List of ingredients


Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice

Ascorbyl Glucoside

Azelaic Acid


Borago Officinalis
Chamomilla Recutita
Everlasting Oil
Geranium Oil
Glycolic Acid
Green Tea
Hyaluronic Acid
Kojic Acid
Lactic Acid
Methyl Gluceth-20
Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide
Retinoic Acid
Salicylic Acid
Sea Fennel
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Sodium Lauroyl Amino Acids
Tochopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)


What is Allatoin?
Allantoin is a chemical compound that is also known as 5-ureidohydantoin or glyoxyldiureide. Catchy eh? It is named allantoin after the allantois, which is a sac attached to most vertebrate embryos apart from fish and amphibians. The allantois stores all foetal excretions, which explains the name of this cosmeceutical, as allantoin is created during the oxidation of uric acid. Allantoin is non-allergenic, non-toxic, odourless and completely safe for use. It’s sold as a fine white crystalline powder which dissolves in water or alcohol.
How is it made?
Allantoin is present in plants and mammals. Its main botanical extract comes from comfrey (Symphytum officinale) although it is also found in tobacco seed, chamomile, and wheat sprouts. If it’s the animal version you seek then it’s present in most mammals’ urine. However, most allantoin is synthetically made and is apparently identical to the natural version – i.e. completely safe. It’s probably a good thing that we’re not all applying urine to our skin on a daily basis, although that would still be a lot better than some of the animal by-products used in our cosmetics.
  • Araújo, L. U., Grabe-Guimarães, A., Mosqueira, V. C. F., Carneiro, C. M., & Silva-Barcellos, N. M. (2010). Profile of wound healing process induced by allantoin. Acta Cirurgica Brasileira, 25(5), 460-461.
  • “The allantoin, 5-ureide-hydantoin, has been widely cited in literature as holder of numerous pharmacological activities, among them: wound healing, anti-irritating, hydrater, remover of necrotic tissue, stimulating the cell mitosis; as well as promoter of epithelial stimulation, analgesic action, and keratolytic activity” (Araujo)
  • “Allantoin has been used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations for over 70 years with different therapeutic purposes and especially as a wound healing booster” (Araujo).
  • “The inflammatory response is an important step of the wound healing process as it prepares the environment of the wound for the process of repairing” (Araujo)
  • “Our results suggest that [allantoin] modulates the inflammatory response, possibly by inhibiting the chemotaxis of inflammatory cells in the site of the wound, thus preventing the release of reactive species responsible for oxidative stress and tissue damage” (Araujo)

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice                

Active components with its properties
Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids, and amino acids.

1- Vitamins: it contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains Vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals
2- Enzymes: it contains 8 enzymes (aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, lipase, and peroxidase). Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically
3- Minerals: calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc
4- Sugars: A glycoprotein with anti-allergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound (C-glucosyl) chromone
5- Anthraquinones: (laxatives) 
6- Fatty acids: 4 plant steroids (cholesterol, campesterol, B- sitosterol, and lupeol). All have anti-inflammatory action, and lupeol has antiseptic and analgesic properties 
7- Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action 
8- Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. Contains salicylic acid that possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mechanisms of Action
Healing Properties: Glucomannan and gibberellin interact with growth factor receptors on fibroblasts, causing collagen synthesis. Not only increases collagen content but modifies composition to accelerate wound contraction and increase strength of scar tissue

Effects on skin exposure to UV and gamma radiation: Following application an antioxidant protein, metallothionein, is generated in the skin, which scavenges hydroxyl radicals and prevents suppression of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in the skin

Anti-inflammatory action Inhibits cyclooxygenase pathway and reduces prostaglandins. 

Moisturizing and anti-aging effect: Mucopolysaccharides help in binding moisture into the skin. Aloe stimulates fibroblasts (produce collagen and elastin fibers that make the skin more elastic). It has cohesive effects on flaking epidermal cells which make skin softer. Amino acids soften hardened skin cells and zinc acts as an astringent to tighten pores. 

Antiseptic effect: Aloe vera contains 6 antiseptic agents: lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur. They all have inhibitor action on fungi bacteria and viruses.”
Conditions it treats
Seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis vulgaris, genital herpes, skin burns, type 2 diabetes, HIV infection, cancer prevention, ulcerative colitis, wound healing, pressure ulcers, mucositis, radiation dermatitis, acne vulgaris, lichen planus, frostbite, aphthous stomatitis, and constipation
Strickland, F. M., Pelley, R. P., & Kripke, M. L. (1994). Prevention of ultraviolet radiation-induced suppression of contact and delayed hypersensitivity by Aloe barbadensis gel extract. Journal of investigative dermatology, 102(2), 197-204.
“Extracts from a number of Aloe species are purported to have therapeutic properties and have been used to alleviate the pain of sunburn and to aid in the healing of thermal burns” 
“A standardized extract of Aloe barbadensis gel ameliorated some of the immunosuppressive effects of UVR” 
“Treatment of UV-irradiated skin with Aloe preserved the level of immune function beyond what would be expected by the Langerhans cell numbers in these mice”

Ascorbyl Glucoside

Form of Vitamin C containing two glucose molecules. These act to prevent oxidation and loss of effectiveness of Vitamin C until absorbed by the skin’s dermis, where the glucose molecules dissolve and Vitamin C becomes active. A strong antioxidant, this ingredient protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation and neutralizes free radicals. It also increases collagen production and inhibits melanin production.
-Smit, N., Vicanova, J., & Pavel, S. (2009). The hunt for natural skin whitening agents. International journal of molecular sciences, 10(12), 5326-5349.
-“Ascorbic acid is considered a skin whitening agent and more stable derivatives such as ascorbyl glucoside and ascorbyl palmitate are already being used in different skin whitening formulations”

-“Both magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and ascorbyl glucoside are forms of Vitamin C”
-“Ascorbyl Glucoside is a fat soluble form of Vitamin C… [and has] been recognized in reducing the aging of facial skin”

-“It has a structure in which the C2- hydroxyl group of L-ascorbic acid is masked with glucose”
-“Once AG [ascorbyl glucoside] is permeated into the skin, AG is broken down into L-ascorbic acid and glucose by an enzyme alpha-glucoside”
-“AG has the same functions as L-ascorbic acid” “AG is very beneficial to improve wrinkles and unevenness of the skin no wonder it is used in anti-aging cosmetics”
-“The benefits of using products with AG as opposed to usual vitamin C in skincare products are that AG has greater stability than L-ascorbic acid.”
-“AG has excellent stability in heat, light, in the presence of oxygen and in metal ions when compared to other vitamin C’s”
-“AG therefore benefits the skin since it provides the skin with a stable form of vitamin… [and will not break] down in air, heat, or light”

Azelaic Acid

What is Azelaic Acid and how does it work?
Azelaic Acid is produced from a type of yeast found in rye, barley, and wheat called malassezia furfur1 and has been found to have the ability to inhibit unhealthy protein development, prevent excessive bacteria/cell-growth, and target malignant melanocytes (skin-cells which produce unhealthy amounts of pigment) within the skin.2 AzA is well-known in cosmetics due to its ability to penetrate deep into the dermis and prevent the formation of multiple types of fungi, bacteria, and proteins that result in common conditions such as acne vulgaris.

