A quick glance at the back label of any of your skincare products will tell you a lot about what is in your products and you would be surprised that they may contain a lot of different chemicals.

A study published by EWG reports that the average woman routinely uses 12 make-up products on their skin daily, which is a whopping 168 chemicals. But what are the most common ones?

And what effects do these chemicals have on the skin microbiome? In the list below, you can find the “Star Chemicals” of today’s skincare industry and their effect on the skin. Remember that these chemicals are only beneficial to you as they are compatible with your skin microbiome – so start by getting to know the skin you are in!

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid represents one of the fastest-growing trends in the cosmetic industry, also fuelled by the benefits that this acid has on chronic skin conditions and musculoskeletal pains. Naturally found in connective tissue, cartilages, and, in the highest quantities, in the skin (around 50% of the total amount), Hyaluronic acid is a natural ingredient that can yield unparalleled benefits to the skin.

Also known as hyaluronan, this acid comes as a gooey, colourless substance delivered in lotion formulas or as a serum.

Hyaluronic acid covers many important roles, including keeping the tissues lubricated, hydrated, moist, and elastic. As we age, the concentration and quantity of hyaluronic acid in the skin decreases, causing the skin to become drier, brittle, and prone to wounds and infections.

Today, this acid is used as a powerful active ingredient in moisturisers and serums that aim to increase the skin’s hydration, firmness, and youthfulness.

L-ascorbic Acid

L-ascorbic acid is one of the most common active ingredients in cosmetic products, and it is better known as Vitamin C, while you can find other Vitamin C derivatives in certain skincare products (such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate), L-ascorbic acid is the only Vitamin C derivative that is actually useful to the skin.

Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that the body needs to produce collagen, repair damaged tissue, and fight infections. When used in cosmetics, L-ascorbic acid acts as an antioxidant and repairs the cellular damage caused by free radicals. This active ingredient also promotes collagen production, thus making scars, wrinkles, and fine lines less visible.

You can commonly find L-ascorbic acid in personal care products that aim at making the skin look younger and firmer, including lotions and creams.

Copper Peptide

Reigning over the skincare market since 1997, Copper Peptide is considered to be one of the most powerful skin-restoring ingredients in the industry. It is used to increase the skin’s firmness, smoothness, and health. By encouraging the production of elastin and collagen in the skin Copper Peptides also regenerate the skin, reducing the visibility of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars.

Some more recent studies have also confirmed the protective power of Copper Peptides, which promote the body’s tissue-building processes. These ingredients also activate the skin’s systems responsible for getting rid of old skin cells, damaged elastin, and toxins offering anti-ageing results in less time than other skincare solutions.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a group of acids derived from plants and animals, which include:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Tartaric acid
  • Malic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Hydroxycaproic acid

You can commonly find AHAs in anti-ageing skincare products, including toners, lotions, chemical peel treatments, and serums. These acids are appreciated for their ability to exfoliate and brighten the skin. By promoting skin regeneration and collagen production, these acids can reduce the visibility of lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, irregular pigmentation, and age spots.

Alpha-lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) has been used in the healthcare and cosmetic industry since 1959, and it is often referred to as  “the miracle in a jar”. This acid has powerful anti-ageing properties, that deliver unparalleled antioxidant effects. While it is naturally produced by the body in small quantities, it is recommendable to integrate it through your diet and skincare products to avoid deficiencies.

Thanks to the antioxidant effects of ALA, this acid can brighten the skin, improve texture, and make the skin look younger and firmer. While this acid is believed to provide the best protection against future free radicals damages, it can also repair past damage.

Alpha-tocopheryl Acetate (ATA)

Alpha-tocopheryl Acetate, simply known as ATA, is the best form of Vitamin E for skin absorption. You can find it on your skincare products’ labels as tocopheryl acetate, vitamin E acetate, or tocopherol acetate.

ATA has many properties, including the ability to increase the firmness and texture of the skin. However, this acetate is primarily appreciated for its antioxidant properties, which allow this chemical to prevent and repair the damage inflicted by UV rays, free radicals, stress, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking.

Star Chemicals and Your Skin Microbiome: What You Need To Know

The chemicals above, when applied mindfully, can help you regain and maintain skin health. However, each person’s skin microbiome is unique, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” to find a skincare solution.

So, before investing in skin care products, you should learn more about your skin microbiome with a Skin Trust Club test. With your results, you will also get personalised skincare suggestions to restore your skin’s beauty, health, and youthfulness.