The Five Active Ingredients You Actually Need In Your Skincare Regime

I’m not sure about you, but I – for one – have often found the world of beauty & skincare to be a rather overwhelming minefield of rules, tips, product must-haves and recommendations. Even as host and creator of MOOIMAAK (South Africa’s most amazing makeover show, if I have to say so myself;), I have personally struggled to cut through all the marketing, tutorials and influencing, to get right to the bones of it all: what are the products (or, rather, the ingredients) I most need to be investing in and what exactly will they do for my skin?

I can only imagine how daunting a process it must be to get onto the right skincare regime, if you simply don’t have time for hours and hours of research or aren’t surrounded by world-class skincare experts as part of your job.

Seeing as I get asked so often by friends & family for advice on “where to start,” let me give you a quick, and hopefully helpful, summary of the key active ingredients you might need in your at-home skincare regime. This is based on months and years of speaking to top skincare experts around me, doing my own research and, most importantly, seeing the (sometimes unbelievable) effects of these ingredients on our candidates, many of whom appear 10 years younger after 3 months of using the them. I can honestly say…they (freakin’) work!

What are active ingredients? They are biologically active substances, found in cosmetic product formulations, that have been scientifically shown to have a physiological effect on the skin (eg by lightening pigmentation or reversing signs of ageing). If your skincare routine does not include them, you’re missing out – big time.


If you’ve spent any time researching skincare (on any of the leading skincare or anti-aging Youtube blogs or channels), you will no doubt have come across rave reviews and life-changing testimonials about retinol. This derivative of Vitamin A is pretty much seen as the gold-standard anti-ageing ingredient by dermatologists and beauty experts worldwide.

The anti-ageing benefits of retinol are vast, with its ability to repair sun damaged skin, reduce the appearance of pores, treat acne and combat pigmentation. It’s an all-in-one anti-ageing, skin-transforming powerhouse.

Please note: retinols can irritate the skin and need to be introduced “low and slow” (at a low concentration and weekly intervals) under the supervision of your dermatologist or skin care therapist. Use retinol at night and always wear sunscreen during the day. Retinol is not safe during pregnancy or when trying to conceive.


Vitamin C definitely deserves a spot second on this list, given its cult status as another anti-ageing hero. Its range of benefits includes preventing ageing, repair damaged skin and, well, making your skin look “lit from within.” It helps the formation of new collagen and defends the skin against free radicals, which cause ageing. Another big reason for this ingredient’s popularity it its ability to improve or lighten hyperpigmentation.

There are many types of Vitamin C on the market, but according to my extremely smart friends at Lamelle, it’s best to look for products that contain L-Ascorbic Acid (the golden standard for Vitamin C) specifically. Introduce Vitamin C slowly, as it might take a while for your skin to adjust to it.


Growth factors play a key role in maintaining healthy skin structure and function. They aid the building of collagen and elastic fibers which keep skin soft, supple and plump-looking! Many of our MOOIMAAK makeover candidates this season all became mildly obsessed with the iconic and intensely hydrating Lamelle Dermaheal Growth Factor Sheet Mask after trying it. Just click on the link and see for yourself (the customer reviews are pretty glowing;).


HA is the much-loved miracle molecule that can hold up to a thousand times its own weight in water, meaning it hydrates and plumps the skin as no other active can. Try adding HA to your routine, in serum form.


Alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic, kojic, mandelic or glycolic acid, work like a bomb to get rid of the pore-clogging dead cells that can sit upon the surface of your skin, dulling your glow and making it harder for all other active ingredients products to actually get in there and work.


Last but not least, I’ve said it a thousand times and I will keep on saying it: most of the ageing we see on our faces (and necks and bodies) are due to sun damage. Prevention is better than cure, people! Wear your SPF every day, come rain or sun, whether you’re inside or out (UVA light penetrates right through window glass and blue light from your computer or phone causes photo-ageing too ). This is your single biggest weapon when it comes to defying the ageing process! Know it and use it.


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