The Good, The Bad and The Downright Ugly of Skincare Ingredients

I find skincare ingredients really interesting, I always try to research a product really well first before buying to find what ingredients they include as there are are some particular nasties that you really want to avoid but there are also some other really good ingredients that you want your skincare to include. But I know that this can be really daunting sometimes for people who aren't massively clued up on what certain ingredients can work well with their skin and vice versa so as this is something that really interests me I wanted to bring you a little makeshift guide that could possibly help you when choosing your skincare items. I have dry/dehydrated skin so this post is mainly aimed more around this type of skin as I these are the ingredients that I always try to avoid or include in my products. Now this is going to be a pretty lengthy post, so before you continue reading I suggest you go get yourself a cuppa and get comfy.

So firstly, the goodies. These are the ingredients that I always like to see in my skincare products:

Hyaluronic Acid, now I know what you're thinking. Acid? Why on earth would I put acid on my face. Well I'll tell you, Hyaluronic Acid is actually a natural substance within our bodies so our skin is actually a lot more willing to soak it up as it sees it as a friend rather than a foreign substance. It helps towards cell renewal and maintains the skin moisture level as it acts as almost a moisture barrier for the skin. Thus making it a lot smoother, softer and plumper. One of my current favourite products that contains Hyaluronic Acid is the This Works No Wrinkles Wonder Essence.

Glycolic Acid, yep another acid. You're probably thinking this woman is stupid, she already has dry and sensitive skin, why would you put acid onto your face. But Glycolic Acid is really good for your skin, if you have ever heard of AHA's then this acid falls into this bracket. It's an active ingredient and can actually be found in a range of different products but my favourite product containing this is the Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads. The acid itself is a chemical exfoliator which works really well for my skin, manual exfoliators such as facial scrubs that contain the little beads are too harsh on my skin to use everyday which is why I much prefer these little pads. It just helps to remove that top layer of dead skin cells from your face to reveal a fresher and healthier glow to your skin.

Vitamin C, this is one of those ingredients that whether used on it's own or in a cocktail of ingredients it will always only ever be beneficial to the skin. Obviously there are other vitamins, such as a and e but this is by far my favourite. It has so many benefits to the skin, it reduces sun damage, helps to boost and promote collagen, soothes and reduces redness and any inflammation or irritation to the skin and just boosts your skins natural defences against the likes of polllution and uv exposure. One of my favourite products containing Vitamin C is the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel.

Rosehip Oil, this is a completely natural ingredient that has many different benefits. The main reason why I love this oil so much is because of it's nourishing and rehydrating properties, it's super soothing on the skin and also helps to fight many different signs of aging. You can use Rosehip Oil for all sorts of different needs, you can use it in your hair, on dry cuticles, cracked heels and the lips as it's just so effective on dry skin. One of my favourite products containing this ingredient is the Sarah Chapman Morning Facial.

As well as these ingredients there are also Ceramides, Peptides, Retinols, Essential Oils, Lavendar, Aloe Vera, Cucumber, Coconut Oil and Butter, Witch Hazel...the list goes on. I could honestly spend all day talking you through the different ingredients that I like to use, but in all honesty if I did that we would be here all day and I need to move on to other ingredients. So next up, here are the ingredients that I call bad but aren't necessarily damaging to the skin, I just prefer to avoid because they aren't that great for my dry skin:

Surfactants, these are pretty much the ingredients used to make a product foam up. They can be found in skincare, haircare, bodycare, laundry products, washing up liquid...the list goes on. The only reason that I don't like to see these in my skincare is because foaming products dry my skin out even more than usual. They aren't particularly harmful but just don't work well with my skin type. 

Salicylic Acid, this is just another chemical exfoliant, which don't get me wrong I am all for chemically exfoliating products but I just find this too harsh on my skin. It's just that little bit too strong for me, I know a lot of people like to use this ingredient if they have heavy acne with black or white heads which I am lucky enough to not suffer with a great deal. For my exfoliating products I like them to be pretty mild and just help to remove the dead skin like the Glycolic Acid. I have tried out a couple of products containing this ingredient with the hope that they may work but all it does it make my sensitive skin even more sensitive.

