Your quick and easy guide to active skincare ingredients

Your quick and easy guide to active skincare ingredients

You cleanse every day, use luxurious moisturiser and treat your skin to regular facials in Dubai, but do you really know what the active ingredients in your skincare are doing? A lot of skincare brands will throw around scientific-sounding terms and buzzwords that sound very impressive, but don’t mean anything to most of us. For example, you’re fairly certain that antioxidants are a good thing, (maybe you even actively seek them out when choosing skincare) but what the heck is an antioxidant?!

This is your quick and easy guide to five of the most popular active ingredients in skincare and facials.


Retinol is an enormously popular active skincare ingredient prized for its anti-aging properties. Retinoids (which can only be prescribed by a doctor) and retinol are derivatives of vitamin A. They actually stimulate the growth of new skin cells which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helps fade hyperpigmentation and age spots. Prescription-strength retinoids can also be used to treat acne and can dramatically reduce signs of aging, but the accompanying dryness can be too severe for many people.


Peptides comprise of amino acids — these are the building blocks of protein in the skin. It’s protein that gives skin its plumpness and suppleness, so using peptides can give your skin a softer, more youthful appearance. The important thing to know about peptides is that it can take a while before you see any of the benefits. Lots of people tend to give up on a skincare regime if they don’t see the results they want within a couple of weeks, but peptides really need a couple of months to work.


Hydroquinone is a controversial ingredient that lightens skin by reducing the production of melanin. There’s a great deal of debate going on about this product for a variety of reasons. Hydroquinone is used in skin lighteners or “bleaches” that many feel promote the idea of lighter skin being more attractive. In the EU, it is illegal to sell products with anything higher than a 1% concentration and there are various health risks associated with its use. It has even been labelled “poisonous” and has been linked to cancer.

It’s for these reasons that we highly discourage anyone from seeking out products containing hydroquinone. If you have serious issues with hyper-pigmentation and would like assistance, speak to your doctor. If you’re just looking for an overall brightening effect and were considering hydroquinone, you could instead benefit from a professional facial in Dubai. Speak to an aesthetician to hear about your options.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is the go-to ingredient for skincare products that fight acne and excess oil. It’s a kind of beta hydroxy acid that dissolves some of the matter that holds your skin cells together. (I know that sounds scary, but stay with us!) What it means is that your skin is treated to a kind of deep exfoliation that cleans out pores and reduces sebum secretion. It’s especially good at attacking spots and blackheads but is less effective against cystic acne.

Be aware though that using too much salicylic acid can dry out and irritate skin, especially if it’s sensitive. If you’ve been using products with salicylic acid and feel you may be suffering from excessive dryness, having a facial in Dubai can help revive skin and inject some much needed moisture.


The science behind antioxidants can get complicated very quickly, but what you need to know is that they neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are unstable, electrically-charged molecules in cells that damage other molecules. This damage can speed up the aging of our skin. There are a variety of things that contribute to the production free radicals, including pollution, radiation and alcohol consumption. This is why excessive drinkers often seem so much older than their years. The inclusion of antioxidants in your skincare can help reduce inflammation, help firm skin, repair sun damage and reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles.

We hope this guide has equipped you with all the knowledge you need to confidently pick skincare that helps address your specific needs. If you would like to speak to a professional aesthetician for help and advice or would like to book a facial in Dubai, get in touch with roots Salons today.

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