8 Need-to-Know Beauty Ingredients

Have you ever looked at the label on some of your beauty products? It’s a veritable rabbit hole of words that make absolutely no sense, right? Don’t you think you should know what you’re putting on your skin? Here are some of the more widely used beauty ingredients, what they do and where you can find them. Read up and be a little more informed the next time you slather on a new product.


If you’ve spent much time looking at beauty products, you’ve heard of retinol — it’s basically the star of the antiaging show. This vitamin A derivative is known for reversing the signs of aging, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and speeding up skin renewal. Need a retinol fix, pronto? You’ll find it in a wide variety of creams, moisturizers and serums — especially those that tout antiaging abilities.

More: The 7 Best Sunscreens That Won’t Break You Out


Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B3 that’s found in many foods, but it’s also added to some beauty products thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation and acne and is favored by manufacturers because it doesn’t have a long list of unfortunate side effects. Niacinamide is widely used in serums and anti-acne creams, but can also be found in some oral supplements.


Your beauty regime could get a boost from a biotin-rich multivitamin. A daily dose containing biotin, collagen, and other vitamins and minerals may help support healthy hair, strong nails, and rejuvenated skin.


AHA, also known as alpha hydroxy acids, are naturally occurring acids used in a ton of beauty products. They remove the top layer of skin cells, making them pretty effective at treating a wide range of conditions like acne and acne scars, dry skin and skin darkening. They also help to firm and smooth skin. Since it addresses a variety of conditions, you’ll find it in a variety of products, including lotions, creams, serums and toners.


You know how we keep hearing that wine might actually be good for you? That’s because of an antioxidant from the red grapes called resveratrol — and it turns out it’s also good for your face. Not only does it block free radicals and UV rays, it also stimulates collagen production and speeds up healing thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. So it effectively keeps damage out and repairs damage you’ve already done. Yes, please! If you’re not getting enough resveratrol from your wine intake, try grabbing a moisturizer that contains this wonder ingredient.

More: 8 Real Moms on the One Beauty Necessity They Won’t Give Up


BHA is also known as beta hydroxy acid or salicylic acid. It’s an anti-inflammatory, which is no big surprise since it’s a derivative of aspirin. It works both on the surface of the skin and within the pores, making a great gentle exfoliant and acne treatment. Not only does it treat existing acne, but it does its real magic deep within the pores. BHA can neutralize bacteria before it has a chance to develop into zits, meaning it’s actually pretty effective at preventing acne too. Since it can be drying, it’s best for those with oily skin. You’ll find it in many masks and cleansers and even some medicated hydrating creams.

Hydraulic acid

Hydraulic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in our body, and it does wonderful things — like holding onto moisture — making your skin look smoother, brighter, healthier and even younger. It’s also gentle on all skin types (since it’s already naturally occurring in our bodies), meaning just about anyone can use it. As we get older, our skin loses some of it’s natural ability to hold onto moisture (hello, dry skin after 30!), so adding extra hydraulic acid into your beauty routine is a must. Hydraulic acid can be used as an injectable filler, but those looking for a less drastic solution can find it in serums and solutions.


Ceramides are another naturally occurring chemical in our bodies, this time as a lipid (or fat) that helps make up the outer layer of the skin. That outer layer forms a barrier that locks moisture in, but can become damaged from sun, age or irritation. Once it’s damaged, moisture escapes — leaving you looking a bit on the dry side. Applying products with ceramides can help replenish and repair that barrier, giving you softer, hydrated, younger looking skin. Sound like something you need right away? Find it a wide variety of moisturizers.

More: 7 Best Setting Sprays to Keep Your Makeup From Melting Off

Now that you know what some of the more common ingredients are in your beauty products, decide which ones you need and seek them out in the beauty aisle. All those high-dollar products aren’t going to do you a bit of good if you’re not buying what you need, so shop smart — and look great.

This post was sponsored by Nature’s Way Alive!®.


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