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How To Incorporate Active Ingredients Into Your Skincare Routine

Is your skincare routine not giving you the results that you need? It may be time to add some active ingredients into your beauty arsenal. Most people religiously stick to their skincare routine as a survey reveals that 97 percent of consumers continue to use the same number of skincare products over the last six months. However, 71 percent of consumers say that their skin care needs are not being met. If you can relate, you probably need to try some next level products with stronger, more effective ingredients that can clarify, smoothen, or plump up your skin.

Most people are wary about using active ingredients like Vitamin C, retinol, alpha-hydroxy acid and niacinamide for fear of having a bad reaction to them. While some ingredients may cause redness, irritation, or sun sensitivity, you can easily reduce or prevent them by using actives the right way. Here's how to incorporate active ingredients into your skincare routine for better and healthier skin.

Start with Gentle Products

If you're worried about skin irritation, start with a gentle active ingredient first before moving on to stronger actives. For instance, if your skin is stressed and looks dull and dry, you may not need acids to correct your complexion. Using a gentle antioxidant to replenish and brighten skin tone, such as niacinamide, may be enough to improve your complexion without peeling or redness. Niacinamide is gentle and it helps to control excessive oiliness, fades hyperpigmentation, strengthens the skin barrier, and it gives skin a beautiful glow. Experts highly recommend it for its ability to address a wide range of skin concerns. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Adeline Kikam says that it is most effective in reducing pore size since it regulates excess sebum production. “All skin types can benefit from niacinamide, especially oily and acne-prone skin and those with rosacea and uneven complexion,” she adds.

Low levels of niacinamide can be found in lots of skincare products, so consider adding this ingredient into your routine by switching to a niacinamide-enriched facial wash or toner. If you want to try a higher dose of it, try using a niacinamide serum or cream.

Know Which Ingredients to Avoid

Although most active ingredients are safe to use, there are some that you'll have to avoid, depending on your health or skin condition. For instance, if you have rosacea or sensitive skin, you may want to avoid using products with Vitamin C since it can irritate your complexion. Vitamin C is a top notch ingredient for brightening, but niacinamide, alpha arbutin, and azelaic acid can give the same results without drying out or irritating your skin.

Meanwhile, if you're pregnant or lactating, you'll need to skip products containing retinol or retinoids. These active ingredients can make skin smoother and appear more youthful, but research suggests that they may be unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose warns women to be cautious with these ingredients while they're expecting. “We know that ingredients applied to the skin have the potential to be absorbed into the bloodstream and passed to the baby through the placenta,” she said.

Know the Right Active Ingredient Combinations

Some people use multiple active ingredients in the hopes of improving their skin. However, one active can cancel out the skincare benefits of another ingredient, while some active ingredients don't mix well with others. Some actives that play well together are Vitamin C, which clarifies and brightens skin, and Vitamin E, which nourishes and hydrates. Meanwhile, retinol and hyaluronic acid work well together to improve skin texture and hydration.

Application also matters if you're looking to improve your skin with actives. If you're using intense exfoliators like glycolic acid, use it on its own and only apply it to your skin three to four times a week to prevent irritation. Also, if you're unsure how to layer your products, try using one ingredient in the morning, and another at night and observe how your skin reacts to them.

Active ingredients can improve your complexion in different ways, so it's important to do your research before using them. If you're unsure about which actives to use, consult a dermatologist, and use them as directed for the best results.