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From Antioxidants to Zinc Oxide : Making sense of skin care ingredients

Marianne Welch

Posted on August 15 2015

It can be confusing trying to keep track of skincare's latest "holy grail" ingredient or product. However, there are certain gold standard active ingredients that are effective and proven. We take a closer look at these and what they do for your skin.


Look for: Rose Hips Extract, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C

Antioxidants are substances that help prevent and repair damage to the body’s cells. They act as neutralizers of both internal factors (metabolism, stress) and external forces (pollution, sun damage, extreme temperatures, wind). 

Antioxidants slow, prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that start the oxidation process that leads to cell dysfunction. They are a major contributor to all visible signs of aging – including age spots, fine lines, sagging and wrinkles – of the skin.  Antioxidants help fortify cells against the damaging free radicals whilst encouraging cell and tissue growth.  Antioxidants also boast anti-inflammatory properties.
Key Antioxidants used as skin care ingredients include Vitamins A, C and E.  Vitamin A and Vitamin A derivatives are used to reduce age or sun spots (hyper-pigmentation) and help smooth the skin.   Vitamins C and E protect against sun damage and aid in improving skin tone and texture They help stimulate blood flow, thereby encouraging cell growth, and also work to boost the efficacy of sun protection products.  Vitamins C and E also help to restore hydration to skin and Vitamin C contains brightening properties.  Rose Hip extracts are a potent source of Vitamin C so look for this in serums and oils.


Look for : Glycolic Acid, Grapefruit Extract, Lactic Acid

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)  are a group of acids naturally derived from fruit or milk sugars.  AHAs are chemical exfoliants renowned for their ability to help promote cell turnover. 

AHAs slough away dulling buildup by “dissolving” dead skin cells that have accumulated over time. Regular use helps reveal a brighter, renewed complexion.   Over time, AHAs can help minimize age spots and discolouration, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and texture.


Collagen is a basic, non-water soluble protein strand made up of amino acids known for their primary role in maintaining elasticity and hydration of the skin. Collagen is the building block of youthful-looking skin.

Collagen breaks down and production decreases, causing skin to sag and wrinkle as we age. Use of collagen-based product assists the skin to retain natural levels of hydration as Collagen helps protect against moisture loss. 


Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring humectant that attracts and binds moisture into the skin.   Hyaluronic Acid is known for its intensely hydrating properties - think of it as a large glass of water for your skin.  It actually holds water at the cellular level of the skin to prevent dehydration and moisture loss. 
Hyaluronic Acid occurs naturally in the body and binds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, providing continuous moisture to the skin.  As Hyaluronic Acid levels depletes as we age, use of  products with Hyualuronic Acid is recommended for all skin types.


Look for : Palmitoyl Oligopeptide , Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-7



Zinc Oxide is a natural mineral with antibacterial properties that is used to heal, soothe and protect the skin. Crucially, Zinc Oxide blocks ultra violet light, making it a very effective physical sunscreen protecting skin against both UVA and UVB rays.

Zinc Oxide is the broadest spectrum UVA and UVB reflector  approved for use as a sunscreen and is completely photostable, so it remains unchanged when exposed to light. Zinc Oxide is often used with Titanium Dioxide to provide full broad spectrum coverage. 

Like Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide is a non-chemical SPF contributor that coats the skin to scatter UVA light.  Both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are  are considered to be non-irritating, non-allergenic, and non-comedogenic.  We recommend daily  use of a broad-spectrum high-performance mineral-based sunscreen as a critical step of all skin care regimens.  


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