Active Ingredients

What Exactly Are 'Actives' in Skin-Care Products?

Let's face it—taking care of your skin is hard. Even the slightest change in weather or environment can cause a flare-up, and you'll be left scrambling to modify your skincare routine.

If you're new to the world of skincare, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Lots of complex jargon gets thrown around by the skincare community.

If you've been searching for new products, you may have asked yourself, "What are actives in skincare products?" Are actives really worth seeking out, or are they just a buzzword beauty gurus like to use?

We're here to fill you in. Keep reading below to learn about active ingredients in skincare products and why they're important!

Learning The Basics About Actives


Active ingredients are the ingredients in skincare products that are intended to treat a specific problem. For example, if a product claims that it hydrates dehydrated skin, the active is the ingredient that's treating the lack of moisture. Keep in mind that there is some debate over what's really considered an active.

The FDA categorizes actives as topicals. Since they're considered a drug, it's required that they're listed as actives on a product's packaging (like the Zinc Oxide 9.5% in the VREA 4-IN-1 Concealer SPF 30). The FDA tests any proposed active ingredient for both efficacy and safety before confirming it as a certified active ingredient.

However, you will also see skincare products use the word "active" in marketing materials even if they don't contain an FDA-certified active ingredient. In this case, the supposed active doesn't need to be singled out and listed as such on the ingredients list, because it isn't considered a drug ingredient. Often these unofficial actives include vitamins and botanical ingredients. 

While some companies advertise (non FDA-certified) “actives” in their products, that doesn’t even answer the question whether or not those “actives” were formulated at their performance levels, or simply “peppered in” or “infuse for marketing story. As consumers, a good question to ask brands in this case would be: “has X ‘active’ ingredient been formulated at its documented level of performance?”. 

Understanding the Importance of Actives 

When you're hunting for products, it's good to know whether they feature active ingredients that support your skincare goals and skin type. There are plenty of products that advertise themselves as effective when really they're only backed by flashy packaging and clever marketing. 

Skincare product aisles and online skincare communities can be intimidating for novice skincare enthusiasts. Lots of fancy product titles and ingredient names get thrown around, but you can understand it all a little bit better if you know what actives are.

Plus, if you want to target specific problems, such as rosacea or UV damage, it's good to know what common active ingredients can do that for your skin. Whether you're searching for a multi-purpose concealer or a soothing cleanser, understanding the purpose of actives can help you select the most appropriate products for your skin.

Discovering Active Ingredients in Skincare Products

It's much easier to find skincare products that work well for you if you know what actives are in skincare products. The guide above will help you as you build your skincare routine!

Looking for cosmetics that actually deliver what they promise? VREA Cosmetics has got you covered.

Our products are designed for beauties who care about how cosmetic ingredients are sourced and tested. VREA cosmetics are vegan, usable on all skin types, and never tested on animals.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out our collection, and get your glow on today!

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