These hard workers hydrate skin, lighten spots and reportedly even prevent free-radical damage.
Text Jaclyn Gunasilan Main Photo Adrianna Williams/Corbis
Usually found in: Moisturisers Think of ceramides – lipids that are naturally present in skin – as the glue that holds skin cells together, helping the skin maintain its firmness and reportedly retain moisture. As we age, they deplete, leading to dry, saggy skin. Moisturisers formulated with ceramides can help replenish the skin’s lipids and help prevent moisture loss.
Usually found in: Moisturisers This emollient forms a protective layer over the surface of the skin to keep moisture in, making it particularly good for dry skin.
Usually found in: Moisturisers and night creams Touted by dermatologists as one of the most powerful anti-ageing ingredients, retinol reportedly stimulates the production of collagen, which keeps skin plump and supple, for a younger-looking complexion with fewer visible lines and wrinkles. It also evens out skin tone and reportedly even repairs sun damage.
Usually found in: Lotions, serums and moisturisers Naturally found in certain species of fungi, kojic acid is known to help reduce dullness and lighten dark spots.
Usually found in: Lotions, serums and moisturisers Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the body but depletes with age. It not only delivers moisture to the skin, but also helps lock it in – it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water – so skin is kept hydrated for longer.
Usually found in: Cleansers, exfoliators and acne treatments This ingredient draws out sebum and dirt from clogged pores to prevent pimples from forming. It also speeds up skin cell renewal, making skin softer and smoother.
Usually found in: Acne treatments Great for acne-prone skin, it is said to control sebum production and works like an antibiotic, killing zit-causing bacteria.
Usually found in: Lotions, serums and moisturisers This antioxidant, which can be found in many radiance-boosting products on the market, lightens hyperpigmentation and dark spots caused by acne, sun damage and the skin’s natural ageing process. Apparently, it can also prevent the formation of future spots and reduce free-radical damage caused by UV rays.
Usually found in: Cleansers, exfoliators and moisturisers It fades pigmentation by reportedly reducing the production of melanin, and is a gentler alternative to hydroquinone, a brightening ingredient that can cause irritation, sun sensitivity and bluish-black hyperpigmentation when used over a long period of time.
Dr Georgia Lee, medical director at the TLC Lifestyle Practice Clinic; Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director at The Sloane Clinic; Dr Calvin Chan, medical director at Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic; and Dr David Loh, medical director at David Loh Surgery.