ABC’s of Skin Health: Get to Know the Skincare Ingredients That Go Into the Science of Great Skin and How They Help Melanated Skin Types
Getty Images

Sixty-six percent of Black women are unsure which products are best for their skin, according to a ‘State of Skin’ survey by InStyle magazine. They also experience dry skin and are twice as likely to suffer from a skin condition. So, to help you navigate the beauty aisle, we’re going to break down the science behind some of the ingredients found in popular skincare products—highlighting some must-haves for your melanated skin.

Emollients are ceramides, cholesterols, and fatty acids that function as a barrier to water loss.

Try adding a richly emollient body cream to your daily routine for long-lasting hydration that will leave skin hydrated and fabulous, not dried out, which can enhance fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic Acid
A chemical compound that is found naturally in skin and widely used in skincare products. Its intense hydrating benefits – and unique ability to hold many times its weight in water – make it a popular active ingredient in many hydrating serums and masks.

Vitamin A (Retinol)
Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is found in lotions and night creams to help improve skin tone and texture. If you’ve never used a retinol before, start by applying sparingly every second or third night for the first two weeks.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidative molecule that protects skin from free radicals by reducing and neutralizing them. Look for it in serums and moisturizers near the middle of the ingredients panel to help ensure a 5% or higher concentration for better effectiveness. Click here to read more about vitamin C and its effects on hyperpigmentation.

Vitamin E
Often paired with vitamin C, vitamin E retains skin’s natural moisture to prevent dryness while also neutralizing damaging free radicals and boosting skin’s UV defenses. You can find it in serums, moisturizers, sunscreens and after-sun products.

Vitamin K
This little-known vitamin is essential for reducing dark circles under your eyes and can be found in many eye creams. Try applying this vitamin at night so it can really soak in!

If you’re curious about the science of skincare, check out the Neutrogena® ingredient glossary. It’s a great guide to skincare ingredients, conditions, and more!