Skincare 101: Functional Ingredients vs Performance Ingredients

I know that I am mainly known for my lash services and eyelash extension products. But my first love was actually skincare. I spent my savings to go back to school to become a medical aesthetician and have been looking for ways to incorporate that into my services. As you all know I offer facials and a lot of times my clients have many questions about their skin and skincare routines. I wanted to use my blog to answer some of these frequently asked questions, debunk some myths and explain the confusing misconceptions about skin we all have! So welcome to my new MV Beauty Blog series on Skincare! 

 One thing I hear all the time is, “I heard I shouldn't buy products if I can’t read/recognize the ingredients on the list.” I feel like this is a valid point when it comes to food, but it's not the same for the skincare world. 

My usual response is, usually slapping ingredients in their raw form on your face most likely will not make any changes in your skin. You may see topical changes but not long term! The skin has three layers with different jobs, and we need some ingredients to be able to make their way to the dermal layer to make changes.

Natural ingredients are most often modified to penetrate the skin better by changing their molecular size or they are broken out into the parts that can make changes in your skin. Sometimes these ingredients can be made synthetically too if the natural ingredient causes too many allergic reactions. And with these scientific changes, usually comes a new name. For instance, there are over 30 names for Vitamin A because it can be modified in different ways for different results. 

So don't be scared of all ingredients you can't read in your skincare. Look it up online or send me an email to see if we can figure out what its purpose is!

Another skincare comment I hear regularly is, "I try to use products with 5 or less ingredients. WHY do my skincare products seem to have so many ingredients in them?" 

Most of the ingredients in skincare are considered functional ingredients, meaning they have the very prestigious job of packing up the active ingredients to spread them on your face.  Preservatives, water, thickeners, pH adjusters, delivery systems, emollients and surfactants are examples of functional ingredients. Think of them as the support system for the active ingredients! So when you buy an AHA cream and see that it's not the first ingredient on the list, don't be alarmed. It’s because the ingredient needs other ingredients to make application easy as well as preserve the product. Sometimes functional ingredients even carry the active ingredients to the dermal layer of the skin. I know there's lots of articles saying some ingredients are just fillers, but any respectable skincare brand only uses the best.  

Active ingredients are the performance ingredients! They are what will make the changes you crave for your skin. Think anti-oxidants, botanicals, brighteners, chemical exfoliates, enzymes, healing agents, lipids, and peptides! These are the tried and true ingredients that help with acne, anti-aging, rosacea and more. 

Looking for a line of skincare that works? Want a skin consultation? Send me an email at or check out some of my favs here!

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