Benzoyl Peroxide, this ingredient is mainly used in the treatment of acne. As the name would suggest it contains peroxide which is pretty hefty stuff. It can bleach clothes so imagine what it is doing to your face. Now don't get me wrong I am sure this ingredient is very effective at treating acne type skin complaints but for my dry skin all it does is dry it out even more. 

With like the good ingredients there are other ingredients here that I haven't mentioned that I also don't like to use on my face but I can't unfortunately list every single on. I have mentioned the three main ones above which don't react well with my skin and these are the ones I always try to avoid.

So now onto the ingredients that I believe really aren't great for any skin type, whether it's dry, sensitive, combination or oily. Now this is only my personal opinion so please don't take it as gospel as I just wanted to mention them:

Fragrances, now I am just as much of a sucker for an orange scented facial cream than the next person but actually when it comes down to it fragrances really aren't that great for skin. Fragrances often affect the skin and cells that are below the top surface, so you may be thinking well my skin has never reacted badly to a heavily scented product, think again. Any irritation can cause collagen to breakdown and also affects your skin in the way of self healing. For example pollution and sun damage, our skin is constantly working to heal the damage that these environmental factors cause to our skin and fragrances can stop our skin from doing this. Also, you have to ask yourself this. If a product smells like chocolate there are no natural ingredients that are going to create this scent so heavily, so a brand has obviously pumped a load of nasties into the product to give it that scent. 

Alcohol, a lot of people just avoid this if they have dry skin but I personally believe that no skin type can benefit from having alcohol applied to it. Now I know what you're probably thinking, alcohol is used to clean wounds so how damaging can it possibly be. Very. Alcohol is used in skincare products for many different reasons, but the main one being it helps other good ingredients to sink into the skin by breaking down the skins natural barriers. Which in the short term is great because your skin is getting those all important vitamins but in the long term it is harming the natural make up of your skin. To combat this, I always try to avoid any product containing alcohol and to ensure the good ingredients that I want in my skin to sink in is by applying a sealing product on top. So for example when applying a serum, I apply an oil on top of that and then a moisturiser on top of my oil, which yes may be a little excessive but in the long run your skin will thank you for it. 

Parabens, these are the things that are used in cosmetics to make them last longer. Which actually makes sense because without parabens our most beloved cosmetic items would become infested with bacteria, however you have to think well actually why would I want to use a product that is being extended by a chemical. I would rather buy a product and use within the expiration date and know there are no chemical nasties in there than use a product that has had it's life span extended by parabens. Does any of that make sense? 

Now I know it's not always possible to find skincare products that contain your favourite ingredients and that don't contain the nasties, there is always going to be some cross over, it's just about making an informed decision on your skincare and being aware of the ingredients that you're putting onto your face and into your bodies.

So these tend to be the rules and ingredients that I stick to with my skincare, however I am no expert so if you are actually really interested in the ingredients of a product or you have a certain skin complaint that you're not quite sure how to treat then always either consult your Doctor or see a Dermatologist for expert advice.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and din't get too bored by the length of it! 


  1. Benzoyl Peroxide's the only thing that works for my skin - but I know what you mean it can be a bit drying!


    1. It just goes to show how personal skincare is aswell xx

  2. Hyluronic Acid and Glycolic Acid are two skincare ingredients that make me add the product to my basket! I also agree on Aloe and Vitamin C :) I try to avoid alcohol as much as possible but sometimes I'm fine with it if there's only a very small amount. I agree it's a shame so many brands add irritating fragrances to otherwise good products. I actually really like salicylic acid, however I have very blemish-prone skin! I loved this post - so helpful and informative, I will definitely be bookmarking it to refer back to xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

    1. Oh good, I'm glad you liked it xx

  3. This was such a good and informative post! I used to be scared of anything with "acid" in the name, but my skin just loves hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid too.

    Kelsey | Beauty by Kelsey

  4. Such an informative post. I've just started using a Glycolic acid product and it's so good!