Niacinamide, retinol, collagen, AHA, BHA: What they do and to whom

Updated on Dec 03, 2022 12:43 PM IST

Niacinamide, Retinol, Collagen, AHA, BHA, etc. we know the beauty ingredients but do we know what they do and to whom? Skincare experts answer

Niacinamide, retinol, collagen, AHA, BHA: What they do and to whom (Sora Shimazaki)
Niacinamide, retinol, collagen, AHA, BHA: What they do and to whom (Sora Shimazaki)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

There is a significant shift in the way consumers are now buying products and they no longer look for specific products or brands instead, they shop for products with unique ingredients such as niacinamide, retinol, collagen and vitamin C that they know are beneficial and effective for their skincare regime. Rather than having a product that promises to do a lot, consumers are personalizing their skincare regimen with products that have a special ingredient that does a particular job.

This recent transition has also paved the way for ingredient-led brands and slowly, we are seeing that they are introducing products that highlight specific ingredients and then it goes about educating consumers what are their benefits.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Agni Kumar Bose, Dermatologist, Venereologist and Dermatosurgeon, broke down the ABC of skincare -

  • Niacinamide

It’s a Vitamin B derivative (B3). What does it do? It reduces inflammation, helps repair the skin barrier, reduces redness, helps reduce pigmentation and thus evens out skin tone. Also helps with acne as an adjuvant. It’s a wonder molecule that doesn’t get as much attention as it should! Safe to use during pregnancy.

  • Retinol

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative. Boosts the skin cycle and that’s why purging (flare-up of acne) is seen when we start using it – this stabilizes later. Great for anti-aging, wrinkles and fine lines, the wonder drug for acne. Evens out the skin’s texture. CANNOT use during pregnancy and lactation. Since it causes dryness and photosensitivity, a moisturizer and sunscreen go hand in hand.

  • Collagen

Collagen is the basic building protein of the skin, also found in bones, joints and blood vessels. Collagen levels come down with age, smoking and stress. Collagen supplements are great for anti-aging, wrinkles, sagging skin and dark circles and help with a glow. The oral form is better than using it as cream.

  • AHA

Lactic acid and glycolic acid are common AHAs. Help with exfoliation by removing the topmost dead layer of the skin. What do they do? Helps with pigmentation, uneven texture and dull skin and also gives it a slight glow. Can be used as a facewash or chemical peel (to be done by a Dermat!). Safe to use during pregnancy.

  • BHA

Salicylic acid is the BHA that everyone talks about. What does it do? It helps exfoliate the skin and opens up blocked pores (whiteheads and blackheads). Helps with acne and prevents breakouts and oily skin. Can be used as a facewash or a spot acne treatment or a chemical peel (to be done by a Dermat!). Safe to use during pregnancy.

Talking about the ongoing trend, Meghna Ghodawat, Founder of Skin Project, revealed, “Vitamin serum collection, which contains different forms of vitamins such as A, E and B, has seen explosive growth, irrespective of the brand name. All in all, this suggests that brand names no longer serve as an indicator of quality thanks to the Internet, which has transformed the shopping and research experience for each one of us. So how can other brands be part of this change? When it comes to skincare, their approach must be to modernize technologies with time-tested and clinically proven ingredients.”

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