AzA has been proven through clinical studies to be efficacious in the prevention of reproduction of certain proteins within the skin, which can buildup and lead to small lumps commonly associated with acne.3 Within the tissue of the dermis, it has also been observed to exert cytotoxicity (the destruction of cells) on malignant melanocytes, the most common reason for hyperpigmentation, and manages to do so without any effect on undamaged normal skin4 -- meaning it only kills the negative cells within the skin and leaves the healthy areas intact.

The antibacterial property of Azelaic Acid allows it to prevent negative bacteria, such as: propionibacterium2 (a principle cause of acne) and pityriasis versicolor1 (a fungal infection resulting in skin discoloration), with incredible efficacy -- mitigating and repairing areas suffering from common bacterial issues. It accomplishes this while also reducing inflammation in the skin (preventing further infection from the bacteria) and assisting with acne, pigment, and texture.
What conditions does Azelaic Acid help to treat?
Acne vulgaris (more commonly known as just ‘acne’) is a chronic infection/inflammation (often resulting from the aforementioned propionibacterium) of the sebaceous follicle within the skin that results in increased sebum secretion.3 The sebaceous glands which produce sebum are generally stimulated in response to stress-related hormones,5 but can also be affected by certain oils used for the hair, scalp, and skin.6 Due to its antimicrobial properties, AzA’s ability to reduce the production of the harmful bacteria that infects the skin’s glands and follicles allows high levels of clinical efficacy when used for acne vulgaris.

Azelaic Acid is also able to treat other forms of acne, such as blackheads (comedones), elevated pus-filled pimples (papulopustular), and chest/back acne (nodulocystic) due to its highly-penetrative properties. By targeting the bacteria within the follicles, which causes these eruptions within the epidermis, it is able to effectively reduce the noticeability and recurrence of all forms of acne.7

Discoloration within the skin can be caused by a variety of reasons and AzA serves as an effective tool for pigment-restoration. One of the causes of discoloration is pityriasis versicolor, a fungus that results in pigment changes and dry/scaly skin, that AzA treats directly with its antibacterial properties.1 A second common type of pigment disorder, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), can be associated with any type of inflammation to the skin (often resulting from persistent acne and UV damage). Azelaic Acid is able to treat this type of pigment damage effectively through its inhibition of the enzyme that produces melanin through melanogenesis (the formation of melanocytes), and thereby serves not just as a way to treat current inflammatory issues but also the resultant aftereffects.5

Other issues such as rosacea are treated as well through the very same antibacterial, protein-resistant, and anti-inflammatory properties that help to define AzA’s use for treating skin disorders. Three-to-four months of regular treatment has been proven to help reduce rosacea,4 and thus has been clinically approved for addressing redness within the skin.1 Studies have indicated that Azelaic Acid should be used for acne as early as possible in order to minimize hyperpigmentation and acne-scarring.8
What are the results and how long do they take?
Topically applied AzA is one of the most efficacious options for acne within the cosmetic industry and many studies work to set realistic expectations for the timeline of acne-related treatments. Demonstrable improvement and restoration of acne-affected areas was observed to be most noticeable for 85% patients after 16 weeks,8 but many study participants were able to see observable results within the three-month mark.9

For other conditions, such as: hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and other skin disorders, a study in 2016 found that acne-prone patients, suffering from skin-texture and pigment issues, found their skin to be much smoother following the application of Azelaic Acid.1 Observed pigmentary lesions within the skin were found to have had a significant decrease, improving the overall appearance of the skin-tone and texture.9

For a timeline, it is best advised to follow the instructions and to set reasonable expectations dependent on the severity of the condition it is being used to treat. The amount of time can vary heavily based on the concentration of Azelaic Acid, the mode of application, and the type of skin disorder.

Azelaic Acid has a long history of positive results, and has been employed by the skincare industry for good reason. Clinical trials have repeatedly demonstrated its capacity as an anti-acne ingredient, and due to its overall safety and efficacy is recommended to be used as a common treatment, either over-the-counter or by prescription.
1- Couteau, C., & Coiffard, L. (2016). Overview of skin whitening agents: Drugs and cosmetic products. Cosmetics, 3(3), 27.
2- Fitton, A., & Goa, K. L. (1991). Azelaic acid. Drugs, 41(5), 780-798.
3- Zouboulis, C. C., Okoro, E., & Kubba, R. (2018). Acne in Dark Skin. In Pigmented Ethnic Skin and Imported Dermatoses (pp. 203-217). Springer, Cham.
4- Nguyen, Quan H., and Tran P. Bui. "Azelaic acid: pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties and its therapeutic role in hyperpigmentary disorders and acne." International journal of dermatology 34.2 (1995): 75-84.
5- Dreno, B., Bagatin, E., Blume‐Peytavi, U., Rocha, M., & Gollnick, H. (2018). Female type of adult acne: Physiological and psychological considerations and management. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 16(10), 1185-1194.
6- Apriani, E. F., Rosana, Y., & Iskandarsyah, I. (2019). Formulation, characterization, and in vitro testing of azelaic acid ethosome-based cream against Propionibacterium acnes for the treatment of acne. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 10(2), 75.
7- Nazzaro-Porro, M. (1987). Azelaic acid. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 17(6), 1033-1041.
8- Shah, S. K., & Alexis, A. F. (2010). Acne in skin of color: practical approaches to treatment. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 21(3), 206-211.
9- Mazurek, K., & Pierzchała, E. (2016). Comparison of efficacy of products containing azelaic acid in melasma treatment. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 15(3), 269-282.
10- Williamson, T., Cameron, J., McLeod, K., Turner, B., Quillen, A., & LaRose, A. (2018). Patient Concerns and Treatment Satisfaction in Patients Treated with Azelaic Acid Foam for Rosacea. SKIN The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine, 2(S1), S36.


An active plant extract from German Chamomile. It has anti-inflammatory and skin-smoothing properties.


