When you’re building a skincare regimen to address your unique skin health needs, it’s important to choose high-quality products with the right set of ingredients. Unfortunately, it seems like every product is bragging about an innovative formula or gold-standard ingredients, but if you’re not a scientist or dermatologist, how would you even know which products are right for your skin? In this blog, we describe some of the leading skincare ingredients and how they benefit the skin. A dermatologist can help you develop a personalized skincare routine, but these recommendations are a great place to get started.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are ingredients used in skincare products to promote the production of collagen and elastin, increase blood flow, improve the appearance of scars, correct skin discoloration, decrease fine lines and wrinkles, prevent or treat acne breakouts, and generally improve the brightness and health of the skin. Numerous forms of AHA are used in skincare products, including glycolic acid and lactic acid, which will be discussed in greater detail below. Typically used for the exfoliating benefits, AHA is often an active ingredient in exfoliating cleansers like the dermatologist-recommended SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. This unique formula exfoliates and deep cleans skin while providing advanced hydration and soothing skin.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a go-to acne-fighting skincare ingredient. This anti-bacterial ingredient decreases the number of bacteria on the skin, which reduces the risk of painful, inflammatory acne breakouts. It also reduces the production of the skin’s natural oil (sebum) to prevent breakouts before they begin. Certain types of benzoyl peroxide may also be used in treating rosacea symptoms under the guidance of a dermatologist.


Ceramides are a class of skincare ingredients used to repair the skin’s lipid barrier. This protective outer layer of skin is essential in moisture retention and preventing bacteria and germs from being absorbed, which leads to infection. A healthy lipid barrier is also essential in protecting skin from environmental damage that causes signs of aging, like fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. One of the best available ceramide products is the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2. This product combines 2% ceramides, 4% cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids to increase skin hydration and elasticity.

Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid is a powerful antioxidant ingredient derived from plants. This antioxidant protects against sun, pollution, and toxin damage. It also promotes the repair of damaged skin cells. Skin inflammation related to acne and other skin conditions may be soothed by skincare products that contain ferulic acid. Finally, ferulic acid may be used in combination with other antioxidants like vitamins C and E to boost the efficacy of these ingredients. This is the benefit of the powerhouse antioxidant serum, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a form of AHA derived from sugarcane. It offers exfoliating benefits that reduce dead skin cell buildup that leads to acne blemishes. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and hyperpigmentation. Because glycolic acid has the smallest molecular size of all AHAs, it’s the most easily absorbed into the skin and may work better. Additionally, the absorption of glycolic acid triggers collagen production to further increase skin smoothness. Some skin cleansing options that include glycolic acid to consider are the Pavise Gentle Amino Powerwash and SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid has become the go-to ingredient to promote skin hydration and elasticity. This substance naturally occurs in the body. It keeps eyes hydrated and provides lubrication to keep joints moving smoothly. When applied to the skin, hyaluronic acid attracts moisture and helps the skin retain moisture longer. Additionally, hyaluronic acid improves skin elasticity, allowing skin to stretch while retaining a plump, smooth, youthful appearance. Used as part of treatment for skin damage, hyaluronic acid promotes faster healing and reduces the risk of scarring. ALASTIN Skincare HA (Hyaluronic Acid) Immerse Serum is one of the most-recommended hyaluronic acid serums by dermatologists. This product delivers an immediate boost in skin hydration while delivering long-term results by increasing moisture retention and amplifying natural hyaluronic acid levels.


Hydroquinone is a prescription skin-bleaching ingredient that should only be used under the supervision of a dermatologist. It has been used for years to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone lightens dark spots and promotes a more even skin tone. It’s important to seek the guidance of a dermatologist when using hydroquinone products as this ingredient may lead to a skin condition called ochronosis when used for too long. This condition causes a dark blue or black pigmentation to develop in the treated area.

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is derived from fungi (mushrooms). While most acids work by dissolving skin cell bonds to exfoliate the dead cells and reveal healthier skin, kojic acid improves the health and appearance of skin by preventing UV damage. It blocks the production of excess melanin in the skin, which leads to dark spots and other forms of skin damage and aging. It also offers secondary anti-viral and anti-inflammatory benefits. Try SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense for brighter, more even-looking skin.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a form of AHA that promotes natural, gentle skin exfoliation to ensure dead skin cells are shed and healthy skin cells are revealed. As we age, skin cell turnover slows, creating more noticeable fine lines and wrinkles and a generally rough skin texture. Lactic acid accelerates skin cell turnover and improves the overall texture and appearance of skin. Additionally, lactic acid is part of the skin’s natural moisturization process, so this ingredient works to retain moisture and keep skin hydrated. The SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads are a great option with lactic acid that moisturizes while exfoliating the skin.


Niacinamide is a powerhouse ingredient for skincare and general health. Niacinamide is essential to ensure healthy cell function, and this ingredient is included in treatments for cancer, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. For skin health, niacinamide offers numerous benefits including:

  • Improving health and vitality of skin cells.
  • Repairing the skin’s lipid barrier to improve moisture retention.
  • Reducing the size of pores.
  • Balancing the production of the body’s natural sebum oil to ensure adequate moisture and prevent oiliness.
  • Creating an even skin tone by reducing redness and hyperpigmentation.
  • Protecting against oxidative damage from the sun’s UV rays, pollutants, and other environmental aggressors.
  • Decreasing the severity of acne, especially inflammatory acne.

There are many niacinamide products on the market, but one of the best is the Colorscience All Calm Multi-Correction Serum.  This niacinamide serum creates an even skin tone and delivers soothing skin hydration.


Retinol is a skincare ingredient derived from vitamin A. Retinols are used in antiaging products as well as acne treatments. Retinol products come in a range of over-the-counter concentrations. For those in need of stronger products, prescription-strength retinoids are available from a dermatologist. Retinols exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells. They also increase the production of collagen and elastin, leading to smoother and brighter skin tone and texture. One of the best retinol options is the Revision Skincare Retinol Complete 1.0. This product combines medical-grade retinol with soothing and hydrating ingredients to minimize potentially negative effects like irritation that may occur due to retinol use.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is part of a class of premium skincare ingredients called beta-hydroxy acids (BHA). These ingredients promote skin cell turnover by dissolving and gently removing dead skin cells to reveal healthy, new skin below. This mild exfoliant is highly effective while causing little to no skin irritation. It’s often recommended for people who have dry skin, acne, keratosis pilaris, and psoriasis. You can use salicylic acid on its own or in combination with AHAs, kojic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid to help soften and smooth skin. Try MD Skin Essentials Cleanse It, a creamy cleanser that harnesses the power of 3% colloidal sulfur, a non-irritating form of salicylic acid.

Understand Key Ingredients for Better Skincare

When you understand the ingredients of your skincare products, you can find a routine that keeps your skin healthy and beautiful. From addressing chronic skincare concerns to fighting the signs of skin aging, choosing the right skincare products is essential. The best skincare products start with quality ingredients formulated to deliver the desired results, so explore skincare products with some of the key ingredients in this blog to ensure your skin looks and feels its best.

Come Back to Visit Derm Skincare Regularly

Elevate your skincare game with these premium products. Explore our curated selection and find your perfect skincare match today. If you’re interested in learning more about skincare, we hope you’ll come back to read our blog regularly, and don’t hesitate to explore the Derm Skincare site to find out more about our dermatologist-recommended skincare products.