Decoding Skincare Ingredients

Shopping around for organic skincare? There are some power-packed natural alternatives to the synthetic stuff.

In the world of skincare, staying on top of the latest ingredient trends is like navigating a maze of options, each promising different benefits. The choices can be overwhelming. But fear not, because we're here to decode some of the most common skincare ingredients, exploring what they are, where they're found and if there are natural alternatives.

Whether you're a seasoned skincare enthusiast or a curious newcomer, get ready to discover the wonders of botanical beauty and the power of natural skincare ingredients. Let's dive in and demystify the world of skincare, one ingredient at a time.

First up: Hyaluronic Acid

What it is:

Hyaluronic acid is widely used in skincare formulations, ranging from moisturisers and serums, to masks and treatments. It’s definitely the ‘cover girl,’ of the beauty industry, lauded for its ability to plump up fine lines and wrinkles. Over time it’s certainly earned a sterling reputation for getting the job done, and in record time. However, there is a catch – one that proponents of organic skincare can’t overlook, and it has everything to do with how it is produced.

How it’s made:

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the human body, particularly in the skin, joints, and connective tissues. Known for its ability to attract and retain moisture, it plays a vital role in maintaining skin hydration, elasticity, and suppleness.

Conventionally, to produce hyaluronic outside of the human body, it is extracted from rooster combs or synthesised through bacterial fermentation in laboratory settings. While these methods do the job, they are a no-no for conscious consumers who are on the lookout for truly organic and cruelty-free skincare.

The natural alternative: Prickly Pear

Prickly pear holds a remarkable secret within its fleshy pads: it’s nature's version of hyaluronic acid. Rich in moisture-binding compounds and antioxidants, prickly pear extract is one of our favourite natural wonders and works tirelessly to replenish moisture levels, restore elasticity, and leave the skin feeling supple and looking radiant. Look no further than the desert’s most resilient species of flora for a natural alternative to hyaluronic acid.

You’ll find it in The Inlight Beauty Eye Serum.

Next on the list is Alpha Hydroxy Acids

What they are:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are a group of acids extracted from various sources such as sugar cane, fruits, sour milk, apples, grapes etc. Some of the most common AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and citric acid. When applied to the skin, AHAs work by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells, making it easier for the skin to regenerate itself and leaving behind a brighter, smoother complexion.

How they’re made:

While AHAs have been used for decades as the extracts of choice for global skincare brands, they don’t quite make the cut when it comes to what conscious consumers envision for the future of skincare.

Why? First off, chemically produced AHAs may involve the use of synthetic ingredients or harsh chemicals in the manufacturing process. Secondly, the production of chemically synthesised AHAs may involve processes that are harmful to the environment, such as the release of pollutants or reliance on non-renewable resources. Thirdly, vegan skincare enthusiasts may have ethical objections to the use of animal-derived ingredients such as milk and may prefer plant-based, natural alternatives.

The natural alternative: Hibiscus Extract

The good news is that there are plenty of natural alternatives that tick all the boxes, because when it comes to sustainable, ethically produced, organic and vegan skincare, how an ingredient is produced is just as important as where it’s found or what it is.

Stealing the spotlight is none other than hibiscus extract – a botanical powerhouse renowned for its many skincare benefits. Rich in natural AHAs, including citric, malic, and tartaric acids, hibiscus extract offers gentle yet effective exfoliation, making it an invaluable ingredient in skincare formulations. Its antioxidant properties help combat free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and protect the skin from environmental damage. With regular use, hibiscus extract improves overall skin texture and tone, diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

You’ll find it in The Inlight Beauty Flower Feast Facial Steam.

Let’s dive right into Niacinamide

What it is:

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a versatile and widely used ingredient in skincare products due to its numerous benefits for the skin. Some of these benefits include improving skin texture, reducing inflammation, minimising pore appearance and brightening the complexion.

How it’s made:

Niacinamide is found in a range of food products and can also be synthesised for use in skincare products. Some of the most common food sources of Niacinamide include meat (chicken, turkey, beef and pork), fish (tuna and salmon), legumes (peanuts, lentils and peas) and whole grains (wheat, barley and oats).

While many beauty aficionados swear by the efficacy of Niacinamide, research has shown that it’s not always a 100% skin-loving ingredient. Experts have warned that using Niacinamide in high concentrations can lead to skin irritation and redness, particularly in sensitive areas like the delicate skin around the eyes. Also, individual factors such as genetic predispositions and skin sensitivity can play a significant role in determining how much Niacinamide is simply too much.

The natural alternative: Green Tea

People with sensitive skin do have options though, and one of them is none other than green tea. Picture this vibrant elixir as a superhero for your skin! Bursting with antioxidants, green tea extract shields the skin from environmental villains like pollution and UV rays. But that's not all – this mighty extract also doubles as a soothing sidekick, calming inflammation and quelling redness like a zen master in a teacup.

You’ll find it in The Inlight Beauty Face Cleanser (and Skincare Essential Set).

What about Retinol?

What it is:

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is commonly used in skincare products. It belongs to a group of compounds known as retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A. Retinol is prized for its ability to promote skin renewal, improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and enhance overall skin radiance.

How it’s made:

Retinol can be produced synthetically or derived from national sources, although the majority of retinol found in skincare products is synthesised in laboratories. Regular use of synthetic retinol has been linked to dryness, peeling of the skin, itching and irritation. People with problem-prone skin such as acnea, eczema, and rosacea may see symptoms worsen with the use of such synthetics. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation sun exposure may also worsen some of the drying and irritating effects of retinol.

Of course, for those who believe in the effectiveness of organic skincare, synthetic ingredients are not the go-to, once again nature does have an alternative.

The natural alternative: Cacay Oil

Cacay oil has gained attention over the last decade for its natural retinol content, offering a gentle yet effective alternative to synthetic skincare ingredients. Derived from the seeds of the cacay tree, this oil is prized for its ability to promote skin renewal and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

With its potent blend of vitamins and antioxidants, cacay oil nourishes and rejuvenates the skin, leaving it smooth, supple, and radiant. As a natural source of retinol, cacay oil offers skincare enthusiasts a gentle yet powerful solution for addressing signs of ageing, without the need for harsh chemicals or synthetic additives. Yes please!

You’ll find it in The Inlight Beauty Neck Firming Serum.

Last but not least – Squalene

What it is:

Squalene is a natural organic compound – a type of lipid that is known in the world of skincare for its moisturising and antioxidant properties. Squalene helps to hydrate and protect the skin by forming a protective barrier that locks in moisture and shields against environmental stressors. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory benefits and may help to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.

How it’s made:

Squalene is abundant in certain animal sources, such as shark liver oil, where it serves as a storage form of energy. However, due to ethical and sustainability concerns associated with shark harvesting, squalene used in skincare products is often derived from plant-based sources. These plant-derived sources provide a cruelty-free and sustainable alternative to traditional animal-derived sources of squalene.

The natural alternative: Olive Oil

Did you know that your favorite cooking companion, olive oil, is also a superstar in the world of skincare? Olive oil is packed with squalene and is known for its hydrating and antioxidant properties, leaving your skin feeling soft, smooth, and oh-so-happy.

You’ll find it in The Inlight Beauty Body Oil with Arnica.