-Kamatou, G. P., & Viljoen, A. M. (2010). A review of the application and pharmacological properties of α‐Bisabolol and α‐Bisabolol‐rich oils. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 87(1), 1-7. 
-“a-Bisabolol is a naturally occurring sesquiterpene alcohol which was first isolated from Matricaria chamomilla (Asteraceae) in the twentieth century and has since been identified in other aromatic plants such as Eremanthus erythropappus, Smyrniopsis aucheri, and Vanillosmopsis species” 
-“The use of a-bisabolol or bisabolol-rich oil as an anti-inflammatory is ubiquitous” “Due to the low toxicity associated with bisabolol the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted this constituent with Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status which has promoted its use as an active ingredient in several commercial products” 
-“It [a-bisabolol] is a preferred active ingredient for protecting against the recurring stresses of the environment on the skin” 
-“The most important biological activities of bisabolol are the anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antibacterial, and non-allergenic properties” 
-“Bisabolol is a very lipophilic substance, with a propensity to oxidise. It is almost insoluble in water, nevertheless, soluble in ethanol” 
-“In many parts of the world, German chamomile (confusingly referred to as ‘European ginseng’) is considered to have panacea-like properties (universal drug) and it is used to treat a diversity of conditions”
“The high level of a-bisabolol present in chamomile oil is credited for providing the several biological properties ranging from anti-infective activity to anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anticholinesterase properties, and also for its ability to enhance transdermal drug permeation” 
-“The antioxidant activity has been determined by investigating the effects of a-bisabolol to interfere with reactive oxygen species (ROS) on chemiluminescence of human neutrophil bursts” 
-“Chamomile essential oil is well known and has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory agent and for alleviating the symptoms associated with eczema, dermatitis, and other pronounced irritation” 
-“Volatile constituents of the essential oil of chamomile, notably chamazulene and a-bisabolol, exert anti-inflammatory activity partly due to the inhibition of leukotriene synthesis” 
-"The results indicated that a-bisabolol inhibited the CRE activation induced by a-MSH. Similarly, the compound reduced the melanin content induced by a-MSH”

Borago Officinalis

Also known as the Starflower, it has anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamomilla Recutita

Extract known to have anti-irritant, antioxidant, Cleanser and soothing benefits.


-Ferreira, E. B., Vasques, C. I., Jesus, C. A. C., & Reis, P. E. D. (2015). Topical effects of Chamomilla Recutita in skin damage: A literature review. Pharmacol Online, 3, 123-130. -“Among the wide variety of medicinal herbs, Chamomilla recutita (C. recutita) Asteracea family plant, stands out and it has one of the most common uses of the herbal therapeutic forms” 
-“Its anti-inflammatory properties have been widely described such as antioxidant activity, antispasmodic, sedative, anti-microbial, anti-allergic, anti-hyperglycaemic, and antimicrobial, justifying the recognized use as a medicinal herb”
-“The use of C. recutita has been described for different skin conditions, such as eczema and skin irritations” 
-“The C. recutita consists of terpenes (bisabolol and chamazulene), flavonoids (apigenin and coumarins), and steroids. Terpenes and flavonoids act by inhibiting the classical pathway of complement system and interfering with the metabolism of arachidonic acid by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis and alleviating the enzymes cyclooxygenase pathway, which justifies the anti-inflammatory activity of the plant”

Everlasting Oil

Also known as Helichrysum, it reduces inflammation and speeds the skin’s healing process.

Geranium Oil

An astringent with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.


A humectant or “water magnet” that binds with water molecules and traps them in skin cells. Replicates and enhances the skin’s self-moisturizing ability.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid (GA) is a naturally-derived ingredient used in skin care for exfoliation in the treatment of facial scarring, acne, pigmentation-related issues, and overall skin rejuvenation. It holds a strong and long-lasting reputation within the cosmetic industry for its efficacy, safety in application, and its ability to penetrate well into the epidermis.

What is Glycolic Acid and where does it come from?

Originally obtained from sugarcane, Glycolic Acid is the smallest of the alpha-hydroxy acid group, a group of acids derived from fruits that also contain other well-known ingredients such as Lactic Acid. 
Glycolic Acid, contains smaller molecules than any of the other acids within its group, and as such can go deeper into the epidermis to treat acne scars with more localization and efficacy
Due to its gentler nature than more intensive acne-treatment ingredients, like Benzoyl Peroxide, it is regularly used for those with sensitive skin or with higher risk for hyperpigmentation following other treatments. 
GA is also an antioxidant, contains bactericidal properties that help to kill the bacteria responsible for acne (propionibacterium acne), and is hydrophilic in nature (which allows it to penetrate the water barrier of skin cells)
This creates an exfoliative property for Glycolic Acid which allows it to thin the outer layer of the skin in order to disperse melanin, create a thicker epidermis, and restore skin texture.

What does it do to skin and how does it work?

Glycolic Acid’s role as an exfoliating agent is defined by its ability to deconstruct the epidermis and reduce protein buildups (such as in blackheads and acne), create the reduction of pustules and papules (infected and inflamed skin), and compliment the restoration of fibers.
This exfoliating property allows GA to effectively target superficial and medium-depth issues of the epidermis with a high efficacy, allowing natural healing to occur at the point of penetration. This enables a renewal of healthier and replenished skin tissue, which addresses many issues related to scarring, texture, and aging.

This is accomplished through the low pH of alpha-hydroxy acids, as they are able to increase trans-membrane permeability in cells (which weakens the cell barrier). The newly fragile barrier enables GA to force the mobilization of epithelial cells to repair and replace damaged skin, as it uses epidermolysis (a temporary loosening of the skin to force healing) on the old/deteriorated skin.

The acidic nature of GA helps it to rejuvenate skin once entering the epidermis by reducing follicular pores, acne-scarring, melanosis, and the development of new acne lesions.

Despite these acidic properties of GA, it is also an anti-inflammatory and positively treats inflamed areas of the skin (such as acne lesions) with a high efficacy -- helping to prevent post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation following the controlled removal of the treated skin.

The actual mechanism that helps to treat skin and pigment issues is referred to as epidermal remodeling and/or desquamation (skin peeling) which allows Glycolic Acid to force the healing factor of the skin to begin, and replenishes the old or damaged areas of the epidermis with newly-renewed skin.
This ability disperses melanin/pigment in areas of sun damage, or those suffering from post-acne hyperpigmentation, and restores collagen and elasticity in the affected areas.

How does it help to treat skin conditions?

Glycolic Acid is primarily used to target issues such as: acne/acne scars, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma, dry skin, and fine-lines/wrinkling. In the treatment of acne, the direct effect of GA’s bactericidal properties on propionibacterium acne provides a large part of its treatment abilities for both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.

Clinical studies, which follow GA’s efficacy for acne treatment, have concluded that there is a significant reduction in the reproduction of new acne spots and a high ability to treat blackheads and inflamed acne following its use for exfoliation.
Along with its ability to cleanse pores, it is also able to increase the absorption of other topical agents used for acne -- allowing even further healing when used in conjunction with other ingredients.
Beyond its uses in the treatment of acne, Glycolic Acid is used to treat the aftereffects of acne and sun damage. Both commonly result in pigment and texture issues within the skin, such as: post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma, and acne scars. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) follows the over-production of melanin and/or an irregular dispersion of pigment that is most commonly associated with any type of skin infection, or the other major sources of inflammation (sun damage, dry skin, etc.). 

