Taking good care of your skin is essential to maintain a youthful and healthy complexion that will stand the test of time.

However, with so many different products out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right ones for your skin type. From antioxidants to retinol, every skincare ingredient offers different benefits and addresses different skin care concerns.

In this article, we will guide you through the world of skincare ingredients-Breaking down the benefits, providing suggestions for use, how to pair ingredients together, as well as share some of our favorite brands and products.

*Please discuss with your dermatologist before use*

Hyaluronic Acid

Hailed as a skincare superstar, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in our skin that plays a crucial role in maintaining hydration and suppleness.

In your skincare routine, hyaluronic acid acts as a powerful humectant, attracting and retaining moisture. In fact, hyaluronic acid can hold up to one hundred times its weight in water. This means when applied topically, it acts like a sponge, drawing moisture and binding it into the skin resulting in a plump, dewy complexation. And ultimately reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Which we also love.

Hyaluronic plays well with others and can paired with most other ingredients. It has a lightweight texture and is non-comedogenic making it suitable for all skin types and is even safe to use during pregnancy.

With its impressive hydrating power, hyaluronic acid stands as a versatile asset in any skincare regimen.

Skin concerns: fine lines and wrinkles | dryness | dullness

Pairs well with: Vitamin C | AHAs/BHAs | Retinols & Retinoids

Routine: AM or PM

Our Picks: La Roche Posay | Peter Thomas Roth | The Ordinary

Vitamin C

When it comes to skincare ingredients, few rival the transformative power of Vitamin C. This potent antioxidant is a necessity for a radiant complexation. It gives you that glow we all have on our Pinterest boards.

Vitamin C has an extensive list of benefits – It’s a powerhouse against free radicals, effectively protecting your skin from environmental damage and premature aging, it brightens and evens dull complexion, promoting radiant, even-toned glow, as well as boosts collagen, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

An important factor to consider when choosing a Vitamin C product is its packaging. Vitamin C is an unstable molecule that is sensitive to light and oxygen, causing it to oxidize and render the product ineffective. It is best to select a vitamin C product that is packaged in an airtight tube.

Some skin types may experience mild irritation, so it is always wise to patch-test before full application. It’s also essential to wear SPF when incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine to enhance the brightening results.

For optimal vitamin C use, consider using this ingredient in your AM skincare routine to help combat environmental stresses throughout your day.

Skin concerns: dark spots | dullness | loss of firmness | fine lines & wrinkles

Pairs well with: hyaluronic acid | niacinamide | SPF

Don’t use in the same routine as: AHAs/BHAs | Retinols & Retinoids

Routine: AM

Our Favorite Picks: Sunday Riley | Cerave | The Inky List


You may have heard of both terms retinoid and retinol thinking they are the same thing. They are indeed similar in a sense that they are both derived from vitamin A, but the difference lies in the intensity. Retinoids tend to describe more powerful prescription products, whereas retinol can be bought over-the-counter at your local drugstore.

Retinoids/retinol promote cell turnover which stimulates collagen production, effectively reducing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improving skin texture and tone, making them an absolute must in the fight against aging. These two ingredients have the unique ability to unclog pores and regulate oil production, making them a go-to for those battling breakouts.

Forewarning, when you first start using a retinol/retinoid dryness, redness, and peeling could occur. But do not fear, your skin will adapt and the results of the product will shine through. Pairing them with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid of ceramides help prevent potential irritation.

Due to the sensitivity to sunlight, when using a retinol/retinoid, it is important to apply sunscreen diligently to safeguard against increased sun sensitivity.

While retinol can provide great results, it is not for everyone and should be used with caution. As with any skincare, it is important to consult with your dermatologist to understand if retinol is right for you.  

Skin concerns: fine lines & wrinkles | loss of firmness & elasticity | uneven texture & tone

Pairs well with: Hyaluronic acid| ceramides & moisturizers | Niacinamide | SPF

Don’t use in the same routine as: AHAs/BHAs | Benzoyl Peroxide| Vitamin C

Routine: PM

Our Favorites: Cerave, Kiehl’s, Youth to the People


Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a versatile powerhouse in skincare. A true multitasker, this is a must in your routine.

When applied topically, niacinamide provides a wide range of benefits, from regulating sebum production to improving skin barrier and reducing inflammation. Due to these benefits, those with oily or acne-prone skin can really benefit from incorporating this into their skincare routine.

Since niacinamide assists in boosting collagen production, it helps to improve skin texture, fine lines & wrinkles, and minimize pores. According to CNN, niacinamide also “helps brighten and fade hyperpigmentation through the regulation of melanosome transfer.” What is it this product doesn’t do.

Niacinamide stands as a versatile and invaluable addition to any skincare routine, ultimately leading to a more healthy, balanced complexation.

