Ingredient Guide to Functional Skincare

What does function skincare mean?

Functional skincare refers to skincare procedures that are meant to address mild to moderate skin concerns. Anti-aging, brightening, and anti-acne are three such skincare concerns.

Functional skincare procedures are typically done in addition to basic skincare steps, namely, cleansing, moisturizing, and protection from the sun, though products in any of the basic skincare category often address one or more functional skincare concerns.

Functional skincare is not a necessary step for good skin, and not everyone needs to do it. Your should pick and choose based on your skin condition.


Signs of Concern:

  • wrinkles and fine lines
  • sagging skin
  • brown and dark spots
  • pigmentation from sunlight exposure

Ingredients to Look For:

  • Retinoids (AKA forms of Vitamin A) + Retinoid derivatives
  • Niacinamide (AKA forms of Vitamin B)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E (oil soluble)
    • Vitamin C + Vitamin E together
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Resveratrol (antioxidant)
  • Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) (Green Tea)
  • Ceramides
  • copper peptides (against fine line)
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)


Signs of Concern:

  • Dull skin
  • uneven skin-tones
  • dark spots

Ingredients to Look For:

  • Vitamin C (or other antioxidants)
  • Arbutin: Extracted from the bearberry plant, this complexion-brightening antioxidant is known as a natural (and milder) alternative to skin-bleaching hydroquinone. Arbutin works by directly inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase enzymes central to the production of melanin. (Lightens dark spots, lessens appearance of acne scars, helps even out skin tone)
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Azelaic Acid


Signs of Concern:

  • pimples
  • white heads
  • black heads
  • enlarged pores
  • uneven skin textures
  • uneven skintone

Ingredients to Look For:

  • AHAs
  • BHAs
  • Salicylic Acids
  • Benzoyl peroxide

Skincare Brands That are Ingredient Forward