The replenishing factor of Glycolic Acid also helps to treat issues such as dry skin, acne-scarring, and fine-lines/wrinkles due to renewed collagen within the skin.

The ability to exfoliate and replenish skin, reduce inflammation, and inhibit melanin production reduces most major contributory issues for texture and pigment, which has led Glycolic Acid to be regularly employed and studied for the treatment of many skin disorders -- with all studies of its efficacy concluding highly promising results

How long does it take to work and how often should it be used?

The best results for Glycolic Acid strongly depend on its mode of application, condition it is being used to treat, and concentration in the specific product it is contained within. As an example, chemical peels (performed by professionals in certified clinics) have been observed to be most-effectively used for five sequential treatments every two weeks at a concentration of 70%,5 but typical home-use applications are generally used once each day. This means it is important to follow the application instructions on the product that is to be used. As the results can vary in efficacy and time depending on the modality of treatment and severity of condition, timelines can be difficult to establish on a continuous basis; however, some studies have noticed demonstrable results at the twelve-week mark in the improvement of acne, scarring, pigmentation, and texture.

Although this twelve-week point may have come up in multiple studies, the product provider and instructions should be followed in order to achieve the best results for the chosen concentration of Glycolic Acid.

What are its side-effects?

The side-effects of Glycolic Acid are explored regularly through clinical studies, and have been proven to not be very significant or lasting in effect, with the large majority of patients not experiencing any.

Glycolic Acid is concluded to be one of the most reliable ingredients to use as an exfoliant or through topical application, and is regularly employed for those with safety concerns due to its wide versatility and ability to penetrate the epidermis without (aside from rare cases) side-effects.

How does it work compared to Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and Lactic Acid?

Glycolic Acid is often compared to other alpha-hydroxy acids like Lactic, and other treatments for pigment and texture such as Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, and Salicylic Acid. As the properties of each are different, it can heavily affect what they are being used to treat, and their comparison is done in respect to certain conditions. Vitamin C overlaps most heavily with Glycolic Acid as an antioxidant and treatment for pigmentary issues within the skin, but Vitamin C is a more-targeted ingredient for hyperpigmentation and UV protection compared to GA; conversely, Glycolic Acid is mainly used as an acne treatment (so a combination of the two is most likely to lead to the highest skin-care benefits).11
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a complex type of acid that exists within the dermis and epidermis, and is responsible for hydration within the majority of mammals. When applied topically, it is able to restore moisture to the skin (resulting in a plumping/firming effect) and can effectively treat dry skin.12 

This application is different than Glycolic Acid’s primary use of exfoliation, and the combination of these two acids is extremely beneficial in cleaning and hydrating skin. However, GA (due to its smaller molecules) is a gentler solution for the penetration of the skin and is better suited for treating acne and exfoliation, due to its smaller molecule size and ability to act as an anti-inflammatory.4 Salicylic Acid (SA) is a beta-hydroxy acid, making it a different type of acid than Glycolic Acid; this differentiation in acid-type indicates SA is able to penetrate lipid (oily) barriers in cells due to the lipophilic properties of beta-hydroxy acids -- while GA (an alpha-hydroxy) is water-soluble, so it is unable to pass through those same oily barriers.. This provides a key difference between Glycolic Acid and SA, as beyond the epidermis (into the dermis) there is an increasing difficulty in permeability, and GA is not able to penetrate these due to its inability to pass through oils/fats in the cells.2,3 
For the treatment of comedones (blackheads) and dermal (as opposed to epidermal) melasma, Salicylic Acid is proven to be more effective due to its lipophilic nature, but as it penetrates deeper into the skin, it is more ideal from those with deep-scarring or specific types of acne.2,3

Glycolic Acid is better suited to superficial active and inflamed acne lesions (pustules), while Salicylic is better for closed off/oily pores (blackheads). Lactic Acid is another alpha-hydroxy acid, found in sour milk and bilberries, and is extremely similar to Glycolic Acid in both treatment use and penetrative ability.3 They share the ability to cause epidermolysis (the regeneration of skin) during exfoliation, target acne-prone molecules, and lighten areas suffering from pigment issues.3,11 

In comparison, Glycolic Acid (due to its smaller size) is able to target microfibers within the skin with more accuracy, but degrades the fibers more slowly than LA due to its smaller molecular weight.13 

This means that Lactic Acid is more likely to show results quickly, but does not share the same micro-penetration that Glycolic Acid is able to achieve.


1- Khee, H. J., May, L. M., Sam, Y. S., Derrick, A. C. W., & Sue-Ann, H. (2017). The efficacy and safety of a 70% glycolic acid peel with vitamin C for the treatment of acne scars. Journal of Surgical Dermatology, 2(4), 209-213.
2- Sarkar, R., Garg, V., Bansal, S., Sethi, S., & Gupta, C. (2016). Comparative evaluation of efficacy and tolerability of glycolic acid, salicylic mandelic acid, and phytic acid combination peels in melasma. Dermatologic Surgery, 42(3), 384-391.
3- Castillo, D. E., & Keri, J. E. (2018). Chemical peels in the treatment of acne: patient selection and perspectives. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 11, 365.
4- WANG, C. M., HUANG, C. L., SINDY HU, C. T., & CHAN, H. L. (1997). The effect of glycolic acid on the treatment of acne in Asian skin. Dermatologic surgery, 23(1), 23-29.
5- Fabbrocini, G., Annunziata, M. C., D'arco, V., De Vita, V., Lodi, G., Mauriello, M. C., ... & Monfrecola, G. (2010). Acne scars: pathogenesis, classification and treatment. Dermatology research and practice, 2010. 
6- Chandrashekar, B. S., Ashwini, K. R., Vasanth, V., & Navale, S. (2015). Retinoic acid and glycolic acid combination in the treatment of acne scars. Indian dermatology online journal, 6(2), 84. 
7- Govindarajan, N. (2018). A comparative study of the resurfacing effect of microdermabrasion versus glycolic acid peel in the management of acne scars. Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatology, 28(2), 224-232. 
8- Chien, A. L., Qi, J., Rainer, B., Sachs, D. L., & Helfrich, Y. R. (2016). Treatment of acne in pregnancy. J Am Board Fam Med, 29(2), 254-262. 
9- Rosario, A. M., & Monteiro, R. (2015). A comparative study to assess the safety and efficacy of 12% glycolic acid v/s 10% azelaic acid in the treatment of post acne hyperpigmentation. Int J Sci Res Publ, 5, 25-34. 
10- Sarkar, R., Garg, V., Bansal, S., Sethi, S., & Gupta, C. (2016). Comparative evaluation of efficacy and tolerability of glycolic acid, salicylic mandelic acid, and phytic acid combination peels in melasma. Dermatologic Surgery, 42(3), 384-391. 
11- Tran, D., Townley, J. P., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2015). An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 9. 
12- Rivera, A. E. (2008). Acne scarring: a review and current treatment modalities. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 59(4), 659-676. 
13- Li, S. (1999). Hydrolytic degradation characteristics of aliphatic polyesters derived from lactic and glycolic acids. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: An Official Journal of The Society for Biomaterials, The Japanese Society for Biomaterials, and The Australian Society for Biomaterials, 48(3), 342-353.

