Let’s talk skin sense with this skin-savvy guide

Get to know your glycolic acid from your ylang ylang and become a skin-tellectual with our skincare ingredients cheat sheet.

A is for AHA

Alpha Hydroxy Acids can help exfoliate, promote collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Just remember to stay out of direct sunlight and use sun protection!

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

B is for Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol is a natural alternative to retinol. It packs all the anti-ageing punch of retinol by helping to improve skin’s firmness and elasticity, but it’s kinder to more sensitive skin.

Try Boots Ingredients Bakuchiol Serum

C is for Caffeine

Known for its soothing properties, caffeine is often a key ingredient in products designed to reduce the appearance of puffiness.

Try The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream

D is for Dimethicone

This acts as an emulsifier to help bind other ingredients in your skincare together. It can also help create a matte finish, making it a popular choice for products designed for oily skin.

Try La Roche Posay Effaclar Mattifying Moisturiser

E is for vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in plenty of skincare products, and it’s easy to see why. It helps prevent moisture loss and can also help protect skin against pollutants.

Try No7 Essential Moisture Day Cream

F is for Ferulic Acid

A potent ingredient that helps fight against damage caused by free radicals. It can also help vitamins C and E work their magic by helping to prevent oxidation.

Try Florence By Mills Clean Magic Face Wash

G is for Glycolic Acid

Known for helping reduce the appearance of skin discolouration, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as helping to plump the appearance of skin by removing dead skin cells.

Try Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads​​​​​​​

H is for Hyaluronic Acid

Best known for its ability to attract and hold large amounts of moisture, leaving skin feeling softer, smoother and more hydrated.

Try L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler Hyaluronic Acid Replumping Mask​​​​​​​

I is for I-modulia

A unique biotechnological active that helps to relieve redness and irritation while stimulating the skin's natural defences.

Try Eau Thermale Avène Xeracalm Balm​​​​​​​

J is for Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil can help keep skin calm and comfortable.

Try Botanics 100% Organic Restoring Overnight Facial Oil

K is for Kaolin

This clever clay acts as an absorbing agent to help reduce shine and absorb moisture, leaving you with a radiant, healthy-looking complexion.

Try Botanics Clarifying Clay Mask

L is for Lactic Acid

This Alpha Hydroxy Acid is derived from milk and has exfoliating and skin-conditioning properties, as well as helping skin retain moisture. It can make your skin sensitive to the sun, so remember to apply your SPF and stay out of direct sunlight.

Try The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

M is for Matrixyl

A firm favourite in No7’s iconic anti-ageing skincare line-up, Matrixyl is designed to target collagen production and help skin produce more collagen and elastin.

Try No7 Laboratories Line Correcting Booster Serum

N is for Niacinamide

Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide works with your skin to help regulate oil production, reduce the appearance of pores and build keratin to help keep skin feeling firm.

Try The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

O is for Oatmeal

Used in skincare to help protect skin, thanks to starches contained within it which can bind with water and create a barrier on top of the skin.

Aveeno Cream with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal

P is for Polyglutamic Acid

The perfect base for make-up application, this powerful hydrating ingredient can hold up to four times more moisture than Hyaluronic Acid.

Try The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid

Q is for Q10

Designed to help stimulate collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as helping neutralise free radicals.

Try NIVEA Q10 Power Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Face Cream

R is for Retinol

AKA vitamin A. Retinol can be used at night to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Just remember to apply your SPF!

Try Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Moisturiser

S is for Salicylic Acid

Often used in skincare designed for oily and blemish-prone skin, thanks to its soothing properties that can help calm aggravated skin.

Try Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

T is for Tea Tree

Another popular choice in skincare for blemish-prone skin, tea tree is used to help calm aggravated skin.

Try Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Foaming Face Wash

U is for UV protection

It’s super important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, even on less sunny days. Choose skincare with added SPF to help protect against premature ageing.

Try Clinique Super City Block SPF40

V is for Vitamin C

Often a key ingredient in anti-ageing skincare, vitamin C can help stimulate new collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Try Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil

W is for White Tea

White tea helps to strengthen elastin and collagen tissues, as well as helping to repair skin damage from free radicals.

Try Elizabeth Arden White Tea Pure Indulgence Hand Cream

X is for Exfoliation

OK, we cheated a little bit, but who doesn’t look and feel better after shifting dead skin cells with their favourite skin polisher?

Try Pixi Peel & Polish

Y is for Ylang Ylang

Generally used to help balance blemish-prone skin, stimulate the growth of new cells and ease tight muscles.

Try Botanics Massage Oil Ylang Ylang & Mandarin

Z is for Zinc

Commonly used in skincare to help support the skin's natural healing process.

Try Revolution Skincare 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc Blemish & Pore Refining Serum

Now you’ve got your key skin-gredients sussed, put your knowledge to the test and stock up on smart skincare.