Skin concerns: oiliness | redness | dark spots | fine lines & wrinkles | dullness

Pairs well with: hyaluronic acid | vitamin C

Don’t use in the same routine as: AHAs/BHAs

Routine: AM/PM

Our Favorites: Natrium | La Roche-Posay | The Ordinary


AHAs and BHAs, also known as alpha-hydroxy-acid and beta-hydroxy acids, are chemical exfoliates that work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, revealing glowy, youthful skin. These two ingredients have become very popular in skincare routines due to their wide range of benefits that lead to youthful and radiant skin.

Alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids are the same in the fact that they are both acids that exfoliate the skin, and although one is no better than the other, they do target different skin needs –

  • AHAs are water-soluble acids that reduce fine lines and wrinkles and brighten the complexion. Derived from fruits and milk, this is a naturally occurring ingredient that targets the skin’s surface, treating issues such as fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, and dullness. Common AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
  • BHAs are oil-soluble acids that penetrate deeper into your skin helping to unclog pores and preventing future breakouts. Salicylic acid is a common BHA that also helps with inflammation, making this a perfect ingredient for those with congested and acne-prone skin.

When introducing AHAs and BHAs into your skin routine, it is important to start slowly to give your skin time to acclimate. Since these acids can increase sun sensitivity, use them in your evening skincare routine and always wear your SPF. No like really. ALWAYS.

*As always, everyone’s skin is different. Please discuss with your dermatologist before use*

Skin concerns: dullness | uneven skin tone & texture | breakouts | inflammation

Pairs well with: Hyaluronic acid | moisturizers & ceramides | SPF

Don’t use in the same routine as: Niacinamide | Retinol

Routine: PM

Our Favorites: The Ordinary | Some By Mi | Corsx

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid, a newer ingredient on the scene as of recently, is a naturally-occurring substance that is becoming a true game-changer in skincare. Derived from grains such as barley, wheat, and rye, this dicarboxylic acid is known for its multi-tasking benefits.

With its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, azelaic acid helps to reduce redness, control breakouts, and even out skin tone, making this ingredient effective in treating acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation.

Azelaic acid is a testament to the power of natural compounds in skincare. Incorporating this ingredient into your skincare routine can help you achieve a smoother, clearer, and more radiant complexion. 

Skin concerns: dullness | uneven skin tone & texture | breakouts | redness & inflammation

Pairs well with: Niacinamide | Hyaluronic acid

Don’t use in the same routine as: Benzoyl peroxide | AHAs BHAs | Vitamin C | Retinol/Retinoid |

Routine: AM/PM

Our Favorites: The Ordinary | Some By Mi | Corsx

Benzoyl Peroxide

In the quest for clear, blemish-free skin, finding effective ingredients is key. This is where benzoyl peroxide comes in. A potent ingredient that has long been a staple in the battle against acne.

Benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound with powerful antimicrobial properties. It works by penetrating skin and releasing oxygen, which kills the bacterial that cause our dreaded breakouts. It also has exfoliating properties that help to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and prevent future breakouts.

When incorporating this ingredient into your skincare routine, start with lower concentrations (2.5% – 5%) to minimize risk of irritation. Benzoyl peroxide is commonly found in cleansers, spot treatments, and leave-on formulations. Consider using a moisturizer to keep skin hydrated.

As always, everyone’s skin is different. Consult with a dermatologist before use.

Skin concerns: acne & breakouts

Pairs well with: Niacinamide | Hyaluronic acid | SPF

Don’t use in the same routine as: AHAs BHAs | Vitamin C | Retinol/Retinoid |

Routine: AM/PM

Our Favorites: PanOxyl | Paula’s Choice | CeraVe


Ceramides play a crucial role in maintaining healthy, resilient skin. These lipid molecules fortify the skin barrier by fighting external aggressors such as pollution and UV rays, contributing to a complexion that’s not only beautiful but also fundamentally strong.

Ceramides are a class of lipids, or fatty molecules, that are naturally present in the outermost layer of the skin. Making up of about 50% of the skin barrier, ceramides maintains its integrity by creating a protective shield that retains moisture, wards off environmental stressors, and prevents the intrusion of harmful microorganisms.

For the best results, apply ceramide-infused products as part of your daily skincare routine especially after cleansing and before applying sunscreen. Ceramides are commonly found in moisturizers, creams, and serums and are suitable for all skin types.

Skin concerns: acne & breakouts

Pairs well with: anything

Don’t use in the same routine as: generally well-tolerated with most skincare ingredients

Routine: AM/PM

Our Favorites: Farmacy | Dr.Jart | rhode skin


The world of skincare ingredients is vast and ever-evolving. There are a variety of ingredients that help address a range of skin concerns, however, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is unique and what works for one, may not work for another. 

It is always a good idea to consult with a skincare professional before incorporating new ingredients into your routine. 

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