3 Step Daily Skin Care Kit

Green Tea

An antioxidant-rich ingredient that also helps to repair and calm inflamed skin.

Hylauronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a common ingredient used in moisturizers for the purpose of increasing topical drug application efficacy, anti-aging, and as a solution to dry skin. It has many functions within the human body, and its high-water retention allows it the ability to be used either by itself or in combination with other ingredients with a high level of effectiveness.

What is Hyaluronic Acid and where does it come from?

Hyaluronic Acid, termed occasionally as “nature’s moisturizer,” is a high-molecular weight carbohydrate that is bound together by sugar molecules.1 
It was first discovered in 1934 inside the eyeball of a cow,2 and is responsible for skin hydration, joint lubrication, filling space within the skin, and creating the framework that cells use to migrate.3 

It was first used commercially as an egg-white substitute (in 1942)1, but it was then discovered that skin contains fifty-percent of its total volume within the body and its effects in dermatological functions began to be studied.2,3 

HA is predominantly known for its unique capacity to retain water within a state between solid and liquid called viscoelasticity. The higher the molecular weight of Hyaluronic Acid being used (which can be modified through laboratory processes), the more effective it is in water-retention.2 
The most unique part of HA is its capacity to attract and retain water molecules that are roughly one-thousand times the weight of its own molecules.4 
It is able to do this through its hygroscopic (the ability to attract moisture) and hydrophilic (water-loving) properties, which allow it to form large concentrations of water in certain areas of the skin (such as the dermis and epidermis).4,5

How does it work and what does it do for the skin?

The overall hydration of the skin is entirely dependent on the amount of water bound to Hyaluronic Acid molecules within the dermis, as well as the most vital areas of the epidermis, and the skin’s moisture is maintained out of the continued survival of the stratum granulosum (the waterproof layer of the epidermis that prevents water loss during the shedding of dead skin cells).3 

The loss of water in the epidermis, prevented by the presence of HA in the stratum gransoleum barrier, subsequently results in the loss of collagen and elastin (responsible for maintaining skin plumpness and texture); the water that supplies the barrier is sourced from the dermis and is stopped by the other side of the membrane, which is made of lipids (that prevent the further release of water).3 Hyaluronic Acid present in the dermis allows a regulation of water volume, pressure, ion flow, and stabilizes the different structures of the skin using electrostatic properties.3 

As aging occurs, while the dermal HA remains, the epidermal Hyaluronic acid is significantly reduced -- as demonstrated, in studies, by the large presence of HA in infants versus the elderly.6 

The topical application of Hyaluronic Acid inherently allows its, and other ingredients’, absorption into keratin (protein build-ups such as blackheads), epidermal, and dermal layers which allow the stratum granulosum layer to rebuild (which, consequently, results in the production of collagen and elastin) and acne-treating ingredients to be able to target difficult-to-access cells.2 

It is able to be absorbed through three key functions of the skin: specific HA receptors that are able to place the absorbed HA into the correct locations, the structure of HA which allows it to penetrate, and its ability to hydrate the surface area of the skin. These functions allow Hyaluronic Acid, and the ingredients with it, to be retained in the epidermis.2

What are its benefits for aging?

The two conditions that Hyaluronic Acid is most commonly used to treat are visible signs of skin-aging and dryness. As aging is signified by a thinning of the skin and a loss of elasticity from intrinsic (the natural unpreventable process)/extrinsic (photoaging or other sources of skin damage, a loss of moisture contributes to the visible appearance or representation of both disorders.3,7 
Whether intrinsically or extrinsically aged, there are elevated levels of degraded collagen synthesis as the damage/aging of the skin increases.3 Hyaluronic Acid is able to directly increase the collagen levels of the skin and treat superficial wrinkles through the augmentation of specific collagen-producing tissues within the skin.7 
Its anti-aging effect is accomplished through its multifunctional properties of collagen-restoration, water-binding, the ability to moderate tissue hydration, and to heal wounds within the skin.8

What are its benefits for dry skin?

Dry skin tends to occur (along with aging) from the decrease of Hyaluronic Acid within the skin, which results in reduced dermal hydration and its resultant redness.7 Hyaluronic Acid, is a popular ingredient in cosmetics for its (clinically-proven) ability to improve tissue hydration, it is able to accelerate the healing process of dry and damaged areas.6 
One of the more-common types of dry skin is called actinic keratoses (AKS) (scaly spots or patches) that are normally induced by sunlight. Hyaluronic Acid has been studied as a treatment method for AKS, and a significant decrease in severity was observable within 60 to 90 days of regular and consistent application.6

Hyaluronic Acid’s topical application also increases the hydration of the stratum corneum which allows a soothing protective film that helps to prevent further damage to the functioning of the skin, and actively reduces the recurrence of inflammation. It has been proven to assist with different forms of dry skin (xerosis, atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis, etc.) with up to 78.5% improvement recorded in the treated areas.7,9

Is it safe?

Hyaluronic Acid, as an ingredient found naturally within the body, has no major adverse reactions that have been recorded.2,7  It is found within almost every species -- which limits the likelihood of allergic or systemic reactions upon application.


1- Necas, J. B. L. B. P., Bartosikova, L., Brauner, P., & Kolar, J. (2008). Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan): a review. Veterinarni medicina, 53(8), 397-411. 
2- Price, R. D., Berry, M. G., & Navsaria, H. A. (2007). Hyaluronic acid: the scientific and clinical evidence. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 60(10), 1110-1119. 
3- Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., & Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 253-258. 
4- Kafi, R., Kwak, H. S. R., Schumacher, W. E., Cho, S., Hanft, V. N., Hamilton, T. A., ... & Voorhees, J. J. (2007). Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin a (retinol). Archives of dermatology, 143(5), 606-612. 
5- Gold, M. H. (2007). Use of hyaluronic acid fillers for the treatment of the aging face. Clinical interventions in aging, 2(3), 369. 
6- Weindl, G., Schaller, M., Schäfer-Korting, M., & Korting, H. C. (2004). Hyaluronic acid in the treatment and prevention of skin diseases: molecular biological, pharmaceutical and clinical aspects. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 17(5), 207-213. 
7- Duranti, F., Salti, G., Bovani, B., Calandra, M., & Rosati, M. L. (1998). Injectable hyaluronic acid gel for soft tissue augmentation: A clinical and histological study. Dermatologic surgery, 24(12), 1317-1325. 
8- Farwick, M., Lersch, P., & Strutz, G. (2008). Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid: its effects on epidermal gene expression & skin ageing. SÖFW Journal, 134(11), 17. 
9- Kraft, J. N., & Lynde, C. W. (2005). Moisturizers: what they are and a practical approach to product selection. Skin Therapy Lett, 10(5), 1-8.

