The Alive Blog

Active Ingredients - A to Z

There's a bunch of active ingredient hiding in your beauty cabinet! Want to know what they do? Here's a list of the most common active ingredients in skincare in alphabetical order...

Aloe Vera
Famous for its soothing properties and aiding in reducing inflammation, Aloe Vera is widely used to assist with the healing process of the skin.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Glycolic Acid is the most active and advantageous of all the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Extracted from various plant sources, AHAs gently release the glue-like substance that holds dead cells to the skin without eliminating the skin's moisture barrier, revealing newer, healthier looking skin. With constant use, AHAs work to lighten pigmentation beneath the skin’s surface which can be caused by sun damage. This then stimulates collagen production causing skin to become firmer and for fine lines and wrinkles to appear less visibly, resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid
The anti-ageing miracle… It’s a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps combat imminent skin damage and assists in repairing existing damage. Alpha-lipoic acid is often referred to as a "universal antioxidant" because it can be solubilised, allowing it to be absorbed into all parts of the cell. Alpha-lipoic acid provides the highest shield against damaging free radicals in comparison to other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid reduces fine lines, boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C which gives skin a healthy glow.

Aphanizomenon flos-aquae
Algae used for its extracts that promote collagen synthesis and help the skin fight against ageing. It also helps the skin build up a resistance against external aggressions.

Ascophyllum nodosum
Algae used for its extracts that are considered "hormone-like" and have anti-ageing properties by inhibiting the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of elastin and hyaluronic acid. It also improves cutaneous metabolism and halt the ageing effects of sun exposure Works in synergy with Halopteris scoparia.

Asparagopsis armata
Algae used for its extracts that stimulate skin cell growth and respiration (keratinocytes and fibroblasts). Works in synergy with Undaria pinnatifida.

Beta-Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid)
Salicylic acid has been studied for its influence on skin that has aged prematurely due to exposure to UV rays from the sun. This ingredient exfoliates skin gently (depending on the concentration) and improves the skins texture and colour. By penetrating the hair follicle openings Beta-Hydroxy can also help with acne. Salicylic acid can be less irritating than products containing alpha-hydroxy acids, and can usually provide a similar improvement in skin smoothness and colour. BHA also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

BHA Ceramides
These are natural lipids (or fats), which are a major component of the human skin structure, allowing skin to hold moisture and work to restore the moisture barrier found in dehydrated, ageing and sun-damaged skin.

Biomimetic Tripeptide
Works to renew cells faster for fresher skin with a healthier glow. By smoothing the skin structure, hydrating and refining the skin, the Biomimetic Tripeptide works in reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Blidingia minima
Algae used for its extracts that have powerful hydrating properties.

Chlorella vulgaris
Algae used its extracts that stimulate cell regeneration, facilitate healing and slow down the ageing process. Increases skin elasticity and stimulates the removal of impurities. In its pure form, in a dietary supplement, it is known for its remineralising, digestive, detoxifying, immune system boosting and calming properties.

Chondrus crispus
It is rich in fibres and carrageenans, which regulate digestion, thanks to their thickening properties and their ability to act as a gelling agent. It also contains large quantities of polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential minerals, oligo-elements and vitamins A, B, C and E. It is recognised in cosmetics for its softening, hydrating and restructuring properties.

An active ingredient with a substantial lightening effect on the pigment colour of the skin. Chromabright helps prevent damage caused by the UV radiation from the sun and avoids tyrosinase action, which plays a vital part in controlling the creation of melanin (the primary determinant of skin colour).

Codium fragile
Algae used for its extracts that are regenerating and anti-radical. It’s rebalancing and revitalizing properties help to remineralise and restructure the epidermis. Ideal for stimulating tired and/or mature skin.

Codium tomentosum
Algae used for its extracts that are regenerating and stimulate the production of melanin - strongly aiding in skin hydration.

Copper Peptide
An effective skin regeneration product. Studies have proven that copper peptide stimulates collagen and elastin production, and also acts as an antioxidant for the skin. Copper peptide also helps in the production of glycosaminoglycans (hyaluronic acid), helping to speedily firm and smooth the skin. The ingredient has also been proven to assist in the removal of damaged collagen and elastin, and scar tissue.

CoQ10 (CoEnzyme Q10)
Contains brilliant antioxidant properties which help to maintain a vibrant glow to the skin while reducing the appearance of ageing. CoQ10 can assist in repairing damaged cells, and also counteract free radical damage. The production of collagen and elastin is also enhanced.

Cystoseira sp.
Algae used for its extracts that are recognised for their capacity to reduce irritations, soothe the skin and improve the comfort of sensitive and/or reactive skin.

DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol)
This ingredient is naturally produced in the brain, but DMAE is also present in anchovies, salmon and sardines, increasing the creation of acetylcholine, which is vital for good mental functions. DMAE produces amazing results when applied topically to skin with the visible reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dunaliella salina
Algae used for its extracts that are rich in carotenoids, rich in Vitamins C and E. In dietary supplements, this alga and its richness in beta-carotene allow it to acquire and maintain an even and glowing sun-tan all over the skin's surface, which is helped by the anti-oxidant action of the carotenoids and Vitamins C and E, which it contains in large quantities to prevent premature ageing of the skin. The beta-carotene transforms into retinol (Vitamin A) in the body and contributes to the rejuvenation and improvement of epidermal cells, prevents wrinkles and preserves the skin's suppleness. It limits the action of free-radicals on the skin and gives it a sun kissed glow.

