we’ve all heard ingredients like antioxidants, retinol and hyaluronic acid are beneficial for the skin, but what do they actually do? understanding the difference between ingredients and how they affect your skin is critical when it comes to selecting products. also, never make a decision based on a marketing label. always check the ingredient list on the back- they’re listed in descending order starting with the largest amount in the product (usually water) to the least, so if a label promotes having a certain ingredient but it’s listed at the end, then not much of that ingredient is present

we’ve put together a cheatsheet of key ingredients to help you navigate the skincare aisle…

peptides: collagen is what keeps your skin thick and tight. however, your body stops producing it as you age, causing your skin to become thinner and wrinkled over time. as collagen begins to deteriorate, peptides send a “message” to your skin that it needs to generate more. when you apply peptides topically, you trick your skin into thinking it’s a collagen breakdown, triggering the production of new collagen. rylie swears by this moisturizer

 

antioxidants: your skin is constantly under attack by environmental aggressors such as pollution, smoke, and the sun. they increase the number of free radicals in the air, which leads to collagen & elastin breakdown- AKA accelerated aging. antioxidants, particularly vitamin C & E, are your greatest defense mechanism when it comes to protecting your skin against free radical damage *apply serum after toner while the skin is still damp, giving it 30-60 sec to absorb before moving on*

 

retinoids (retinol/retin-A): are derived from vitamin A and the #1 anti-aging ingredient on the market. they also fight acne, fade hyperpigmentation, and resurface the skin’s texture for a smooth, even-toned complexion. think of them as “cell communicators.” they stimulate the production of fresh, new skin cells and encourage aging/damaged cells to speed up their renewal process. however, they’re not designed for the faint-of-heart, so make sure you’re educated on how to use them before jumping the gun. you can  see a great explanation of what retinol is here as well as a vid on how to apply: here

 

hyaluronic acid: when it comes to hydration, hyaluronic acid is the gold standard. it’s a powerful moisture-binding acid that can hold 1,000x its weight in water to restore & replenish the skin. it’s found naturally in the human body, but starts to deplete with age, so it’s critical you’re implementing this ingredient into your routine *layer over an antioxidant serum*

 

AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids): are chemical exfoliants that work to remove the rough, surface layer of dead skin cells by speeding up the skin’s natural exfoliation process. if you aren’t doing anything to slough them off, they start to accumulate, resulting in a dull, lifeless complexion. the most common AHA’s include glycolic and lactic acid *apply 2-3x/wk post-cleansing*

 

BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids): are oil-soluble, meaning they’re able to penetrate into pores and dislodge buildup. this characteristic makes them ideal for those with oily skin types. they also exfoliate the dead skin cells on the surface, preventing future blockages. the most common BHA is salicylic acid, which is often used to treat acne. BHA’s are typically more beneficial in lower concentrations, so seeing salicylic acid listed toward the middle or end of the ingredient list is normal and even preferred

 

tea tree oil: is a great natural remedy for acne thanks to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. it can fight 27 of the 32 strains of bacteria that cause pimples. however, do not use it on its own as it’s too potent. we recommend finding a product that lists tea tree as an ingredient or diluting 2-3 drops in combination with other oils/your moisturizer