7 Skincare Ingredients that ACTUALLY Work – Mask Edition

Finding skincare that works for you can be really difficult! You’ve read all the reviews, studied the ingredients and splurged all of the money and you’re still not seeing results. Everyone’s skin is a little bit different, behaves a little different and reacts differently to products. There are, however, a few key ingredients you can look for in your skincare that will address a variety of common skin concerns for most people. It’s just a matter of knowing what they are and where to put them.

If you’re looking for a multi-use skincare product that will address a variety of issues you can’t go past a face mask. Face masks are hot commodity at the minute and it’s easy to see why. With a face mask you can cleanse, clarify, moisturise, firm & detoxify at the same time! By Multi-Masking (using multiple masks to address multiple skin concerns) you can use some (or ALL) the key ingredients listed below at the same time for the best looking skin ever. The below image lists the best place for each ingredient.Face Masks

7 Skincare Ingredients That ACTUALLY Work

T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) for mattifying and pore clearing

1. Charcoal


Charcoal isn’t exactly breaking news in skincare anymore. Over in Japan and Korea they’ve been using it as a cleansing ingredient for centuries. In India and Egypt they even used charcoal to treat wounds. But the true power of charcoal is it’s ability to remove toxins from your body.

How does charcoal work? When activated (heated) charcoal acts as a magnet to draw out and trap impurities. Activated charcoal is created solely for medicinal use but it’s nearly the same as what you use on your barbeque – once heated with gas it becomes porous and more absorbent (absorbing up to 200x its weight) – and now able to trap toxins. Because of this, activated charcoal can reduce acne and other skin impurities and will also completely remove your makeup. So if you’re feeling a bit strange washing your face with something that is basically soot – don’t! Incorporating charcoal into your skincare routine will definitely leave your skin cleaner and brighter then ever.


Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque $52 – great for Multi-masking!


Cedar + Stone Cleanse Bar $12 – suitable for use on your face and body

2. Salicylic Acid


Salicylic acid is best known for treating acne. Derived from the bark of a willow tree, salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that penetrates into the pore to dissolve dead skin cell build up. Salicylic acid also helps shed the top layer of skin to decongest pores and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that works to break up cells, in turn removing blackheads and whiteheads.

You can use salicylic acid concentrations of .5% – 2% to clear mild or moderate acne effectively but some skincare creams or face masks also contain a lower concentration as an exfoliating ingredient. For the best results, a balanced acne regime with moisturising and soothing products alongside salicylic acid is advisable.  If you’re finding that cleansing alone isn’t enough to keep your skin clear and bright – incorporating salicylic acid can help to reveal healthy, new skin.


Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask $59.95 – the ultimate pore purge


Dermalogica Skin Renewal Booster $58.40 – Keeps skin glowing and is small enough to take anywhere

3. Clay


Clay shares various similarities to Charcoal – such as Clay helps to heal your skin by absorbing impurities. There are a multitude of different clays that come in different colours.  The most popular clay for skin benefits is Bentonite Clay. It’s great for oily skin as it sucks up excess sebum easily. Again similar to the charcoal, when mixed with water, clay acts like a magnet to draw toxins out of your face. This includes bacteria, fungus, psoriasis and eczema. Clay is a go to for skincare with its tightening, acne clearing and impurity absorbing abilities.


Coast to Coast Outback Skin Brightening Red Clay Mask $24.95  – Replenish dry skin and restore radiance


Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser $13.60 – Revitalise even the most tired of skin

Eye area for fine lines and wrinkles

4. Retinol

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair Helix

Retinol works to enhance collagen production, smooth skin and even out pigmentation. It’s a Vitamin A derivative that unclogs pores, reduces fine lines etc. While Retinol has been used in skin care products for many years, it is only in the last 10 years that Retinol was researched specifically for treating aged skin. Scientific studies have found that Retinol regulates cell growth, stimulates collagen synthesis, and prevents deterioration of connective tissue.

The benefits of using Retinol on the skin are huge but there are two main challenges that arise using Retinol on the skin. Skin Irritation and Stability. Skin can respond to Retinol in the early phases with itching, burning and peeling and due to the chemical structure of the Retinol molecule, care must be taken to ensure exposure to light, air and other molecules is minimised. So while it can seem like the retinol is working as an exfoliator because side effects include peeling, but it’s not a true and even exfoliation. It’s actually much more profound! Retinol decreases the amount of collagen breakdown and also help stimulate production of new collagen

Retinol can take a little while to see real results but stick with it – your skin will be glowing.

Cheeks for plumping and hydrating

5. Vitamin C


You probably know that Vitamin C is an important part of your diet as it helps ward off colds and other sickness, but you might not know that Vitamin C is amazing for your skin. Vitamin C is your ultimate ingredient for potent antioxidant protection – shielding skin from damaging free radicals that cause premature ageing. Most radical damage your skin cant escape such as the sun and pollution, but vitamin can help your skin look younger, longer.

Benefits of Vitamin C include reduced appearance of brown spots and other sun damage, boosts collagen production, reduces inflammation and irritation. Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, which reduces as you age. Vitamin C provides all the antioxidant and anti-aging benefits to skin to smooth, repair and replenish skin. Achieve younger, healthier and more radiant skin by incorporating some Vitamin C into your skincare routine.

6. Peptides


The ultimate anti-ageing ingredient – peptides claim to plump and lift sagging skin, rid dark circles and puffy eyes and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. Peptides are basically the building blocks of protein and are usually synthetic in skincare for ultimate effectiveness.

Voila! You’ve stumbled onto the magic ingredient to combat skin ageing! Well… not exactly. Like anything, peptides should be used in conjunction with things like before mentioned vitamin C for best results – one product solo will not do the job. However peptides do function to help the skin repair itself, making it firmer and look younger.


HydroPeptide Instant Peptide Miracle Mask $82.50 – accelerates skins shedding process for firmest, smoothest skin.


Nutrir Collagen Boosting Peptide Serum $29.71 – For younger, softer and more hydrated skin.

7. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyalauranic Acid

There has been a lot of hype around hyaluronic acid in recent times – but this is one ingredient that lives up to the hype. Hyaluronic acid actually is a natural structural component of skin and is present throughout the body. So what does it do? Hyaluronic acid works to retain skin moisture – one gram of this acid can hold up to six litres of water.

Not only can hyaluronic acid improve your skin’s moisture content, it also strengthens skin’s barrier. A healthy skin barrier will be soft, smooth and plump which in turns makes you look more youthful. A lot of external elements are working against your skins barrier – which is why it’s so important to reinforce it. Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, this is one multi-tasking anti-ageing ingredient.


SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque $103.53 – replenishes dehydrated and stressed skin.


Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum with Grapeseed Oil $79.20 – assists in the improvement of radiance, elasticity and skin texture.

Next time you’re stuck trying to decipher the fifty ingredients on the back of your favourite cleanser – you’ll know what to look for! Use these 7 key ingredients that actually work and experience the difference in your skin.

Have you found a secret ingredient that works for your skin?

Let me know below.

Renee Volck

Renee Volck

Writer and expert