What are "active ingredients" in skincare and why you need them.

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If you’ve spent any time on the internet researching skincare that treats any number of specific skincare concerns, you would have come across the term “active ingredients” or simply “actives”. Confused? I’m here to help you out.

What are active ingredients?

Simply put, an “active” ingredient in a skincare product is an ingredient that works to target a specific skincare concern. For example, if you’re looking for a face mask that targets blackheads and acne, you’re most likely to find a product that has “salicylic acid” in it as its active ingredient. It is basically the chemical or molecule in a product that does whatever that product claims it’s going to do for your skin. It’s the ingredient in a product that does all the heavy lifting. 

Furthermore, it's not an ingredient that we just “think” works. Actives have to be tested in a lab and proven through scientific research to illicit changes in the skin. It’s an ingredient that has real data behind it, an ingredient that you can trust does what it claims it does. These claims are regulated by cosmetics governing bodies such as the FDA and EC(EU Cosmetics). Does that mean a specific active is going to work for you? Not necessarily, everyone’s skin is unique and it is up to you to test out different products and ingredients to find what is most effective for you.

Examples of active skincare ingredients and the skin concerns they address:

Titanium Dioxide and zinc oxide – sun protection

Retinol – signs of ageing, pigmentation, acne

Hyaluronic Acid – dryness

Hydroquinone - pigmentation

Niacinamide – pigmentation, dryness

Vitamin C – signs of ageing, pigmentation

Glycolic Acid - pigmentation

Salicylic Acid – acne, congestion and pigmentation

Azelaic Acid – acne, rosacea

Benzoyl Peroxide – acne

Sulfur - rosacea

Steroids – psoriasis, eczema

Copper Peptide - signs of ageing

Matrixyl Peptide - signs of ageing

Argireline Peptide - signs of ageing

So, what does that mean for all the other ingredients in your skincare products, I hear you ask? Inactive ingredients are also important, they are often key in helping deliver active ingredients to your skin and can have nourishing, calming and cleansing properties. Examples of inactive ingredients include botanical extracts and water. 

The back of skincare product labels can be intimidating, but it’s a great idea to understand active ingredients so you can be aware what to look for when picking a product to target your specific skin concerns.

At Holy Grail, we’re all about simplifying skincare and creating products that you can trust to deliver results. All our products contain active ingredients proven-effective by science blended with 70% organic bases. Our formulas are intentional, meticulous and transparent.

We don’t believe in irritation, unnecessary ingredients, trends or gimmicks – we believe in confidence, self-belief and skincare that achieves that.

Discover our of efficacious skincare that targets multiple skincare concerns: 



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