatives, alpha arbutin, niacinamide, licorice root extract, kojic acid. FYI, dark spots and uneven tone need you to have plenty of patience and SPF. It can take months to get even toned skin.

For dryness and/or dehydration

The skin needs plenty of hydration and moisture to stay soft and smooth. Actives like ceramides, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, urea, glycerin, dimethicone, panthenol, squalane and fragrant free plant oils can help with that.

For aging well and firming skin

Look to actives that encourage collagen production, like retinol, alpha lipoic acid, matrixyl and argireline.

For sensitivity

If for whatever reason your skin is sensitive,  calm it with actives like green tea, soy, allantoin, oat extract, adenosine, marshmallow and centella asiatica.

In Conclusion 

If you want to address some skin concerns, then introducing skincare actives in your routine will help. Simply find which skin care actives would best assist. 

I'm currently loving niacinamide and Vitamin C to brighten and even skin tone. What about you? Which skin care actives do you like?

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