Kojic Acid

First being marketed within the skincare industry in 1955,1 Kojic Acid (KA) is an FDA-approved common skin-brightening ingredient that has recently resurged in popularity in the last few years .2 It is derived from only natural substances, and was discovered through the fermentation of rice wine in 1907; it is proven to assist with the preservation and restoration of natural pigment in fruits, vegetables, and humans.3

What is Kojic Acid and how does it work?

Kojic Acid is a fungal metabolite found within mushroom spores used for the fermentation of multiple kinds of food (such as sake and soybean paste)4 which works by inhibiting tyrosinase -- one of the enzymes which is responsible for stimulating melanin production in melanocytes (the skin cells containing pigment).5 
Although melanin is an important factor in UV radiation protection and is what determines the color of skin, hair, and eyes, the overproduction of melanocytes from a variety of factors (such as: sunlight exposure, aging, pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations, acne, and even medications)1 can lead to issues such as melasma, hyperpigmentation, and other pigment-related skin disorders.5 
Melanin is produced within the innermost layers of the epidermis, where the tyrosinase enzyme bonds to copper ions to begin a process called melanogenesis (the production of melanocytes).6 In order to prevent melanin production that exceeds a healthy amount, Kojic Acid works by serving as a primary inhibitor for tyrosinase and stops melanocyte creation before it starts by capturing the copper ions and bonding itself to them.1 By using this method, Kojic Acid is able to slow the production of melanin with incredible efficacy -- allowing the skin to naturally brighten and correct itself to a more-even tone.

What conditions does Kojic Acid help to treat, what are its benefits, and does it cause acne?

Kojic Acid is clinically proven to treat a wide-variety of skin-pigment disorders,1,7 which can result in abnormal or uneven skin tones, such as:
-Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation -(PIH) 
-Age spots 
-Sun damage 

Other benefits of Kojic Acid:
-Proven to reduce acne scars and uneven skin tones1
-Able to stop and reverse hyperpigmentation from occurring8
-It is nontoxic9
-Works for anti-aging6 
-Clinically-tested to be more effective than many other skin-brightening options5

It is actually proven to be important that Kojic Acid is involved as early as possible in acne treatments in order to help prevent scarring or excessive hyperpigmentation before it begins.11 The use of Kojic Acid will supplement any currently existing routines for those who are acne-prone.

How long does it take for Kojic Acid to brighten skin?

Kojic Acid has been observed on a cellular level to suppress hyperpigmentation in melanocytes within only a few minutes after application.7 However, visible results of the treatment have been observed to take anywhere from 8-35 days depending on the extent of the skin issue, but continued and regular use will help to observe and prolong the brightening effect.12

Is Kojic Acid safe, and how is it different from hydroquinone?

The main side-effect of Kojic Acid use on the skin is called contact dermatitis, and, while rare, it is most commonly seen on patients with sensitive skin. It can result in skin irritation, rashes, inflammation, and itchiness,1 but in the low concentrations used in skin-brighteners it has proven to have a minimal/no effect -- especially when combined with other ingredients that help to soothe any form of inflammation.9 
Kojic Acid is one of the most extensively studied ingredients for skin-lightening within the cosmetics industry.6 The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has done thorough investigations into its toxicity through short-term, long-term, and genetic studies, and concluded that it showed absolutely no toxic properties.9 The FDA regularly reviews the ingredients being distributed within skin-brighteners and ensures that they are suitable for use by average consumers.2

Hydroquinone was the industry-standard for skin-brightening until the last few years, because of its powerful effect on hyperpigmentation; however, within the last few years it was proven to cause permanent damage to melanocytes, and thus irreversibly remove UV protection from the skin.5 This new discovery caused most major countries (including Canada as of August 2018)13 to ban it from all over-the-counter cosmetics. Conversely, Kojic Acid has been proven to provide similarly powerful results to hydroquinone and without the negative side-effects.8


1- Saeedi Majid, Eslamifar Masoumeh, Khezri Khadijeh. (2019). Kojic acid applications in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, (110), 583-593.
2- How FDA evaluates regulated products: Cosmetics. (2018, September 14). Retrieved from
3- Rodrigues, A. G. (2016). Secondary Metabolism and Antimicrobial Metabolites of Aspergillus. In New and Future Developments in Microbial Biotechnology and Bioengineering(pp. 81-93). Elsevier.
4- Park, H. S., Jun, S. C., Han, K. H., Hong, S. B., & Yu, J. H. (2017). Diversity, application, and synthetic biology of industrially important Aspergillus fungi. In Advances in applied microbiology (Vol. 100, pp. 161-202). Academic Press.
5- Sang Yeul Lee, Namhuk Baek & Tae-gyu Nam (2016) Natural, semisynthetic and synthetic tyrosinase inhibitors, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, 31:1, 1-13,DOI: 10.3109/14756366.2015.1004058
6- Saghaie, L., Pourfarzam, M., Fassihi, A., & Sartippour, B. (2013). Synthesis and tyrosinase inhibitory properties of some novel derivatives of kojic acid. Research in pharmaceutical sciences, 8(4), 233–242.
7- Cabanes, J., Chazarra, S., & Garcia-Carmona, F. (1994, December). Kojic acid, a cosmetic skin whitening agent, is a slow binding inhibitor of catecholase activity of tyrosinase [Abstract]. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 46(12), 982-985. Retrieved from
8- Mohamad, R., Mohamed, M.S., Suhaili, N., Salleh, M. M., & Ariff, A. B. (2010). Kojic acid: Applications and development of fermentation process for production. Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 5(2), 24-37.
9- Burnett, C. L., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Liebler, D. C., … Andersen, F. A. (2010, Nov-Dec). Final report of the safety assessment of kojic acid as used in cosmetics [Abstract]. International Journal of Toxicology, 29(6 Suppl), 244S-73. Retrieved from
10- Tung, R. C., Bergfeld, W. F., Vidimos, A. T., & Remzi, B. K. (2000). α-Hydroxy acid-based cosmetic procedures. American journal of clinical dermatology, 1(2), 81-88.
11- Shah, S. K., & Alexis, A. F. (2010). Acne in skin of color: practical approaches to treatment. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 21(3), 206-211.
12- Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Sakai, K., Takeda, N., & Nagahata, T. (2002). The skin-lightening effects of artocarpin on UVB-induced pigmentation. Planta medica, 68(01), 79-81.
13- Assessment, P. R. (2017). Hydroquinone skin lighteners. Drug Safety, 11(1), 2.

Lactic Acid

Lactic Acid (LA) is one of the most well-known alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), derived from natural and biodegradable sources, and has been employed by the cosmetic industry for the treatment of issues related to pigment, dry/scaly skin, and natural wrinkling/fine-lines that occur during the aging process. Due to its long history and frequency of use, it has been studied extensively in order to determine its efficacy and safety.

