The Colour of Skin

The Low Down on the Active Ingredients in Skin Care

Vitamins, acids, peptides, green tea, etc. Do you really know what all of the stuff in the skin care products you use does?

Here's a list of the most common ingredients you'll find on the labels of products for topical use, and how they're beneficial. Knowing this may help you figure out the best products to use for your unique skin.

skin care resurfacing


A - Believed to be able to repair collagen and elastin, both vital to maintaining smooth and wrinkle-free skin. Also contains exoliating properties. It is a common ingredient in products used to treat acne.
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A.

B - Assists in maintaining a healthy tone. Some common forms of Vitamin B include Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin (Nicotinic Acid, Niacinamide), and Pantothenic Acid.

C - This can also be listed as ascorbic acid. Considered on of the best antioxidants, Vitamin C helps protect against destructive free radicals, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and may also repair sun damaged skin. It facilitates the production and stabilization of collagen.

E - Has antioxidant properties and fights against inflammation. Because it promotes moisture retention, it can make the skin soft and supple. It also protects the skin from harmful effects of the sun and may treat sunburns. Some believe that Vitamin E may improve the appearance of scars (particularly resulting from acne), stretch marks, and hyperpigmentation.


Copper Peptides - Peptides (small proteins) bound to copper create a key ingredient in several skin care products. Beneficial for tissue regeneration, copper peptides help with healing and improve the quality of the skin by regenerating collagen and elastin. It has also been found to increase the skin's defense against damage caused by oxidation. Commonly found in products that are designed to treat sun damaged skin, acne and psoriasis.

Zinc - Another antioxidant, zinc is believed to help prevent the development of scars and assists in wound repair. It plays an important role in acne treatment, since it regulates the production of sebum.


Alpha Hydroxy (AHAs) - Derived from food, AHAs have been found to reduce superficial wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, as well as clean out blocked pores by acting on skin cells. It is an exfoliant that is commonly included in products designed to treat acne. Acids in this family include glycolic, malic and lactic.

Amino - Acts as a water-binding agent to promote moisture retention.


Aloe Vera - Used for years as a treatment for several skin problems, including infections, burns and wounds. Has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Research has found that aloe vera stimulates skin fibroblasts (cells that form collagen).

Cucumber - Some believe that cucumber has anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to soothe the skin.

Green Tea - An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Helps to tighten pores and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and puffiness.

Seaweed - Believed to be an antioxidant. A popular emollient that softens the skin and promotes moisture retention.


Kinetin - Also known as N-6 furfuryladenine, kinetin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that is often found in products designed for sensitive skin. It reduces wrinkles and fine lines.