My 6 skin care ingredient must-haves

My 6 skin care ingredient must-haves

I’ve had a few friends approaching me in the past asking for some skin care recommendations suited for their troubled skin. So today, I thought I’d take a little break from working on my assignments to write this therapeutic post about some skin-loving ingredients which have worked wonders for me.

There are some old and new products I’ve tried which I think have somewhat improved the look of my skin and its texture. Whenever I purchase skin care items, I take my time to read through the ingredients and try to find the ones with less to no chemicals and which are targeted for specific skin concerns.

Yes, most of the ingredients are unintelligible and such a mouthful to pronounce. But trust me, once you start to familiarise yourself with the ingredients on the packaging, you’ll soon learn to pick up the right products for your skin and save some bucks on skin care that’ll hardly work.

Talking about being economical, you can find all of these in your local pharmacy or drugstore. They don’t necessarily have to be a high-end product. Not to mention some high-end products don’t even do justice for your skin either at times (coming from someone guilty of making some regretful purchases herself).

Disclaimer: I have moderately dry to combination skin. What works for me may not work for you the same way, but I’ll point out what is best for which skin type along the way to help  😀



Salicylic Acid (BHA)

Salicylic acid, also commonly known as beta hydroxy acid (BHA) in some products, is an antibacterial or anti-acne ingredient extracted from the bark of willow trees. I remember suffering from breakouts when I came to Melbourne over winter two years ago. I think the weather was drying my skin out and I probably wasn’t moisturising it enough. So I did a bit of research and picked up a facial wash and toner containing salicylic acid. I noticed my pimples drying out even quicker so I’ve been religiously using the skin care line in the above picture for my breakouts ever since.

Another good use for BHA is to clean out clogged pores. BHA is able to penetrate your skin to clear your pores and over time, shrink any visible pores and leave your skin smooth. The products that I’ve tried and loved are from Neutrogena. They have a wide range of anti-acne skin care, from facial cleansers to toners. There are plenty of other brands with the same ingredients and they’re available in different forms as well so it’s worth trying it out to see which suits you best. Just a note of caution – it can be drying so I limit myself to use only at night and always make sure to pair it up with a nourishing moisturiser to keep my skin well-hydrated.

Glycolic Acid (AHA)

This is another main ingredient found in the Neutrogena skin care range that I used (this isn’t a sponsored post if you’re beginning to wonder). Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), usually derived from fruits. AHA is also a common type of chemical peel that helps to shed the layer of dead skin cells and improve the texture and appearance of your skin. It takes time, but it does help to reduce the appearance of acne scars or any discolorations, though much deeper scars require more time or a stronger agent to fade off. It has worked for me so far and I noticed differences only after about a week of using it. There’s a downside to it however; when you do incorporate AHA and BHA into your skin care it’s always recommended to put on plenty of sunscreen before leaving the house because sun exposure can damage your fresh and new layer of skin (it’s more sensitive to UV).


Tea Tree Oil

This is my saviour for any blemishes or red spots on my face. My skin is quite sensitive so any speck of dust can leave a little mosquito bite or a bit of rash on my skin. But the moment I apply tea tree oil, it’s gone within a few hours. This is a must-have if you have sensitive skin or acne-prone skin.  Applying this to your pimple should do the trick but you must only apply it before the pimple dries out. Tea tree oil can be harsh for some skin types (especially dry skin), and it can flake out the pimple area. Since my skin gets pretty dry, I avoid using tea tree facial cleansers or toners but my friends with oily skin types have no trouble with them so far so you could give them a try. But it does work in getting rid of any redness off your face. Afterall, it is an antiseptic.

Vitamin E

I never really paid attention to this vitamin until I tried using The Body Shop’s Vitamin E range. My mum sent it over from Singapore (naww mum) when I told her the harsh winter conditions was ruining my skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and is said to nourish dry skin and improve your skin’s defense against UV rays. Some food containing vitamin E include avocado, nuts and vegetable oils.

The best thing about vitamin E is that it’s not harsh on the skin. (There is a but: READ THIS ARTICLE) The cleanser I used from body shop was soap-free and I would highly recommend soap-free cleansers for dry skin types. If body shop is too out-of-reach for you, you can try other drugstore brands like Simple. Their skin care are targeted for sensitive skin and the moisturisers contain natural ingredients like vitamin E & C, shea butter, witch hazel and I love the fact that they’re fragrance free.


Vitamin C

I don’t use a lot of it in my skin care but I do consume a lot of it. I’ve tried several Vitamin C serums, though not from the drugstore or pharmacy. Vitamin C helps to brighten complexion and it leaves my skin feeling really fresh. I get my dose of Vitamin C (other than fruits) from face masks – my favourite are from the Korean brand Innisfree. I love pampering my skin with a pack of mask before bedtime and it leaves my skin supple until the next morning. I’m not sure if helps to reduce acne scars as claimed by some people. Personally it hasn’t worked for me that way but it does help in brightening dull skin for me. Though I still think the best way is to include it in your diet and consume it in its natural form or through supplements.


Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil has been the latest addition to my skin care. It’s packed with fatty acids (omega 3, 6 & 9) which your body doesn’t produce and is a natural source for Vitamin A (helps with sun damage and wrinkles) and antioxidants. I’ve heard about this for a while and was stoked when it came in last month’s bellabox. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now and I’m loving it so far. It doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin due its light texture. It’s not too oily and it absorbs into your skin pretty quickly. I apply the oil at night and with some moisturiser afterwards and I wake up looking fresh and radiant every morning (I’m not kidding whenever I say this).

Prolong use of rosehip oil can apparently help to regulate sebum production, fight signs of ageing, reduce pigmentation and acne scars and so on. I’ll keep using this to see if it’s the formula for any of my skin concerns. But so far, I like how my skin feels every morning. Other face oils that have been raved by some beauty bloggers and Youtubers include camellia oil and argan oil (I use this to nourish my hair).

Some of the products mentioned could have adverse affects if used together so be sure to know what suits your skin! I’ve never had any problems using any of the products at the same time but it’s good practice to test them out first on a patch of skin (like your neck, chest or the back of your hand) before you apply them straight to your face.

So what are your skin care must-haves? Share your beauty secrets with me!


This post was originally published on my old blog,

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