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Best Ingredients By Skin Type

Which skincare powerhouses belong in your regimen, according to experts.

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Note: All content and information in this article are for information purposes only. You should consult a medical professional prior to starting new skincare regimens.

Hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin C… you’ve likely heard about these skincare heroes, but do you know which are prime candidates for your beauty regimen? To crack the skincare code, Shopbop called on two experts—Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat, and Dr. Heather Rogers, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Doctor Rogers—to weigh in on their all-time favorite ingredients for every skin type. Do your complexion a favor and keep scrolling to learn how to choose the right skincare products for you.

Woman applying facial moisturizer Woman applying facial moisturizer

Best Ingredients For Dry Skin

Characteristics: You might have dry skin if you see rough texture, flakiness, and cracks.

Glycerin: Want soft, ultra-hydrated skin? Look no further. “Glycerin is a humectant [a.k.a. an ingredient that keeps skin hydrated],” explains Dr. Rogers. “When your skin is super dry, you need more water, so glycerin will pull water out of the air and put it back on your skin.” Think of it this way: glycerin attracts water like a sponge, helping to keep skin plump.

Hyaluronic acid: Best known for its hydrating benefits, hyaluronic acid is a humectant that holds 1000 (yes, 1000!) times its weight in water. Robinson says the ingredient “binds and locks moisture to skin cells to maintain its optimum moisture level,” ultimately keeping dryness at bay. Our skincare pick? A hyaluronic acid-infused serum.


Best Ingredients For Oily Skin


Characteristics: Some common oily skin traits? Visible pores and a shiny appearance.

Charcoal: Charcoal is oily skin’s best friend. “[It] removes dirt and excess oils [from the skin],” Robinson notes. In other words, the ingredient is basically a vacuum cleaner for your pores.

Salicylic acid: An expert-loved beta-hydoxy acid (a.k.a. chemical exfoliant), salicylic acid sloughs away dead skin cells. Dr. Rogers explains: “[It] absorbs oil making your skin less shiny, unclogs pores, and helps fight [the appearance of] redness.” In other words, you can say buh-bye to excess oil.

Face Cream Face Cream

Best Ingredients For Sensitive Skin

Characteristics: If you experience redness, dryness, and discomfort, you could have sensitive skin.

Squalane: First time hearing about squalane? Here’s what you need to know. “Squalane aids in protecting the skin’s barrier and hydrates [it], which you need to do with sensitive skin,” Dr. Rogers shares. Additionally, the plant-based emollient mimics the skin’s natural oils, making it a top-notch moisturizer.

Ceramides: The ingredient is a fan favorite for sensitive skin, especially come winter. “[Ceramides] help promote a healthy skin barrier, preventing dryness and irritation,” Robinson explains. Translation: the powerhouse ingredient packs a soothing punch.


Best Ingredients For Mature Skin


Characteristics: Mature skin qualities include dryness, dullness, and the appearance of fine lines.

L-ascorbic acid (a.k.a. pure vitamin C): This antioxidant is like OJ for your face. “[Vitamin C] brightens skin and minimizes the look of dark spots and wrinkles,” Robinson notes.

Retinol: Retinol is one of the most sought-after ingredients out there, and for good reason. “For mature complexions, retinol removes dead skin making the face look brighter and smoother,” Dr. Rogers explains. Plus, the beloved antioxidant reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.