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My Top 5 Skincare Ingredients

In today’s age, it is easy to be overwhelmed with skincare. Influencers, celebrities, the mom next door, Facebook friends…everyone has an opinion and something to offer. Add to that Sephora or Ulta and it’s no wonder many do not even know where to start. Or, they end up with a 20-step regimen that is both expensive and difficult to maintain. And then it sits in their medicine cabinet or drawer for a year, and one curses every time they see it as their skin is still the same.

As there are SO many skincare lines out there, one way to look for what you need is to check out ingredients. The ingredients below have stood the test of time, deliver great results and stand out over others. Tried and true. Effective. Amazing. These are the ones that you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

Also, look to see if they are in the products you’re using or looking to use and where they are listed on the ingredient list. The closer to the bottom of the list, the less the ingredient.

Now without further ado, I present my top 5 skincare ingredients.

1. VITAMIN A: My FAVORITE. When a client asks if there is just one product they need; it is ALWAYS a Vitamin A product I recommend. No matter what their skin type.

Vitamin A addresses it ALL: it helps to boost slowing cells which in turn strengthens the skin, plumps it up, normalizes oil production and brightens giving skin that “glow” many desire. It can be found in many forms and the one I prefer is retinyl palmitate. When used in a step-up system, starting with a low dose and working your way up, you can use it am and pm with no sensitivity to the sun or irritation.

Many have used prescription strength (myself included) which created a red, irritated, sensitized skin. Yuck. Utilizing a step-up system helps avoid that, resulting in clear, smooth, stronger and brighter skin. Can be used at any age, strongly recommend it for those 30 & on.

Note: cannot be used while pregnant/nursing-sorry!

I recommend: Serum 24 by Cosmedix, AVST Gel or Moisturizer (20’s or sensitive skin), C-Quence (30+, this product also has #2&3 as well!), A, C & E Oil by Environ.

2. VITAMIN C: This effective but fussy little ingredient “Lightens, tightens and brightens” your skin. It also has antioxidant properties, making it a safeguard for your skin against extrinsic factors. On the flip side, it doesn’t play well with others and its efficacy diminishes quickly when exposed to light, liquid and air. And, some formulations can create a “sting”, so you need to find a formulation that works best for you.

I recommend: Pure C by Cosmedix, Rare C Serum by Hale & Hush, Intense C-Boost Mela Even Cream by Environ.

3. PEPTIDES: Think of these as the “building blocks” for your skin. Peptides help cells communicate to facilitate cellular turnover, build collagen and all the things needed for a healthy, younger looking skin. They are good friends with Antioxidants which get an honorable mention by me.

I recommend: Affirm or Radiance by Cosmedix, Antioxidant Defense Serum, Avance Elixir or Moisturizer by Environ

4. STEM CELL GROWTH FACTORS:These are ALL the rage these days and, when formulated properly, can boost your skin to heal, strengthen and look overall amazing. Great for daily use or home cosmetic rolling but where I find them SHINE is during/after a more invasive treatment such as microneedling, removing skin imperfections or deeper peels. Look for bone marrow derived human stem cells as the active ingredient. Many out there come from unreliable sources (snails, subcutaneous fat taken from liposuction, etc.)

I recommend: AnteAGE Serum + Accelerator, Environ Vita Enriched Colostrum Gel or Vita Peptide Frown Serum (and while yes TNS Serum is another one but it’s expensive and its stem cells come from baby foreskins which…EW)

5. SPF: You can use ALL the above, but if you are not protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, you may as well just not bother. Seriously.

There are two types of rays: UVA (think “A” for aging) and UVB (think “B” for burning). You want a broad-spectrum product that protects you from both, preferably a mineral SPF that has either/and Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.

While chemical sunscreens DO work, they do so by absorbing the rays, which in turn can heat up and sensitize the skin, which is especially bad for those with sensitive skin or hyperpigmentation. I do recommend one for my clients, Peptide Rich Defense by Cosmedix for it's hydrating and peptide properties.

Apply DAILY and reapply as needed. My rule of thumb is “If you’re outside and do not need a flashlight to see, then the sun is out, and you should have SPF on.”

I recommend: A More Beautiful You Tinted Mineral SPF 40 by L. Moore Aesthetics, Protect UV Spray or Peptide Rich Defense by Cosmedix, Broad Spectrum Natural SPF 30 by Hale & Hush and Brush on Block Mineral Powder SPF 30

So, there you have it-my favorite five. I hope you found this helpful and next time you’re out (hopefully soon), look at some products and see what you can find! Not all skincare is created equal.

Also, all the recommended products are carried by me so if you’d like to try some out, please reach out!

In beauty,



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