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In Deep: Skincare Ingredients 101

In Deep: Skincare Ingredients 101

Flannels blog article
IN DEEP: Skincare Ingredients 101

Do you know your hyaluronic acid from your lactic? Your vit C from your retinol? Know when you should be applying niacinamide (or even how to say it)?

Get to know the trending skincare ingredients of 2021 a little better, from what the hell they actually do, to how to apply them, whether you even need them and the key products to invest in while you’re at it.

From the likes of Oskia, La Mer and Dr. Barbara Sturm, these are the hottest skincare products to add to your routine stat.


It’s got a bit of a bad rep, retinol. But with a little bit of patience and an easy-go approach, this skincare saviour will become your most trusted ally. Designed to smooth the skin’s texture, reduce wrinkles and scarring, and clear your complexion in one, it’s a bit of a powerhouse.

Word to the wise: start slow. Apply a pea-size drop, once a week for one week, twice a week for two weeks, three times a week for three weeks and then a max of every other night forever more. It’ll make skin more sensitive to the sun, so ensure you’re smothering on the SPF each day too.

Vitamin C

Already know all about getting your daily dose of immune boosting goodness? Your skin needs it too. Especially if you want to be the owner of a glowing, radiant complexion. An antioxidant, it protects your skin from UV damage, stimulates collagen production and evens out skin tone. Aka, get your quota of vitamin C and enjoy that glow we’ve all been chasing.

These days, vit C is in everything from cleansers to moisturisers, but our favourite concoction is serums. Applied as one of the first steps in your skincare routine, they sit close to the skin and have the biggest impact. Pair with vitamin E for an extra antioxidant punch.

Hyaluronic acid

The must-have ingredient for thirsty skin, hyaluronic acid is far from scary. In fact, it’s probably the single most important skincare ingredient to include in your daily routine (SPF aside). The antidote to dry, dull skin, it works like a magnet to attract moisture (one gram of hyaluronic acid can hold a huge six litres of water) - meaning it’ll make any moisture-boosting products work even harder. And leave your skin looking plump, pillowy and super soft. Sign. Us. Up.

Suffering from dehydrated skin? Apply hyaluronic acid post cleanse to damp, fresh skin, and layer over your moisturiser to lock it all in.


‘Nahy-uh-sin-uh-mahyd’, in case you weren’t sure. A smart multi-tasker, this one (also known as vitamin B3) has become popular thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, which work to soothe and ease redness - perfect for treating stressed-out skin. Add to this its ability to brighten the complexion, control sebum (that oily, waxy substance that causes spots) production and help repair the skin barrier, and you have yourself a winner.

The even better news? It’s got pros for just about every skin type and you’ll find it in everything from peels to serums and creams, meaning you can slot it into your routine as you see fit.

Lactic acid

When you first find out the origin of this one, it feels a little grim. The story goes that Cleopatra bathed in gone-off milk to make her skin softer and smoother. The key ingredient? Lactic acid, an exfoliant that naturally occurs in sour milk. Nice. These days, we’re going straight to the source and adding the ingredient to all sorts of skincare gems - namely masks, cleansers and serums - in a bid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, buff away dead skin cells and stop acne in its tracks.

The key here is quality not quantity. Use one – two times a week and pair with a hydrating hyaluronic acid to give a post-application moisture boost. And, more importantly, never pair with retinols.