Learn Your Skincare’s MVPs: Ingredients You Need to Know

Written by Dahvi Shira

It was only several years ago that “good skincare products” were all we needed to know. Being informed of actual ingredients and what pairs well with others was limited to the experts. But in recent times, consumers are becoming just as savvy! 

That said, there’s a lot to know—and whether you’re new to skincare or not, you probably have some confusion about the purpose everything serves. There are so many new ingredients, trends and products emerging by the year, it’s a lot to keep track of. 

Rest assured, we’re here to help you navigate the complicated world of skincare. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the heavy-hitters and what’s right for you!

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids aka AHAs

You’ve probably seen AHAs listed on some skincare product you own. They’re pretty common, and for good reason. Also known as alpha-hydroxy acids, they can help even out pigmentation, encourage exfoliation and include anti-aging properties. This makes them staples in acne medications, for example. 

But they’re really a jack-of-all-trades, acne or not. They’re an exfoliant category that includes lactic, glycolic, and mandelic acids. But before you get acid-happy, you don’t want to introduce too many into your routine at once because you can actually burn your skin and cause damage to its barrier. Take your time, talk to your doctor, and see what’s best for your specific skin type. 

Regardless of the route you take, it’s best to incorporate them at night after cleansing and before serums and moisturizers, since they can make you sensitive to the sun. If used during the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.

Beta-Hydroxy Acids, aka BHAs

Now that you’ve gotten your crash course on AHAs, meet their counterpart, known as beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). If you’re unfamiliar with BHAs directly, you’ve likely heard of salicylic acid, the heavy-hitting active ingredient in the BHA family. Known for its ability to superficially exfoliate, BHA use leads to improvement in whiteheads, blackheads, dark spots and overall skin texture. But like with any acid, BHAs can irritate sensitive skin. It’s also advised to steer clear if you’re pregnant (but of course speak with your doctor first).


Spent too much time amid the L.A. smog? Soaked up a little too much sun during your Hamptons vacation? Here’s where antioxidants come into play. These are a group of ingredients that neutralize free radical damage caused by sun exposure, pollution, smoking and other daily life encounters. 

Vitamin C and E are the most popular examples of this group, which is known to keep your skin cells healthy. If you’re looking for a place to start incorporating antioxidants into your routine, the YSE Beauty Take It Off Gel-Oil Cleanser is a great place to start. It contains a blend of seed oils that keep the skin supple and smooth.

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  • YSE Beauty


Consider ceramides the face doctor that will nurse your skin back to life! When your skin barrier is damaged, ceramides are where you turn. Skin barrier damage is caused by a wide number of factors: environmental stressors, allergic reactions, sun damage, overuse of active skincare ingredients, skin conditions, and the list goes on.

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  • YSE Beauty

Glycolic Acid

The name glycolic acid likely rings a bell, and that’s because it’s the strongest AHA. It has the smallest molecular size, which means it penetrates deeper. 

You’ll often see this all-star acid in acne products, thanks to its ability to reduce excess sebum production and unclog pores. It also targets hyperpigmentation caused by acne. But once again, don’t get too acid-happy—glycolic acid should mainly be used at night. Unlike BHAs though, you can actually use glycolic acid during pregnancy. In fact, many use it as a substitute for retinol while carrying. That said, as with everything, speak to your doctor before going to town, because everyone reacts differently. 

Once you get the OK, the YSE Beauty Your Favorite Ex Exfoliating Pads are an easy, effortless way to incorporate the powerful ingredient into your routine. 

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  • YSE Beauty

Hyaluronic Acid

Think of hyaluronic acid as the popular girl who plays nice with everyone. HA is a powerful humectant that pulls water into the skin to add plumpness and hydration. It can also help smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to its efficacy, it vibes with other ingredients and isn’t known for irritating sensitive skin. HA is a universally beloved ingredient that’s found in what seems like everything these days.