Skin care decoded: How to not be confused by the packaging

Skin care decoded: How to not be confused by the packaging

Decoding skin care ingredients and knowing which skin care to choose can be confusing at the best of times. In this post we explore some highly effective skin care and the science behind how the ingredients work. At Revivify London we have a great selection from the leading skincare brands, Neostrata skin active systems, ZO and Obagi products; Dr Samizadeh can also help advise you on which products may work for you in your consultation.


Using skin care formulated with antioxidant complexes is a great way of preventing further damage to the skin, and is part of maintaining beautiful skin. Look for potent botanical actives such as green tea, grape seed extract and other fruit extracts. These compounds work by “mopping” up free radicals which cause oxidative damage and can lead to skin damage and ageing.  Antioxidants such as vitamin C have also been shown to  help protect against sun damage (Although an SPF is always needed)

AHAS (Alpha-hydroxy-acids)

Alpha-hydroxy-acids are acids usually derived from natural ingredients; for example: Glycolic acid is derived from sugar. AHAS can improve the appearance of sun damaged skin and give a smoother appearance. AHAs work by breaking the bonds between old, dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and this reveals new, healthier skin. In turn, this process catalyses deeper renewal below the surface layer of the skin.  Glycolic acid is used in chemical peels usually at a 70% concentration, but for at home care, exfoliation systems will be at around  a 10% concentration.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is an AHA and a powerful antioxidant used to help protect cells from free radical damage.

Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is commonly used in chemical peels, with little downtime. Used as an exfoliant at home at a lower concentration can produce smooth, younger looking skin.

L-ascorbic acid

L- ascorbic acid is the bioavailable form of vitamin C added to skin care. L-ascorbic acid is a multi beneficial skin ingredient, as well as being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin c protects collagen and elastin, initiates new collagen production and works hand in hand with vitamin E to protect the skin.

Lactobionic acid and gluconolactone (PHAs)

Lactobionic acid and gluconolactone are Poly-hydroxy-acids ( PHAs) which has similar anti-ageing and skin resurfacing effects on the skin as AHAS. PHAs are thought to be  more gentle, and have added antioxidant qualities.


Retinoids are  forms of vitamin A and  vitamin A derivatives. Retinol is commonly used in skin care formulations and can address several skin complaints from acne to photoageing. Clinically proven and used commonly by dermatologists, retinoids decrease lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and greatly benefit skin texture and the complexion.

Salicylic acid (BHAs)

Salicylic acid is a key ingredient in acne focused skin care. Using a low percentage formulation daily has been clinically proven to be effective and can clear the skin of acne initiating factors such as bacteria, and will also leave the skin soft and silky in texture  and have anti-ageing benefits due to its nature as a Beta-Hydroxy-acid.