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6 effective skincare ingredients that are trending on Instagram

Some of these could even be alternatives for retinol, hydroquinone and harsher AHAs like salicylic acid. If you’ve always been a skin intellectual, these are the best skincare ingredients trending on Instagram and those you will definitely see in 2020! 

The world of skincare is always buzzing with ingredients and actives, each with its own promise to do something unique with no side effects, irritation and in less time. However, it takes years to get to your dresser, and for good reason. Today, we’re going to talk about six natural ingredients that are trending in the world of skincare.

What? Bakuchiol

Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum

Type: Botanical

Ideal For: Anti-Ageing & Acne

Bakuchiol, often found in India in a plant called babchi is already considered a hero in Ayurveda and eastern medicine for treating vitiligo amongst other health and skin conditions. However, it’s slowly becoming a buzzword in topical skincare. Great for anti-ageing, bakuchiol is also known to reduce inflammation and boost collagen and elastin production. While a few brands already have bakuchiol in anti-ageing product lines, there may be evidence that it may be an alternative to retinoids. “Retinoids is the gold standard of treating acne, but now we have bakuchiol which has widened our arsenal to treat those annoying pimples,” says Dr. Kiran Sethi, dermatologist and founder of ISYA Aesthetics. “A study in 2017 that showed a combination of 1% bakuchiol with 2% salicylic acid into a compound had equal efficacy to retinol in treating mild acne,” recalls Sethi. 

Lifestyle Asia Recommends:

Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum, Rs 3,861 

Bioderma Sébium Hydra Ultra-Moisturising Compensating Care, Rs 1,244

What? Alpha Arbutin

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2%+HA

Type: Botanical

Ideal For: Depigmentation & Brightening

Extracted from bearberry plants, it substantially prevents melanin formation, like kojic acid (derived from mushrooms) which is another skin brightener. Gentler than its competitors, it’s safer to treat uneven skin tone, melasma and hyperpigmentation without any irritation. While it is NOT a new skincare ingredient and many doctors like Dr. Rekha Sheth, dermatologist and founder of YUVA clinics, have been talking about it for a whole decade, arbutin is making a comeback in 2020.

Arbutin is considered safer, and less controversial than hydroquinone. Hydroquinone was banned in Africa due to its side effects and declared carcinogenic by the US-FDA. However, it is still found in over-the-counter products and prescription treatments. “Hydroquinone is not safe for long term use, and that’s why there has always been a search for an ideal skin lightening molecule which is safe and effective,” says Dr. Apratim Goel founder Cutis Skin Solutions, Mumbai. “Alpha-Arbutin, a part of normal arbutin can be useful to treat pigmentation when combined with kojic acid or vitamin C,” adds Kiran Sethi. 

Lifestyle Asia Recommends:

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2%+HA, Rs 747

OBAGI CLINICAL Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serum, Rs 6,345

What? Ferulic Acid

SkinCeuticals Prevent C E Ferulic Acid

Type: Antioxidant

Ideal for: Signs of ageing

An underdog in the world of powerful acids, ferulic acid is also found in foods like oats, bran and rice amongst others. Known to stabilize Vitamin C, it also boosts the efficacy of Vitamin A, and C. Ferulic acid is a powerful antioxidant and not a chemical peeling agent like other acids, says Dr. Sethi. The antioxidant properties of ferulic acid help fight the free radicals and slows down the ageing process caused by oxidation,” says Dr. Pai. Avoid air exposure and layering it on with glycolic acid or salicylic acid on the same day.

Lifestyle Asia Recommends:

SkinCeuticals Prevent C E Ferulic Acid, Rs 11,774

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Serum Dark Spot Corrector, Rs 2,505 

What? Mandelic acid

wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water

Type: Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA)

Ideal for: Cell turnover, acne

Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid helps remove dead skin cells and increase cell turnover, say both Dr. Sethi and Dr. Pai. A gentler, less irritating option than other AHA’s, it’s great for gentle AHA peels at the dermatologist, or for some mild OTC exfoliation. It may suit sensitive skin when it comes to exfoliation or acne better but “since it’s gentler it may not work on acne scars,” reminds Sethi.

Lifestyle Asia Recommends:

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel, Rs 1,578

Bywishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water, Rs 1,550

What? Sacha Inchi

Sacha Inchi skincare ingredient

Type: Omega-3-Fatty Acid

Ideal for: Anti-Ageing/Youthful Skin

“Sacha Inchi made headlines a few months back as mountain peanut oil for its moisturizing properties in addition to other systemic benefits,” recalls Dr. Goel. High on Omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acids (ALA), it is also a vegetarian source that has quickly caught the eyes of the skincare industry. “As we age, we lose the effectiveness of the barrier of our skin, and healthy fats help keep the skin strong, and prevent water from escaping. The more hydrated your skin, the younger, supple and hydrated it is,” explains Sethi. Sacha Inchi shows great promise for those of us with dehydrated skin or skin conditions like ichthyosis and psoriasis. Still, for now, the ingredient is being seen in supplements and hair products.

Lifestyle Asia Recommends:

Juicy Chemistry Sacha Inchi, Lemon & Peppermint Organic Hair Serum for Dandruff Removal & Itchy Scalp, Rs 750

Purity Omega 3-6-9 Vegetarian Omega Formula, Rs 2,399 

What? EGF/Epidermal Growth Factors

Klairs -Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop for Skincare

Type: Proteins

Ideal For: Anti-Ageing/Brightening 

Discovered in the 1950’s, growth factors are the signals that tell cells to make collagen and elastin, and boost skin renewal and rejuvenation. “You can get them from different sources- the most effective would be those that are derived from human cells or are bio technically created to mimic human growth factors,” explains Dr. Sethi. Think of a procedure like a PRP facial or PRP hair transplant where a dermatologist uses your own EGF’s for facial rejuvenation and hair growth. “We have EGF available in our body which helps in skin repair and collagen production thus making skin firmer, smooth and reduces pigmentation,” says Dr. Goel. 

They have not been launched in India yet, says Goel while Dr. Sethi recommends sticking to hyaluronic acid, retinol, AHA’s, and Vitamin C for visible results.

Lifestyle Asia Recommends:

Sesderma Factor G Renew Rejuvenating Serum, Rs 3,299

Klairs -Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop, Rs 2020

Please consider expert help before trying any of these ingredients.

Manvi Siddhanti

Manvi Siddhanti is a writer, editor and influencer based out of New Delhi. When she’s not writing on beauty and lifestyle, you’ll find her sipping on Chardonnay or bing watching Netflix.