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Hot Ingredients

by Margaret Russell

We all know how it is with skincare ingredients. Suddenly, something pops up—collagen, glycolic acid, bakuchiol, CBD, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C—and becomes the new “it” ingredient. Some have staying power, others, don’t. (Bee venom or snail mucus may work well, but for obvious reasons, they seem to have come and gone quickly!) Here are hot ingredients that not only really work, one is tried and true and the other two are breakthroughs in the scientific skincare pantheon.


Avocado has been around forever, as a delicious fruit—yes, it’s a fruit!—and as a highly effective skincare ingredient. Avocado masks were popular with the ancient Maya, who used them to beautify skin and hair, and continue to be a favorite ingredient in face and hair masks. The ingredient is seeing a resurgence in popularity across the board right now. Rich in nourishing oils and vitamin C, avocado also features “five times as many lipids than any other fruit,” says Eleonore Montegut, vice president, Mustela. “Thanks to unique polyphenols,” she continues, “similar to those in tea, pine barks and grapeseeds, which protect skin from environmental stressors.” Mustela, now a certified B Corp, just launched Multi-purpose balm, made from damaged avocados that are excluded from consumption because they don’t look pretty, and would otherwise go to waste. “One hundred percent is used—pit, skin and flesh,” says Montegut.“Whether they look good or not, they offer the same benefits.”

Copper Peptides

Peptides are hot, hot, hot ingredients in age-defying skincare. And for good reason: they really work! Which is why Reserveage, an industry leader in wellness and beauty supplements for women, launched its new Pro-Collagen Skincare Collection with microencapsulated copper peptides. There’s something special about copper peptides, according to Dr. Tiffany Libby, board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon. “There are four different groups of peptides, including signal and neurotransmitter peptides, and what sets copper peptides apart is these help deliver copper to the skin, which is an essential mineral needed for collagen production.” According to Dr. Libby, “Copper peptides are chemical compounds composed of short-chain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. They tell your cells to produce more collagen: one of the major building blocks of the skin.” Peptides, also called polypeptides, occur naturally in the skin, and collagen is made of polypeptide chains. Collagen molecules are too large to absorb into the skin, but peptides are not, and they can help stimulate the skin to produce collagen, which leads to firmer, more youthful-looking skin. “When applied topically, copper peptides work as an antioxidant, promote collagen and elastin production, and soften the appearance of fine lines,” says Dr. Libby. “They deliver minerals to our skin and signal to our cells to produce more collagen, a key structural component of skin that decreases as we age. They benefit all skin types and are generally formulated with other hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to make them very tolerable and suitable for even sensitive skin.” The Reserveage Pro-Collagen Skincare Collection includes the Illuminating Eye Cream, Firming Neck Cream, Firming Face Cream and Hydrating Hand & Foot Cream.

Clear Zinc

We love our natural sunscreens. They list active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to provide full-spectrum protection, and a physical block to the harmful UV rays of the sun. But for years, aficionados of natural sunscreens have been less than thrilled with the whitish cast these leave behind on the skin. It is not pretty for anyone, but it’s especially visible—and annoying—for those with medium to darker skin tones. Finally, with the development of clear zinc, we can get the protection we want and deserve, without the ghostly pallor of traditional zinc oxide or nano zinc oxide (tiny absorbent particles). According to Melinda Salvoza, director, new product development and product marketing, Derma E and Think, “The clear zinc oxide sunscreen formulations are smoother in texture and feel, reducing the amount of rubbing into the skin and resulting in little to no whitening.” Both brands just launched clear zinc sunscreens. “Clear zinc oxide is different from the traditional zinc oxide because it is nonwhitening yet it has the large particle assurance of the traditional non-nano zinc oxide,” says Salvoza. She explains: “The downside to nano zinc oxide is that due to the extremely small size of the nanoparticles, it is easy for them to penetrate into the skin. The nanoparticles also wash off easily when swimming in the ocean, which can negatively impact coral reefs as they also get absorbed, damaging the ecosystem,” she continues. “Non-nanoparticles, however, sit on top of skin as they are too big to be absorbed into the skin, thus providing a protective sun block to damaging UVA/UVB rays. Non-nano zinc oxide sunscreens are the healthier choice for your skin as well as for the environment.”Clear zinc powder has a porous surface texture, which means it doesn’t reflect as much visible light as traditional non-nano zinc oxide particles. The result is no whitish cast on the skin. The new Derma E and Think sunscreens are reef safe and offer full-spectrum protection.

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