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Skincare 101: The terms you need to know

Caring for your skin starts with understanding what you’re putting on it. From skincare heroes to chemical nasties, our glossary captures all the terms you need to know.


Skincare ingredients from A to Z

Active ingredients are the secret sauce in skincare products. They are what makes a product effective in delivering the benefits listed on the label. For example, in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Serum Vitamin A+, Vitamin A is the active ingredient that increases cell renewal and helps to improve skin texture and tone.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are plant-derived chemicals used in a range of skincare products to break down the bonds between skin cells, so dead layers can be more easily swept away. Glycolic acid, citric acid and lactic acid, the active ingredient in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Exfoliate+, are all popular AHAs.

Antioxidants are natural and synthetic ingredients that assemble, rather like an army, to protect skin from free radical damage. Popular antioxidants in skincare products include Vitamins C and B3 (niacinamide), and green tea.

Ascorbic acid, see Vitamin C.

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant our bodies naturally produce. When applied to the skin, it has a soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing effect and that’s why it’s a star ingredient in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Facial Oil+.

Collagen occurs naturally in skin to plump and hydrate. As we age, collagen production slows and causes skin to lose its firmness and lines to appear. Using skincare products containing peptides can help slow the process and keep skin looking younger – for longer. Yes please! Experience the skin-boosting power of peptides with the Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Eye Cream+ and Cosmeceutical Serum Vitamin B3+.  

Elastin is a key protein that occurs naturally in skin, providing flexibility and elasticity. When applied in a skincare product, elastin helps to hydrate skin.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause damage to cells in the body, including skin. Free radicals cause stress, which can damage DNA and other parts of the cell, leading to premature ageing. Free radical damage can result from exposure to sun, pollution, alcohol consumption, smoking and a poor diet. Antioxidants offer a layer of protection, halting free radicals in their tracks.

Green tea is an antioxidant-rich ingredient that soothes and calms skin, and has also been shown to have an anti-ageing effect. It’s an active ingredient in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Eye Cream+ and also gives this product its delicate scent.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar molecule that acts as cushioning and lubrication for joints, nerves, skin and eyes. Hyaluronic acid also has incredible water retention properties, which makes it an obvious choice for skin in serious need of a drink. Experience the hydrating power of hyaluronic acid in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Hydrating Masque+ and Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Moisture+.

Niacinamide, see Vitamin B3.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that include butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben and ethylparaben. Parabens can irritate some skin types and, for that reason, Mx Skincare products are paraben-free.

Peptides are chains of amino acids that form the building blocks of proteins that make up the skin’s support structure. Using a serum or moisturiser that contains peptides can help skin stay firmer and younger-looking for longer. Love that. In the Mx Skincare range, the Mx Cosmeceutical Eye Cream+ and Mx Cosmeceutical Serum Vitamin B3+ both feature skin-transforming peptides.

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative used in skincare products that assist with acne and the visible signs of ageing.

Rosehip oil is extracted from the seeds of rose bushes and is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids to moisturise and repair skin. You can experience the magic of rosehip oil (and its divine scent) in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Facial Oil+.

Sulfate refers to a group of foaming agents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), commonly used in face cleansers, shampoos and toothpaste. Sulfates can trigger skin sensitivities and dryness, and for that reason, Mx Skincare products are free of SLSs.

Titanium dioxide is a natural mineral that, together with zinc oxide, is used as an ingredient in sunscreens. Safe and non-irritating for sensitive skin, titanium dioxide blocks UVA and UVB rays for all-round sun protection.

Vitamin A is a nutrient that supports skin health through the production of new skin cells. It has been shown to be effective at stimulating collagen production to have a plumping effect on skin, reducing the appearance of lines. Vitamin A also has an exfoliating effect on the skin’s surface, which can improve tone and texture. It’s the hero ingredient in Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Serum Vitamin A+.

Vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide, nicotinamide and niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin used to hydrate skin and treat blemishes, redness, pigmentation and premature ageing. Experience its healing powers with a daily dose of Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Serum Vitamin B3+.

Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that works to protect skin cells from pollution, sun damage and other factors that can prematurely age skin. It’s used in skincare to brighten dull skin, aid healing and to keep skin plump and firm. Don your daily Vitamin C armour with Mx Skincare Cosmeceutical Serum Vitamin C+.

Zinc oxide is a non-irritating natural mineral that, together with titanium dioxide, is used as an ingredient in sunscreens. As an effective, physical block against UVA and UVB rays, it offers all-round sun protection.

Are you ready to see a real difference in your skin? Discover your ideal skincare routine with the full Mx Skincare range of products.

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