You click play on a new video from your favourite beauty influencer. She is raving about a new moisturiser with plenty of ‘active’ ingredients that have done amazing things for her skin. As her voice fades out, you pick up the magazine you picked up earlier. Flicking through the glossy pages, you come across a feature on the best things you can do for your skin today. Almost every product mentioned contains ‘active’ ingredients. But what makes the ingredients in skin care active? How can they really work their magic in products that you wash off?
What are active ingredients in skin care?
An active ingredient in a skin care product is the ingredient that is actually doing the work of targeting whatever problem you’re trying to improve. It is the power that gives the product the ability to do its intended job. If you’re prone to acne breakouts, you may look for a product with salicylic acid to soothe it. Although the product may have many other ingredients, it will be the salicylic acid that targets the acne and calms inflammation.
Common active ingredients in skin care products include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- salicylic acid
- alpha hydroxy acids
- benzoyl peroxide
- hyaluronic acid
- azelaic acid
These ingredients play a variety of roles including tending to wrinkles, acne, rosacea, regulating bacteria on the skin and hydration. Our Hydrating and Exfoliating body bars both contain the active ingredients of tomato seed oil, which actively reduces redness and squalane, a fantastic emollient.
Of course, active ingredients almost never work alone. Most skin care products will also contain inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients also serve a purpose and are often vital in helping the active ingredient deliver. Ingredients that boost absorption and therefore enhance the performance of the active ingredient will be considered inactive. Many inactive ingredients are preservatives such as phenoxyethanol or citric acid, which extend the life of the product. You should always check the label of any skin care product, as some inactive ingredients like botanical oils can be harmful to sensitive skin.
Do active ingredients really work?
Well, yes! The term ‘active ingredients’ isn’t a marketing trick, and their effects aren’t just assumed. Ingredients listed as active within a skin care product have been proven by science to change the skin in some way, so they do really work.
The active ingredients that we love the most include:
Tomato seed oilThis is an oleic acid containing a component called lycopene, which soothes irritated skin and therefore is excellent at treating acne ravaged skin.
Salicylic acidThis is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which helps to shed dead cells from the surface of the skin, unclog pores and repair damage from acne.
Lactic acidThis is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which also removes dead skin cells and brings light to dark spots and blemishes.
SqualaneThis natural oil-like ingredient has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers as well as having the ability to gently hydrate and moisturise the skin.
Our body bars also contain a plethora of other ingredients, both active and inactive, that work as a solid, co-operative team to deliver the high-quality skin care that we pride ourselves on. Whether it’s acne, dryness or blemishes that your skin is battling, Beauty Kin has the solution.
How active ingredients work in wash-off skin products
Ok, they all sound great but my cleanser, exfoliator and body bar are all wash-off products. How can these amazing active ingredients possibly get into my skin if I wash them away barely a minute before applying them? Don’t fear -due to the nature of how they work, whether you’re hydrating or exfoliating, active ingredients really can work in wash-off products too. Let us explain.
When you have an allergic reaction to something, the reaction itself happens in the cells not on the surface of your skin. This is proof that your skin has absorbed something that it shouldn’t have done and thereby further proof that your skin doesn’t need a lengthy encounter with something to absorb it.
Our Hydrating and Exfoliating body bars both contain tomato seed oil, which has been proven to boost the skin’s absorption of unsaturated cyclic and polycyclic compounds. Due to this, ingredients like rose geranium, a powerful antioxidant found in our Exfoliating body bar, will be able to be absorbed into the skin much more effectively, thanks to the presence of tomato seed oil.
It is a common misconception that the skin is a tough barrier that doesn’t want anything to pass through its surface. However, in reality, the skin loves absorbing ingredients that will benefit it. AHAs and BHAs like lactic acid and salicylic acid cross the barrier of the skin’s surface very quickly, which is great because as acids, you wouldn’t want them lingering on your skin’s surface for long. Both salicylic and glycolic acids are great at exfoliating, leaving the skin in prime condition for absorbing all the goodness within leave-on products. Salicylic acid in particular is highly efficient and passes through the skin, even at levels of just 0.02%. Pretty impressive!
In wash-off products such as many cleansers and exfoliators, you’re not just washing all the ingredients down the plug hole when you rinse them off. Active ingredients in these products are often teamed with a nourishing base to accelerate absorption. Any ingredient within a wash-off product will tend to be very fast acting and will be able to be absorbed into the skin within seconds. Our Shaving body bar contains lavender, which will hang around on your skin within the bar’s lather while you shave. Lavender can be absorbed at levels of just 50 microlitres per cm² of skin, so it’s a good job that our Shaving bar consists of 300 microlitres of the little sweet-smelling, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress flower!
Beauty Kin body bars get active
All of our body bars contain a wealth of active ingredients that do wonders for your skin. However, we’ve highlighted a few that crop up regularly across our range. So, we’d like to take this opportunity to make some introductions to our body bars:
- Hydrating. All skin needs hydration but our hydrating body bar is excellent at restoring moisture to dry skin. Active ingredients include squalane, which does the hydrating; tomato seed oil, which reduces the redness left behind by dry skin and jojoba oil, which helps balance the skin’s oil production.
- Clarifying. The perfect bar for skin prone to acne, bacne or blemishes. Active ingredients include salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin and reduce inflammation; tamanu oil to improve scarring and squalane to gently moisturise the new, clear skin.
- Exfoliating. Your skin and pores need a regular deep clean and that’s exactly what our exfoliating body bar does. Active ingredients include lactic acid to remove dead skin cells; tomato seed oil to calm redness and rose geranium to brighten and soothe the new skin.
- Shaving. Shaving doesn’t have to be an ordeal for your skin with our shaving body bar. Active ingredients include squalane to keep up the skin’s moisture levels during shaving and lavender to soothe inflammation, reducing the chances of razor burn.
So, there you have it. Active ingredients aren’t just for lotions or creams that you rub deep into your skin. Their super speed and high efficiency mean that they work just as well in wash-off products and your skin will feel every benefit, even after very brief contact. The hype around active ingredients is real - skin care and by extension, your skin has never been more alive!