The Right Actives For Every Skin Concern

Skincare Active Ingredients

Skincare industry has seen a huge change in the last decade. Brands are making skincare ingredients and actives accessible, and there’s a lot more information easily available as well. Our knowledge about vitamin C is no longer limited to food, and we resort to more than just a neem face wash to tackle acne and zits (salicylic acid, we’re looking at you). But just like most good things come with caveats, our widened exposure to the in-and-out of skincare ingredients could also be missing out on some incumbent details that might cause more harm than good. Sure, the colossal availability of products with target-specific ingredients may seem lucrative but high chances are that your skin doesn’t need everything that you can access.

It’s imperative to understand your skin type (and the exact concerns) and use only those ingredients that are essential, effective and safe when combined. Meet the perfect ingredient cocktail for your skin type as you scroll down.

Dry To Very Dry Skin


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Best-suited Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalene, vitamin E, rosehip oil and lactic acid.

While ceramides prevent water loss, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and vitamin E hydrate the skin.  Dr.Satish Bhatia, dermatologist, Mumbai, explains, “HA (hyaluronic acid) boosts moisture and improves treatment outcomes for patients with dry skin. Squalane, a natural emollient keeps dry patches and peeling at bay. Dry skin tends to slack when it comes to getting rid of dead skin cells, hence adding an exfoliant to your routine is helpful. Lactic acid is gentle and does the job without causing irritation.

Best Way To Use: Use a hydrating face cream with ceramides, HA, glycerin and vitamin E twice a day. You can also layer an HA serum. Exfoliate with lactic acid once or twice a week.

Note: Sensitive skin types might want to see how their skin reacts to lactic acid and use it accordingly. In an event of extreme redness, befriend aloe vera.

Oily Acne-Prone Skin

Best-suited Ingredients: Salicylic acid, kaolin clay, AHAs, BHAs, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and green tea.

Oily skin is often exposed to higher chances of developing acne. Why? Because the sebaceous glands produce excessive sebum which clogs the pores and leads to acne. The right ingredient mix for this skin type should help unclog the pores, control sebum production and deep cleanse without drying out skin. Salicylic acid, a type of BHA exfoliates the pores from a deeper level and also alleviates extra oil. Niacinamide helps to keep pore health in check. Dr Mikki Singh, head dermatologist at Bodycraft Skin Clinic says, “Niacinamide helps with oil and sebum control and salicylic acid helps tighten pores and reduce inflammation. Kaolin clay is immensely beneficial to soak up all the sebum and control it while offering deep cleansing.

Best Way To Use: Use salicylic acid twice to thrice a week to keep acne and blackhead in check. Use niacinamide serum with a lightweight moisturiser. A kaolin clay face mask can be used twice a week for glowing skin.

PS: Combination skin types can follow the same routine with slightly more hydrating moisturisers.

Ageing Skin

Best-suited Ingredients: Retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and ceramides.

Ageing is a natural process and you can only do so much to ensure that your skin is at its healthiest throughout the process. Dr Singh says, “Retinol and vitamin C are great for brightening your skin and making it look youthful”. It is an all-rounder when it comes to managing ageing skin. From controlling fine lines and wrinkles to fading dark spots, improving texture and promoting collagen production, retinol is a keeper. Peptides help bring life back to the skin by revitalising it and improving its barrier. Hyaluronic acid helps to maintain the plumpness and moisture of the skin. Vitamin C helps reduce hyperpigmentation and brighten the skin.

Best Way To Use: Use a vitamin C serum in the morning with copious amounts of moisturiser and SPF. Gradually include a mild retinol serum in the nighttime skincare routine. Start with once a week, and build up slowly.

Note: Do not use retinol and vitamin C together at the same time.


Best-suited Ingredients: Vitamin C, glycolic acid, niacinamide, kojic acid, hyaluronic acid.

 The sun rays are only getting harsher with each passing day and it goes without saying that the risk of exposure to hyperpigmentation is also increasing as a result. Discolouration and uneven skin tone have emerged as one of the most common concerns but there are some ingredients that can help you manage the problem.

Vitamin C is your best bet to fade away pigmentation and dark spots. Glycolic acid is great to get a bright and even skin tone. Niacinamide and kojic acid work efficiently to reduce brown spots. Hyaluronic acid’s capability to provide plump and radiant skin cuts down the dullness.

Best Way To Use: Use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid in the morning followed by a generous layer of SPF. Use glycolic acid twice a week. Make niacinamide a part of your nighttime skincare routine.

Note: Do not use niacinamide and glycolic acid with vitamin C at the same time.

Images: Instagram, Pexels

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