7 Potent Skincare Ingredients to Add to Your Routine

  • Written By:Bobbi Brown
  • Photography:Jon Paterson
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To help you navigate what really works, Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah shares eight of the most powerful skincare ingredients that can actually transform skin.

GROWTH FACTORS AND PEPTIDES

Both of these ingredients have the power to repair and regenerate skin. They are found together in many anti-aging skin creams. Apply these creams twice a day to promote collagen and elastin production. Skin texture will noticeably improve after consistent use.

HYALURONIC ACID

While hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient in injectable fillers such as Juvéderm and Restylane, it can also be found in topical under eye, face, and body creams and gels. Apply a product containing hyaluronic acid to the skin and you will see an immediate change—lines soften and skin looks noticeably plumper. This is because hyaluronic acid is a normal component in your skin that helps retain moisture. The immediate plumping effect only lasts while the product is on the skin. However, softer and smoother skin is a benefit of regular use given hyaluronic acid’s anti-inflammatory and skin-repairing effects.

HYDROXY ACIDS

Whether you want to soften fine lines or are battling clogged pores, alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are key for renewing skin. Found in serums and moisturizers, they speed cell turnover, helping skin slough off surface layers to reveal fresh, new skin underneath.

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NATURAL OILS: AVOCADO, MARULA, OLIVE, GRAPESEED, AND OTHERS

These are incredibly hydrating natural oils that can restore and renew dry, sensitive skin. They have rich fatty acids that will build up your skin barrier. If you prefer chemical-free products, any of these are an excellent choice. You can apply oil directly to your skin with your fingers or a cotton swab. Use them all over your body, or just target dry patches such as heels, elbows, and cuticles.

RETINOL

A tried and true anti-aging ingredient, retinol increases collagen and elastin production, reduces hyperpigmentation, and promotes cell turnover by exfoliating skin. This is definitely a product that works better at night because it can break down when exposed to the sun. As retinol can be irritating for some, start by applying it every other night until your skin gets used to it. You need only a dime-size amount. At night, combine retinol with soothing creams that have growth factors, peptides, or vitamin B3 to hydrate and soothe skin. Over-the-counter versions are a good place to start since they are milder than prescription-strength versions.

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VITAMIN C

This antioxidant brightens skin, calms inflammation, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduces hyperpig- mentation, and protects and repairs skin from free radical damage. It is a wonder ingredient. When layered underneath sunscreen and applied daily, the SPF will protect you from ultraviolet radiation, and the vitamin C will counteract any sun damage. Look for vitamin C concentrate or serums that come in dark bottles with a pump, so there is limited exposure to air and light (both of which can make vitamin C less effective). The more potent versions tend to be the more expensive ones and are worth splurging on.

VITAMIN B3

Vitamin B3 (a.k.a. niacinamide) is great for very sensitive skin, as it is an anti- inflammatory and anti-irritant. It can also help with general redness, discoloration, and rebuilding the skin’s protective barrier so that skin looks healthier, brighter, and more hydrated overall.

This story originally appeared in Bobbi Brown's Beauty From the Inside Out.

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