Understanding Skincare Labelling & Ingredients

We LOVE it when you chat ingredients to us - “hyaluronic acid... retinol…” yes yes yes!

It’s great that so many people are well-versed in skincare ingredients these days, thanks to the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips. Unfortunately though, the claims that some brands make about these skincare ingredients are just plain misleading. So we're here to help you navigate through the sea of information, and tell you what you really need to know about skincare ingredients and labelling.

The idea of grabbing a $13 hyaluronic acid off the shelf or online to treat your dehydration is tempting, we get it. But without a professional prescribing, these can be a waste of your time and money. They can even slow or halt your skin journey’s progress, especially if you’re investing in skin treatments.

Here are our top four tips for navigating skin labels and those ingredient claims:

Tip 1: You get what you pay for

This is especially true when it comes to skincare. Brands like Dermalogica and Skinstitut spend years researching and developing (R & D) each and every product they produce. They only use the best quality ingredients and include the perfect concentration, balance and combination of ingredients together for maximum effectiveness. So, that product with hyaluronic acid that costs eight times as much? Worth it. The concentration of the hyaluronic acid and the ingredients it’s combined with will get you better results, faster.

Tip 2: Read the label

You want to look for two to three active ingredients per product to get the maximum benefit. Active ingredients are the ingredients in a product that does most of the work. Examples of common active ingredients are:

  • retinol (or Vitamin A) to treat fine lines and wrinkles;
  • salicylic acid to treat acne;
  • antioxidants for anti-ageing;
  • Vitamin C for broken capillaries or stimulating collagen and elastin;
  • hyaluronic acid to treat dehydrated skin.

Pro tip ~ The first active ingredient you see on the list is the most concentrated, the second is slightly less, and so on, just like a food label.

Brands like Dermalogica with big R&D budget take between two and seven years to formulate, test, re-formulate and re-test each product. These brands know how to combine active ingredients to treat specific skin conditions. For example, their Retinol Clearing Oil perfectly combines retinol and salicylic acid to treat fine lines and adult breakouts in the one product. It also works on pigmentation and dehydration, which are other common skin concerns that often go hand-in-hand with fine lines and adult breakouts.

We recommend speaking to a professional for a skincare routine that's as unique as your skin.

Skincare Cleveland

Tip 3: Understand the ingredient dosage and percentages

Look at high-end - yes, more expensive - skincare ranges. Notice that they rarely include a percentage dose (with some exceptions) like that $13 hyaluronic acid brand does. And the reason is simple - they don’t need to include a dosage or percentage to validate their claims because what’s in there is top quality, has been researched and tested and IT WORKS!

Tip 4: Speak to a pro, not just your girlfriend

We’re glad that she’s stoked to find a $13 hyaluronic acid online, really we are. But your skin is different, it is uniquely you. You deserve prescribed skincare that’s just for you, your time, your budget and your unique skin type and conditions. And so does your girlfriend!

Dermal Therapists undergo years of extensive study and training and have a deep understanding of skin conditions, modalities, and skincare ingredients to treat these conditions. They also undertake in-depth training from each product house to understand the science and technology that goes into each product in order to be able to prescribe them.


We offer complimentary online and in-clinic skin consultations, personalised to YOU. Many of our clients have achieved incredible results in just seven days, for as little as $99 for three Skinstitut products. If you have the budget for a booster, you’ll accelerate your results.

Bring your current products along and we can assess how they’re working for you. We’ll aim to work with what you have short-term until you run out, then prescribe you a new skincare routine when you’re ready to invest in something new.