What is Lactic Acid and where does it come from?

Lactic Acid is derived from sour milk or bilberries, and has been used for anti-aging, acne treatments, and dry skin for time immemorial; it traces its first origin in recorded history back to Cleopatra, who bathed in it to maintain a youthful appearance.1 It is a low-molecular-weight organic acid which was first identified in 1780 by Swedish Chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.2 Lactic Acid became known for specific and unique benefits for skin that are only associated with the alpha-hydroxy acid group.2 The other most popular alpha-hydroxy acid, Glycolic Acid, did not enter the market until 1990, whereas Lactic Acid has been in use since 1975.3 For the use of the cosmetic and dermatological industry, it tends to be used in isolated or synthetic forms (in order to reduce the risk of side-effects), and is normally injected or applied topically in order to achieve the most benefit for epidermal disorders.

What does it do to the skin?

It is best to explore Lactic Acid in reference to its effects on pigmentation, dry skin, and wrinkling, as the specific mechanisms LA utilizes work on the three simultaneously -- but the way the conditions benefit from its application can differ. In the function of pigmentary-issue resolution, Lactic Acid works in two main ways: through the inhibition of the tyrosinase enzyme responsible for the production of melanin and by causing an accelerated rate of regeneration of the skin-barrier, allowing areas damaged by UV radiation to be replenished and pigment damage to be reduced.6

The tyrosinase enzyme is a primary part of melanin’s production and, when there are free radicals from UVA and UVB rays present in the skin, it can be forced into an over-productive state that results in age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and melasma that are associated with sun damage and aging.6 

By inhibiting tyrosinase upon application (either topical or injectable), Lactic Acid is able to prevent this formation from occurring -- but only to the point where it is beyond the natural protective barrier needed for sun protection.6

The other way that Lactic Acid is able to assist with pigmentation is through a regeneration of the epidermis (called epidermal remodelling), which is regulated by a process called desquamation (the shedding of dead skin cells).1 This process is controlled by cells called cytokines, signal cells released by other cells/proteins in the skin, that let the body know when to refresh the skin barrier with new skin cells.7

Lactic Acid is able to manipulate the secretion of cytokines and forces a more-rapid regeneration of skin cells in the areas being treated -- allowing a new layer of fresh skin cells to replace the old, over-pigmented ones8. This accelerates the desquamation process, and while doing so, LA also decreases the thickness of the epidermis by removing the adhesive properties of corneocytes (the far-outer layer of skin cells that are the first defense of the skin)1.

The new layer of epidermis that follows the desquamation of the old one allows new, normally-pigmented, skin to take its place. This mechanism of recycling the older barrier also provides refreshment to areas suffering from dry skin and wrinkling -- and increases the thickness of the skin which helps to cover facial lesions.5

The other major property of Lactic Acid that allows it to specifically help with areas struggling with dryness, or subsequent wrinkling from a lack of moisture, is its role as an alpha-hydroxy acid. AHAs are known for their ability to promote increased hyaluronic acid absorption in the epidermis and dermis, which is necessary for the retention of moisture in the skin.9

Topical AHAs and LA also create increased collagen production in the skin through the use of inflammation, which forces a natural healing reaction that restores elasticity to the skin.2 Wrinkles and fine-lines are generally a result of a loss of collagen and elasticity through aging and sun-damage, and Lactic Acid is able to directly reduce those effects when it forces the healing factor to target specific areas by causing controlled inflammation.

What conditions can it help treat, and what are its benefits?

Through Lactic Acid’s many properties, such as: its ability to cause epidermal remodeling, the inhibition of tyrosinase, and the retention of moisture by stimulating the release of hyaluronic acid, it is able to treat pigmentary issues, areas suffering from dry skin, and wrinkles with a high efficacy.3

Multiple studies have explored the various benefits and results of applying Lactic Acid with highly satisfactory results.5,8.9,10 In comparison to other treatments, Lactic Acid has proven to be superior in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, sallowness/hollowness, and roughness of the skin.10

In differing concentrations of Lactic Acid (ranging from 2% - 70%), it has also been used to treat other conditions such as: acne, ichthyosis, keratoses, warts, psoriasis, photoaged skin, and more. The measured improvements for each were decreases in skin roughness, discoloration, protein build-ups, pigmentary issues, and skin-elasticity.8 Volume lost in the aging process has been successfully restored (in part) by the application of Poly-L-Lactic Acid (a synthetic derivative of Lactic Acid), which proved to be able to restore a youthful contour to parts of the face struggling from skin laxity or wrinkling.11

How long does it take to work?

Lactic Acid is available in many different cosmetological and dermatological products and services and, as each one uses differing concentrations depending on the treatment required, the time it takes to work will be different for each person using it and the severity of the condition to be treated. It is best to follow the product instructions of any cosmeceutical containing Lactic Acid to ensure best results within the anticipated timeline provided by the manufacturer.

What are its side-effects?

Lactic Acid is renowned for its ability to treat epidermal issues with very low side-effects. As with most cosmetic acids, the most common side-effect is increased sun sensitivity.2 Other side-effects noticed during the studies was mild irritation/redness of the skin, but those were observed to decrease with continued use.9

How is it different from Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic Acid is a part of the beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) group, which is a type of acid that differs in penetrative abilities deeper into the epidermis. Although they are both naturally-derived acids, their disbursement to treat skin conditions tends to be different due to their innate properties. While AHAs tend to be used for the epidermis due to their inability to penetrate oily barriers, BHAs are able to penetrate those same barriers with a high efficacy. This makes SA more suitable for treating issues within the dermis (the deeper layer underneath the epidermis), especially blackheads and oily/enlarged pores. As it is a more intensive form of acid, it is not generally used to treat the more superficial issues that LA is better suited for.1


