When you hear about ‘actives’ in skincare it is usually a reference to products which include a key ingredient that is scientifically is proven to ensure visible improvement in skin’s texture, clarity, and brightness. Whilst all the ingredients in a skincare formulation (should) have a purpose in one way or another, the ‘active’ ingredient is the one that achieves the desired results targeting a specific skincare issue. Here we break down the most common actives found in non-prescription skincare, and what they do: 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Alpha Hydroxy Acid’s (AHA’s) are derived from various plants that gently removes dead skin cells by breaking down the bonds between the cells and the fresh new skin underneath. AHA’s are humectant which means that they attract moisture to the skin and will exfoliate without drying. AHAs are primarily used for improving signs of fine lines, dry skin and an uneven skin tones. AHAs commonly used in skincare formulations include glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids which are suitable for use on sensitive skin. 

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) 

Beta Hydroxy Acid’s (BHAs) are a group of chemical exfoliants that are anti-inflammatory and oil-attracting. They cut through pore-clogging oils and clear blackheads, minimise large pores, and calm the skin. Salicylic acid and betaine salicylate are popular BHAs used to treat acne because they are anti-inflammatory and help minimise wrinkles and brighten the skin. BHAs are recommended for those who have acne-prone sensitive skin. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is powerful antioxidant which helps protect against harmful free radicals by neutralising them. Vitamin C is known for its firming and brightening benefits and its ability to reduce the appearance of age spots and sun-damage related hyperpigmentation. This incredible vitamin also helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors and sun damage. 

Hyaluronic Acid 

Hyaluronic Acid has the capacity to retain water and help regulate your skin’s moisture levels. It keeps your skin balanced and hydrated while strengthening the skins resilience to restore volume and fullness. Suitable for all skin types. 


Retinols work to rejuvenate the skin, speeding up the natural exfoliation cycle and signalling new cells to the skin’s surface. Retinol also promotes collagen production and  has the ability to improve the overall quality and appearance of the skin including evening skin tone, smoothing wrinkles and refining the appearance of pores. 


Ceramides are lipids naturally found in your skin. They form part of the skin’s natural barrier which helps protect against environmental stressors. Ceramides support moisture retention and repair to boost your skin’s suppleness as well as reducing fine lines ad wrinkles. 


Niacinamide, a form of niacin also known as Vitamin B3, is an essential nutrient which works to visibly reduce the appearance of large pores, regulate oil production, resurface and brighten the skin’s surface. It also boosts your skin’s ability to retain moisture while increasing the effectiveness of ceramides.

Shop our edit of products with Active Ingredients here.