6 must-have skincare ingredients to add to your daily routine

Following a skincare routine, which includes using products that suit your skin type, can you make you feel confident. Picture: Pexels/ Sora Shimazaki

Following a skincare routine, which includes using products that suit your skin type, can you make you feel confident. Picture: Pexels/ Sora Shimazaki

Published Dec 1, 2023


The beauty industry has often found itself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Over the decades, it has been criticised for creating unrealistic standards, which have often led to devastating consequences.

But in recent years, a more positive trend has emerged.

Scores of people across the world are now attempting to embrace their natural beauty and want to feel confident in their own skin.

This is where following a carefully formulated skincare routine has become a vital part of women’s, as well as a growing number of men’s, lives.

A skincare regime has the potential to address a variety of skin concerns, including acne, dry skin, ageing and pigmentation.

And with the right products, as well as a more holistic approach which includes healthy eating, men and women can put their best bare faces forward.

To help you create your own skincare regimen, we have compiled a list of the most in-vogue ingredients – which are backed by science and expert advice – to help you look and feel your best.

Vitamin C is skincare's holy grail. Picture: Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Vitamin C

This powerful antioxidant offers a multitude of benefits.

Lamelle Research Laboratories explained that this includes anti-ageing properties as well as the ability to help fight hyperpigmentation and breakouts and boost radiance.

“It’s an all-rounder that no skincare regime should be without,” the South African biotechnology research company said.

It said that Vitamin C promotes collagen production through the process of collagen synthesis.

“More collagen means firmer, more elastic skin with an overall tighter effect,” the company said.

It said vitamin C also helps increase the skin’s tolerance for the sun as it’s antioxidant qualities prevent oxidative damage and neutralise the damage caused by free radicals

Using hyaluronic acid helps hydrate the skin. Picture: Pexels

Hyaluronic Acid

When it comes to the hydration of the skin, there is no better skincare ingredient, says Nicole Sherwin, the founder of Eco Diva Natural, a superfood skincare range.

“Hyaluronic acid (HA) plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy, hydrated skin by binding water molecules and keeping our tissues lubricated,” she said.

“Think of it as your skin's best friend, responsible for that plump and youthful appearance we all desire.”

Sherwin said hyaluronic acid was a naturally occurring molecule found in our bodies, primarily in our skin, connective tissues, and eyes.

And not only is it a hydration hero, as it can retain up to 1 000 times its weight in water, it also offers other benefits. It enhances product absorption as it helps other active ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin.

Sherwin said hyaluronic acid was suitable for all skin types.

Alpha Arbutin

Natasha Davel of Fundamentals Skincare said alpha arbutin helps with uneven skin tone, reduces post-breakout marks, manages pigmentation and plumps and hydrates the skin.

This gentle active skincare ingredient is also one of the best products to naturally strengthen the skin barrier and to repair sun damage.

Extracted from plants such as bearberries, blueberries, and cranberries, alpha arbutin is also a brightening ingredient which acts as an inhibitor of tyrosinase, a key enzyme involved in producing skin pigment.


“If you only have one anti-ageing product in your vanity, make it a retinoid,” Kevin Khosa, a skin expert at Skin Functional.

This powerful skincare ingredient – a derivative of vitamin A – is acclaimed for its ability to accelerate cell renewal.

“Retinol increases the thickness and elasticity of your skin, slows the production of melanin, reduces inflammation and prevents clogged pores,” Khosa explained.

It also works to fade dark marks, as well as to improve hydration and texture, and helps manage breakouts to avoid further scarring.

But those with sensitive skin are urged to exercise caution when using retinol.

In some instances, people using it for the first time can get “retinol burn”. Symptoms of this condition include dry, peeling, painful, irritated and inflamed skin.

To prevent this, it is recommended that you avoid using retinol around the eyes and mouth and use it only a few times a week, until your skin gets used to it.


This is yet another skincare superhero which is renowned for its range of benefits.

Fundamentals Skincare’s Natasha Davel said niacinamide is recommended for those with dry, sensitive, ageing, or acne-prone skin.

“It promotes more youthful-looking skin and may also minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with its powerful hydrating and skin-plumping abilities,” she said.

Davel suggested using niacinamide in your skincare routine on a long-term basis, particularly if you are using it for its anti-ageing properties.

“Studies have shown that after 12 weeks of regular niacinamide use, there is an improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, skin elasticity, and skin tone.”

Sunscreen is one of the most important skincare products. Picture: File


No skincare ingredient list can be complete with sunscreen.

In fact, some dermatologists and skin experts have even punted sun protection factor (SPF) as the biggest gift that you can give to your skin.

They say this is not only to prevent certain types of cancers, but also to combat premature ageing.

Some sunscreens can even repair existing skin damage and correct the visible signs of ageing.

Dr Aurora Garre Contreras, who leads the clinical trials for ISDIN, which makes products designed to protect, repair and correct signs of sun damage, explained that UV radiation from the sun is the cause of a startling 80% of visible skin ageing.

“Sun damage contributes to the faster development of the early signs of ageing such as fine lines, lack of elasticity or wrinkles,” she said.