1- Castillo, D. E., & Keri, J. E. (2018). Chemical peels in the treatment of acne: patient selection and perspectives. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 11, 365.
2- Alsaheb, R. A. A., Aladdin, A., Othman, N. Z., Malek, R. A., Leng, O. M., Aziz, R., & Enshasy, H. A. E. (2015). Lactic acid applications in pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical industries. J. Chem. Pharm. Res, 7(10), 729-735.
3- Harding, C. R., & Rawlings, A. V. (2005). 18 Effects of Natural Moisturizing Factor and Lactic Acid Isomers on Skin Function.
4- Graf, J. (2005). Anti-aging skin care ingredient technologies. In Cosmetic dermatology (pp. 17-28). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
5- Schierle, C. F., & Casas, L. A. (2011). Nonsurgical rejuvenation of the aging face with injectable poly-L-lactic acid for restoration of soft tissue volume. Aesthetic surgery journal, 31(1), 95-109.
6- Chen, M. J., Liu, J. R., Sheu, J. F., Lin, C. W., & Chuang, C. L. (2006). Study on skin care properties of milk kefir whey. Asian-australasian journal of animal sciences, 19(6), 905-908.
7- Hänel, K., Cornelissen, C., Lüscher, B., & Baron, J. (2013). Cytokines and the skin barrier. International journal of molecular sciences, 14(4), 6720-6745.
8- Kornhauser, A., Coelho, S. G., & Hearing, V. J. (2010). Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology: CCID, 3, 135.
9- Tran, D., Townley, J. P., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2015). An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 9.
10- Stiller, M. J., Bartolone, J., Stern, R., Smith, S., Kollias, N., Gillies, R., & Drake, L. A. (1996). Topical 8% glycolic acid and 8% L-lactic acid creams for the treatment of photodamaged skin: a double-blind vehicle-controlled clinical trial. Archives of dermatology, 132(6), 631-636.
11- Beer, K., & Beer, J. (2009). Overview of facial aging. Facial plastic surgery, 25(05), 281-284.
12- Ali, S. M., & Yosipovitch, G. (2013). Skin pH: from basic science to basic skin care. Acta dermato-venereologica, 93(3), 261-269.
13- Grove, G., & Zerweck, C. (2004). An evaluation of the moisturizing and anti-itch effects of a lactic acid and pramoxine hydrochloride cream. CUTIS-NEW YORK-, 73(2), 135-139.

Methyl Gluceth-20

Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide


Retinoic Acid


Retinol (ROL) is known for its potent effects in the prevention and restoration of two main skin concerns: anti-aging and acne. It is more commonly known as the biologically active form of Vitamin A, and is a necessary requirement for many of the body’s functions for healthy skin.

What is Retinol and where does it come from?

Retinol is a 20-carbon molecule that belongs to the retinoid family -- defined as molecules that bind to and activate the retinoic acid receptors within the body (serving important functions for eyesight, tissue maintenance, blood-cell production, etc.).1,2 
The most common retinoids used within skincare are retinol and retinoic acid (tretinoin).
The use of Vitamin A for the body has been traced back to Ancient Egypt, however, Vitamin A was not isolated as until 1909, where it was discovered within egg yolks as an essential part of embryonic development.1 During World War I, ROL’s role in skin health began to be examined and a deficiency of Vitamin A was discovered to cause issues such as dry skin and scaly lesions. In 1968 (as a result of the earlier studies), laboratories began to synthesize it chemically for a variety of medical purposes -- making retinol/Vitamin A the first vitamin to have been synthesized within a laboratory.1,4

This was done as Vitamin A cannot be produced by the body naturally, and it is a vital ingredient for many functions of the body. Its use (both topically and via digestion) is beneficial for healthy circulation and skin-functioning;1 for skin, specifically, there are cells in the epidermis and dermis that contain all the proteins and receptors necessary to mediate retinol’s biological effects within the body -- allowing the base form of retinol to be broken down into its constituents and mobilized, which leads to a variety of positive effects for skin health. 5

How does it work within the skin?

Retinol helps accelerate positive biological reactions within the skin that help to address skin-aging and acne through a variety of unique mechanisms and properties. 

There are three ways that topical retinol is known to positively affect photoaging (called extrinsic aging) of the epidermis:
1- through the initiation of epidermal proliferation (skin-cell production that results in thicker skin for areas thinned from age),1
2- by compacting the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis),1
3- and the generation of new connective tissues (retinol increases production of sugars called glycosaminoglycans which form the connective layers).1

Recordable damage within the dermis caused by extrinsic/intrinsic aging tends to be a reduction in vascularity and transportative ability due to a breakdown of the extracellular matrix environment (a semi-solid layer that serves as a protective barrier for the skin).5 Retinol is shown to be able to assist with the restoration of this layer through the same mechanisms it utilizes to treat the epidermis (proliferation, compaction, and generation). 1,5,6,7,8

ROL is able to accomplish the regeneration of elastin and collagen within the skin through the inhibition of metalloproteinases (proteins which degrade aging/damaged areas of the skin) and the replacement of necessary fibroblasts that constitute the maintenance and regeneration of the dermis and epidermis.5,9 This allows it to treat aging/acne within both the outer (epidermal) and inner (dermal) layers of the skin simultaneously as it rebuilds the damaged layers, and targets destructive cells/proteins.

In the treatment of acne-related disorders, retinol has been renowned as a solution for many years due to its direct ability to modulate cellular proliferation, differentiation, inflammation, and sebum production within the epidermis.2 These modifying effects allow ROL to directly involve itself with current acne eruptions as well as the prevention of new acne lesions.

If inflammatory acne lesions do become/already are apparent, retinol targets these through the modification of immunomodulation, which causes the immune system to target the infected area for a direct treatment (directly attacking the source of the infection and simultaneously reducing inflammation).10 Retinol is also able to create an inhospitable environment in the sebaceous gland for propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria primarily responsible for inflamed acne, and allows further penetration of other topical drugs (which can work in conjunction with retinol to further treat the same or other skin disorders).3

The modification of sebum production allows normal cornification (the continual regeneration of the epidermis) to resume, whereas the sebaceous glands would otherwise be more liable to cause follicular infection (resulting in the maintenance of new/current acne).3

Retinol causes a variety of systemic reactions within the epidermis and dermis that allow it unique properties for anti-aging and the treatment of acne, which make it one of the most efficacious ingredients available.

What does it do to the skin?

The aforementioned effects of retinol on the epidermis and dermis are clinically proven to lead to a thickening and elasticizing of the skin, which leads to a direct treatment for areas suffering from collagen and elastin-loss (issues which result in skin laxity, wrinkling, and fine-lines).6 Its anti-aging effect comes in being able to improve these wrinkles, fine-lines, and photodamage within the skin with observably efficacious results.9
For inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions, studies have shown an observable reduction of up to 50%, which has led to topical retinoid’s usage in the treatment of acne for over 30 years.10 It effectively clears out comedones/infected follicles through immune-system responses post-application, leading to clearer and more-evenly toned skin (with direct effects shown for pigmented areas resulting from severe acne).6,8,10

What can it help to treat and what are its benefits?

- In premature skin aging (photo/extrinsic aging), degradation of the extra-cellular matrix can be directly treated with retinoids (offering a clinically-proven improvement of wrinkling).6
- In normal (intrinsic) skin aging, it has been proven to be able to assist with collagen/elastin production and restore elasticity and depth to lax/thin areas of the skin.7
- Clinical assessments of, specifically, wrinkles around the eyes (i.e. crow’s feet) have proven a significant decrease in appearance and recurrence following retinol application.9
- Pigmentation changes as a result of aging are also addressed (as a secondary effect), which can help to restore uneven skin tones.8

- Retinol has been proven to work for blackheads and inflammatory acne through a combination of anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to interrupt blackhead formation, and is considered the most efficacious comedolytic agent in the treatment of acne.3,10