What’s In Your Skincare Product? A Closer Look At Actives & Inactives

Are you looking to improve the appearance and feel of your skin? You’re not alone. However, when it comes to skincare, there are so many products available that serve different purposes - how do you choose the best ones for you?

To select the product that’s right for you and your skin, take a closer look at the labels and ingredients of your skincare products. You’ll likely come across terms such as “active ingredients” and “inactive ingredients,” but what do those terms actually mean? What do you need to understand about choosing skincare products? Continue reading for the answers to these questions to help you make better skincare choices.

This infographic was created by SeSpring, a manufacturer of a gentle gel cleanser

When we buy food, we check the labels for ingredients and nutrition. Skincare labels are just as informative — once you know what to look for. One tip is to start with the most important aspect of the skincare label: the active ingredients and inactive ingredients.

An “active” means that the ingredient in the product has been tested and proven to perform a specific function for the skin. Some of the most common active ingredients in skincare products include alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs (such as glycolic acid), which help improve skin texture and tone; retinoids such as vitamin A, which can minimize signs of aging; benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which help clear acne; vitamin B3, which can help lessen inflammation; and hyaluronic acid, which can help hydrate skin.

An “inactive” refers to any ingredient in the product that is not active. Just because these substances aren’t active doesn’t mean they’re any less important. They may be the vehicle that delivers the active ingredient to the skin. These ingredients may also have other skin-boosting benefits, even if they haven’t been proven to have specific functions. Some of the most common inactives include plant oils such as jojoba oil, which acts as skin balancers; plant butters such as shea butter or cocoa butter, which help moisturize and protect skin; and aloe, which has a variety of skin benefits include moisturizing and cooling. Essential oils may also be added for natural fragrance.

It’s also important to note that your skin may react to different active ingredients, so it’s smart to read the label on any product you try and follow the directions carefully. If you have sensitive skin, overusing a product could cause more damage than good.

Because everyone’s skin is different, if you have a reaction to certain products, read the label of any product carefully before you try it. For more information on this topic and to be your own skincare advocate, check out the accompanying resource by SeSpring.

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