Glowing Skin Essentials: The 3 Must-Have Skincare Ingredients You Need

One of the questions I get asked most often by my patients is what type of active ingredients should they incorporate into their daily routines. I am a firm believer in that a consistent skincare routine with targeted actives makes the biggest impact in getting glowing healthy skin and it all starts with adding the right ingredients at effective concentrations and then using it consistently. When it comes to choosing skincare products, there are countless options available, but not all ingredients are created equal. Here are the top three must-have skincare ingredients that I recommend every person should consider adding to their routine. As a reminder these may not work for everyone so test the waters first before diving in.



Everyone has heard of “retinols”. A lot of you are probably scared of them and are concerned that your skin might be too sensitive. So let’s try to demystify the retinoids category. Retinoids are a class of compounds derived from vitamin A that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture, and promote collagen production. Retinoids work by increasing cell turnover, which helps to slough off dead skin cells and promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce acne and improve skin tone.

Retinoids are available in a variety of strengths, from over-the-counter formulations to prescription-strength options. For those with sensitive skin, it is important to start with a lower strength retinoid and gradually increase as tolerated, and always use sun protection when using retinoids. 


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the skin from free radical damage caused by UV radiation and pollution. It also helps to brighten the skin and improve skin texture by promoting collagen production. Vitamin C is available in a variety of skincare products, including serums, creams, and masks. Some of my favorite vitamin c products include CE ferulic by Skinceuticals, Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C brightening serum, and Alastin C-Radical Defense Antioxidant serum.

It is important to choose a stable form of vitamin C, such as ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbyl phosphate, to ensure that the vitamin C is effective. Vitamin C can also be irritating to some people, especially those with sensitive skin, so it is important to start with a lower strength product and gradually increase as tolerated.


Squalane is probably my favorite moisturizing ingredient as it mimics our body’s natural oils and is a light weight emollient and an antioxidant which also protects the skin against free radical damage. “Squalene” is a lipid which is naturally produced by our own skin cells but as most good things, it’s production reduces as we age, leading to drier skin as we age. It’s also present in olives, rice bran and sugarcane, but needs to be hydrogenated to its stable form “squalene” to be added to skin care products.  Some of my favorite moisturizers with squalene include Biossance Squalene Omega Repair cream, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane and Laneige water sleeping mask with squalene.


Adding these top three must-have skincare ingredients into your routine can help to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin. Take a before picture and track your results after 6 to 8 weeks.  However, it is important to note that everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It is always a good idea to patch-test first and also consult with a board-certified physician to determine the best skincare routine for your individual needs.


Stay tuned for a deep dive into each of these ingredients in the weeks to come.

One Response

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