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Active vs Inactive Ingredients in Skincare - What's the Difference?

Flat lay of skincare products in petri dishes

Pursuit of healthy skin and the best skincare routine is an ever-evolving adventure for many. At the beginning of this pursuit you probably asked yourself at least once what's a serum? It’s a formula that contains a high concentration of active ingredients, each addressing a specific skin concern. Active ingredients are the powerhouses of skincare products, but “silent” inactive ingredients also play an important role. In fact, their presence is necessary for optimal skincare efficacy. What’s the difference between them? Let’s find out.

Active Ingredients: The Bold and Potent

Think of active ingredients as bold, spotlight-stealing stars of your skincare routine. They are the key players that target specific skin concerns head-on, delivering powerful and immediate results. They are carefully formulated to address specific issues like acne, dark spots and fine lines, leaving you with a glowing and healthy complexion.  Here are some examples of active ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid - due to its extraordinary hydrating properties, benefits of hyaluronic acid are remarkable. In a nutshell, it draws in and locks moisture into your skin, keeping it plump, supple, and hydrated. Hyaluronic acid comes in several versions (depending on the molecule size), each providing different benefits for your skin. For example, FOREO’s SUPERCHARGED™ Serum 2.0 combines the benefits of 5 hyaluronic acids, making this formula a one-of-a-kind potent anti-aging infusion. Different molecular sizes penetrate to different levels of the skin. The smaller the molecule, the deeper it can dive into those hidden layers of skin and increase the effectiveness of the product. Retinol - this derivative of vitamin A is a true wrinkle-fighter and skin rejuvenator, stimulating collagen production and reducing the appearance of fine lines. For the delicate eye area, try IRIS™ Firming PM Eye Serum, a powerful yet gentle overnight eye serum with retinol and mushroom extracts. It helps firm the eye contour so you wake up with a visibly rejuvenated look every single day. Vitamin C - a potent antioxidant that brightens skin, fades dark spots, and shields your skin from harmful free radicals. Niacinamide - also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide, this water-soluble vitamin works with the natural substances in your skin to help improve the appearance of skin tone and texture.

Inactive Ingredients: The Quiet, Reliable Supporters

Don't let the term "inactive" fool you; those ingredients might not steal the spotlight, but they play an essential role in supporting the active ingredients and maintaining the overall health of your skin. They help deliver the active ingredients to the skin and amplify their performance, while providing vital nourishment, keeping it hydrated, soft and protected from external stressors. While active ingredients deliver immediate results, the supporting roles play the long game, ensuring your skin continues to flourish and maintain its newfound radiance over time.  Here are some examples of inactive ingredients: Shea Butter - often called the "skin smoother," this emollient is rich in fatty acids, locking in moisture and promoting a soft, supple texture. Green Tea Extract - this antioxidant neutralizes damaging free radicals, shielding your skin from environmental stressors.  Glycerin - a hydration hero that attracts and retains moisture, ensuring your skin stays plump and hydrated throughout the day.   The magic of skincare lies in the power of harmony between active and inactive ingredients. Different skin types have different needs, but every skin needs a balanced combination of active and inactive ingredients to stay healthy and glowing. 

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