Enteromorpha compressa
Depending on the elements extracted, it is known for its hydrating and revitalising properties or its firming and slimming qualities and ability to reduce micro-circulation.

Haematococcus pluvialis
Algae used for its extracts that stimulate cell metabolism and are powerful anti-radicals that protect against UV damage.

Halopteris scoparia
Algae used for its extracts that are considered "hormone-like" and have anti-ageing properties (due to an inhibition of enzymes that destroy elastic and hyaluronic acid). It improves cutaneous metabolism and prevents ageing from exposure to light.

Himanthalia elongata
Naturally equipped with toning and remineralising properties, this seaweed distinguishes itself by its high content of Vitamin C and minerals, the highest level in all marine plants. A remarkable source of amino acids, and especially glutamic acid, this alga significantly improves the effectiveness and bioavailability of calcium in our body. Moreover, it is essential for its richness in iodine and alginates, which have a real importance in slimming. Iodine optimises calorie expenditure and alginates promote feeling full and improve digestive transit. Himanthalia is also often used in cosmetics for its hydro regulating properties, thanks to it being rich in mannitol.

Hyaluronic Acid
The skin’s natural water retainer and assists skin to hold moisture. Hyaluronic acid supports the creation and upkeep of collagen.

Used to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and dark spots related to pregnancy or hormone therapy (melasma or chloasma). If you are allergic to hydroquinones, you may benefit from use of products containing kojic acid instead.

Limits water loss from the skin and increases hydration and moisture retention.

Very similar to CoEnzyme Q10 in the way that it is structure. This powerful anti-ageing antioxidant lifts the brightness of the look of the skin, creates the perfect environment for cells to repair themselves and help lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Jania rubens
Algae used for its extracts that contain remineralising properties due to concentration of minerals and oligo-elements (20,000-40,000 times superior to seawater). They have softening, ultra-hydrating and protective properties, very similar to the skin and protect the body from harmful environmental effects and maintain a maximum level of hydration. They also have anti-ageing properties, by increasing firmness of the skin, restoring cutaneous volume and reducing degradation of supporting structures of the skin.

Kappaphycus alvarezii
Algae used for its hydrating extracts that are beneficial to dermic structures.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid has only fairly recently been used for the treatment of pigment problems and age spots. The acid was discovered in 1989, and has a similar effect to hydroquinone. Kojic acid is derived from a fungus, and research has shown that it works as a lightening agent, inhibiting production of melanin (brown pigment).

Lactic Acid
A AHA (related to Glycolic Acid, although less active) that is naturally occurring, found in milk and honey. Lactic Acid is a very effective exfoliant and also has powerful moisturising properties.

L Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
An important element needed to produce collagen in the skin. The powerful antioxidant action helps stop free radical damage triggered by ultra-violet light and environmental pollutants, which can result in reduced skin pigmentation and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Laminaria digitata
Algae used for its extracts that optimise slimming, have sebum-regulating properties and have hydrating, softening and purifying properties.

Macrocystis pyrifera
Optimises synthesis of collagen and elastin within the skin.

Meristotheca dakaraensis
It has anti-ageing properties by improving hydration and firmness in the skin, restores cutaneous volume and reduces degradation of skin-supporting cell structures.

Nannochloropsis oculata
It has relipidising and restructuring properties thanks to its lipid content. Works in synergy with Porphyra umbilicalis.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Derived from the B Vitamin family, it has been proven to stimulate collagen and new fibroblasts. Niacinamide is helpful for focusing on skin discolouration and effective in lessening water loss from the skin and increasing skin hydration levels.

Padina pavonica
Its extracts optimise renewal of Glycoaminoglycanes and reinforce their protective actions (anti-radical and anti-irritant) and their actions to maintain cell vitality (skin firmness and suppleness).

Pelvetia canaliculata
Its extracts are used to reduce the production of agents which cause inflammation, therefore reducing discomfort and irritation of the skin.

Polysiphonia lanosa
Algae used for its extracts that have protective qualities against UV rays, especially UVA. They are also photo and thermo-stable and protect DNA.

A very potent antioxidant that is more powerful than Vitamin C. Pycnogenol is extracted from Marine Pine Bark, and is naturally occurring. The antioxidant helps protect the skin from free radical damage, promoting healthier, more youthful-looking skin.

Retinol (Vitamin A)
Supports skin rejuvenation by stimulating new collagen and improving skin elasticity, texture and firmness. The retinol antioxidant assists in the lessening of blocked pores and pigmentation, and subsequently improved skin radiance.

Increases cell turnover to help firm and smooth skin structure and even skin tone, while providing an immediate, long-term boost of hydration.

Undaria pinnatifida
Algae used for its extracts that stimulate respiration and growth of skin cells (keratinocytes and fibroblasts). It also works in synergy with Asparagopsis armata. The extract alone is revitalising (helps to maintain vital function of cells and tissues), but is equally protective against harmful effects of the environment and premature skin ageing in cutaneous cells.

Zinc Oxide
An effective sunscreen ingredient whereby particles have been reduced to ensure a translucent coverage.

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