5 Essential Skincare Ingredients for a Soft, Smooth Complexion

You might know the name of the products you own, but do you really know what you’re putting on your skin? It’s time to look at that ingredients label to see what’s happening beneath the surface. We’ve rounded up five essential skincare ingredients you’ll want to count on to keep your skin healthy and clear over time. Incorporate all of them into your routine to maximize its effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look!

5 Essential Skincare Ingredients: How They Work

Choosing skincare products with the right ingredients can help you keep your skin soft, supple, and healthy for years to come. Below, we break down some of our favorite skincare essentials that will leave your complexion glowing. 

1. Lactic Acid

What it is: A mild alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps make up your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Lactic acid helps your skin stay hydrated and protected from environmental impurities.

Who it’s for: Those targeting fine lines, dull skin, and texture. Gentle enough to be well-tolerated by sensitive skin.

Lactic acid is one of the most approachable chemical exfoliants you might see in skincare products. It gets the job done by removing the top layer of dead cells from your skin’s surface. The result is a clearer and smoother complexion. That means that lactic acid is also great for improving the feel of your skin; it deeply cleanses pores and plumps the skin for a flawless finish.

You’ll find lactic acid in OffCourt’s Deep Cleansing Body Wash alongside a host of other skin-friendly ingredients. Our body wash works hard so you don’t have to, plunging deep into your skin’s nooks and crannies to wash away dirt, dead skin, and sweat. It’s the perfect solution for body acne or if you’re just looking for a gentle, exfoliating product to keep your skin oh-so-soft.

2. Glycolic Acid

What it is: A stronger AHA that’s derived primarily from sugarcane. Glycolic acid can help your body produce collagen and hyaluronic acid. It also has powerful antibacterial properties and is great at exfoliating the skin.

Who it’s for: Those looking for a deeper, stronger exfoliation than lactic acid provides or those looking to firm up their skin.

Like lactic acid, glycolic acid removes dead skin buildup to reveal new, healthier skin. Glycolic acid also makes an appearance in our Deep Cleansing Body Wash. Its sulfate-free formula, enhanced with powerful ingredients like glycolic and lactic acids, keeps you clean without irritating your skin. Its delightful scents and skin-focused formula make it the best body wash for athletes, those on the go, or anyone looking to step up their hygiene routine.

Deep Cleansing Body Wash - Fresh Citron + Driftwood


3. Vitamin C

What it is: An antioxidant and vitamin that can help treat and prevent signs of photoaging or long-term damage to the skin.

Who it’s for: Those treating hyperpigmentation, sun damage, wrinkles, sagging, or any other skin concern.

Don’t overlook the importance of vitamin C – it’s great for your whole body, inside and out! Because it has strong antioxidative properties, vitamin C is known for its ability to lessen damage and stress on your skin. It helps neutralize threats to your skin’s health by lessening oxidative stress, ensuring your body has what it needs to keep your skin in top shape.

Try vitamin C for yourself with OffCourt’s Lightweight Facial Hydrator. This breathable and smooth face moisturizer is ideal for all skin types. It’s also rich in vitamin C, which helps it heal, protect, and enhance your skin. Simply apply a small amount twice daily to reap the benefits of its unbeatable formula.

4. Creatine

What it is: A naturally-occurring compound that helps your body use and recycle adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key energy source for cells. 

Who it’s for: Anyone hoping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate the skin, or reverse existing damage.

Creatine plays an important role in your body: it helps your cells use the energy you get from food. But that means it can also encourage cell energy metabolism on your skin’s surface. The result is a higher turnover of dead skin cells, which are replaced with healthy, new cells. Creatine is also known to stimulate collagen and ceramide production, both of which are essential components of a full, hydrated complexion.

Our Facial Hydrator utilizes creatine to energize your skin and kick things into high gear. A thin layer on your face is all it takes to send your skin in the right direction. 

5. Prebiotics

What it is: Compounds that feed and encourage growth in bacteria or fungi. In other words, the “food” that bacteria thrive off of. 

Who it’s for: Those with inflammatory acne (swollen, painful blemishes), oily skin, sweaty skin, or who simply want to improve their skin’s microbiome.

You are what you eat. The same applies to bacteria that live on our skin. You might be surprised to learn that food for bacteria could be good – but the key here is understanding that not all bacteria are bad. In fact, a healthy balance of “good” bacteria is essential. 

If your skin’s surface is prime real estate, you’ll want as many “good” bacteria as you can taking up that space. The less room for unwanted bacteria, the better. Plus, friendly bacteria help your skin stay clean and free from inflammation that worsens acne and can lead to scarring. That’s why our Facial Hydrator is formulated with skin-friendly prebiotics. Let your complexion shine through without irritating bacteria having their way.

Light-Weight Facial Hydrator


Keeping bad bacteria at bay impacts how your skin smells, too. Sweaty spots like your armpits and groin are breeding grounds for bad bacteria, which feast on the very sweat that leaves your pores. But the prebiotics in our Performance Body Spray ensure that these odor-producing microorganisms can’t win. Squash the problem before it even begins with the help of our aluminum-free deodorant and body spray duo! Fresher, healthier skin has never been easier to attain. 

Performance Body Spray - Fig Leaves + White Musk


Other Common Skincare Ingredients to Look For (& Avoid)

There are more potential ingredients in skincare than we could ever list at once. However, in addition to the essential ingredients listed above, there are others to watch for as you navigate the market. 

Keep an eye out for these other important skincare ingredients to build your skin barrier, treat acne, and keep your pores clear:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Vitamin E
  • Retinol (Vitamin A)
  • Niacinamide
  • Ceramides

Not all products are made equal. Some skincare products contain ingredients that may be harmful, irritating, or both. Some key examples to avoid include:

  • Harsh fragrances
  • Sulfates
  • Aluminum
  • Formaldehyde
  • PEGs (polyethylene glycol)

Skincare Ingredients Do Make a Difference

Do the ingredients in your skincare matter – at least beyond being able to successfully treat your skincare concerns? As it turns out, skincare ingredients really do matter. While they may not be the only factor affecting skin health, they’re certainly one of the most significant – and most within your control. 

Only around 20% of the visible signs of skin aging can be attributed to uncontrollable factors, like genetics or a personal history of skin conditions. The other 80% comes from lifestyle choices, diet, and – you guessed it – skincare habits (or lack thereof). 

The types of changes that cause that 80% are usually related to changes in skin texture, sun damage, dullness, dryness, and loss of collagen. There is good news, though: each essential skincare ingredient discussed above helps target one of these areas. That means that choosing products that aren’t just good for immediate concerns but also the long-term health of your skin can make a real difference. 

So, invest in your skin now and find a routine (and skincare ingredients) that truly works. Your future self will thank you for it.

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