If you care about skincare like I care about skincare (which is, like, a lot), then you’re probably familiar with all or most of the ingredients on this list. But do you really know what they do and if they’re right for your skin? At The Everygirl, we’re big believers that just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean it’s right for you — that goes for diets, for fashion, and yes, for skincare. So here is everything you need to know about the most buzz-worthy ingredients of the year to help you decide whether or not these trends are worth the hype (and money).
So you’ve probably heard of AHAs and BHAs before, or at least have seen them on the bottle of your overnight mask or at-home peel. These popular ingredients are actually chemical exfoliants, called alpha hydroxy acids (typically “glycolic acid”) and beta hydroxy acids (typically “salicyclic acid”) — instead of sloughing away dead skin cells with manual exfoliation (think: that grainy face scrub you used in high school), it uses a chemical reaction. But polyhydroxy acid (PHAs) are the new chemical exfoliant in town. It has a larger molecule, making it gentler than its harsher cousins, AHAs and BHAs. Bonus: PHAs are also a humectant, meaning they attracts moisture to the skin while they exfoliate.
Try if: you want to try a chemical exfoliant but have sensitive skin.
Hyaluronic acid is another member of the acid family, but with very different purposes. The ingredient (also known as glycosaminoglycan) became famous for its ability to stop or prevent aging. This is because the body actually makes its own hyaluronic acid to lubricate connective tissues. As we age, our bodies make less hyaluronic acid, causing skin elasticity and hydration to dwindle overtime. The ingredient not only works wonders for anti-aging, but also for skin hydration by attracting moisture to the skin.
Try if: you have dry skin or want a gentle anti-aging product
CBD (aka cannabidiol) started trending in 2018, and with major beauty brands like Peter Thomas Roth and Josie Maran jumping on the CBD bandwagon, it’s not going anywhere in 2019. While there’s still limited research on the topic, CBD does have major anti-inflammation properties, as well as vitamins A, D, and E. Plus, skin inflammation is not only the cause of acne flare-ups or sensitive skin — it also causes premature aging, making anti-inflammation a key property in skincare. CBD might just be with the hype after all.
Try if: you have skin irritation like cystic acne or rosacea
OK, so maybe this is one you haven’t exactly heard about or seen on your skincare bottles, but you’ve probably heard of retinol, aka the super ingredient for major anti-aging, acne-reducing, and glow-boosting benefits that’s in everything from your facial oil to your eye cream. Bakuchiol is an ingredient derived from the psoralea corylifolia plant that has been shown to provide most of the same benefits as retinol, but without the harsh side effects (irritation, peeling, dryness).
Try if: you have sensitive skin or want a plant-based retinol alternative
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is in oranges, in broccoli, and in your skincare. It’s an antioxidant that regenerates the skin, shown to increase collagen production. As if that weren’t enough, the skin superstar has an enzyme called tyrosinase, which treats and prevents hyperpigmentation. As an antioxidant, it also protects against pollution and sun damage (though does not suffice as an SPF replacement!). Vitamin C can help repair free radical damage and brighten complexion. It’s generally safe and side effects are limited, but be picky about which products you depend on for your dose of vitamin C — not all are created equal, and oftentimes the vitamin C is absorbed by the formula and it never actually reaches the skin. Opt for powder formulas or high quality brands you trust.
Try if: you have hyperpigmentation or dark spots
That’s right, the ingredient found in the cult-classic toner you used as a pre-teen is back in style. Witch hazel is a plant with powerful medicinal properties, including benefits for skincare. The plant contains gallic acid, tannins, and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, and also works as an astringent to fight acne-causing bacteria and shrink pores. As a bonus, witch hazel also might help protect skin against sun damage — one study found that the ingredient helped neutralize harmful free radicals and prevented the spread of skin cancer cells.
Try if: you have skin irritation like redness, acne, eczema, or psoriasis.
Step aside rosehip — there’s a new oil in town and it’s good. Not only is this lightweight oil packed with antioxidants and omega fatty acids, but it also has a high concentrate of another superfood ingredient, vitamin C — you’re basically getting a two-for-one deal. It doesn’t clog pores or irritate skin, and it’s anti-microbial so it can help kill acne-causing bacteria. Basically, it boosts glow, fights aging, hydrates skin, and doesn’t clog pores — what can’t this oil do?
Try if: you have dry or sallow skin or are looking for an oil that’s good for oily or sensitive skin