Get to know your Skincare Superheroes.

In the vast and ever-changing beauty industry it can be challenging to navigate which actives that you actually need and which are just bloated hype. The powerhouse ingredients listed below are the superheroes to bring into your routine that will nourish your skin and give you optimal results.


Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C serums pack a huge punch. They brighten, soften appearance of fine lines, hydrate, promote collagen production, lighten hyperpigmentation, reduce redness and even tackle under eye circles. Use: Safe for most skin types and depending on strength of C + your skin's needs, may be used daily.

Beauty Mark Picks: Melanie Simon Serum C, African Botanics Vita C Corrector


This special, gentle ingredient supports dehydrated skin. A water-soluble Vitamin B3, that helps build keratin, a type of protein that protects your skins' lipid barrier. And a strong lipid barrier helps combat environmental stressors (think UVA + blue light). Other benefits included reduction in appearance of large pores + remedying sun damage. Use: Similar benefits to retinols but much less harsh so may be used daily and layered with multiple products that have niacinamide. 

Beauty Mark Picks: Facile Targeted Pigment Serum, Yina Hydracloud Cream


AHAs + BHAs are your safe + effective chemical exfoliators. AHAs, alpha-hydroxy acids, are glycolic + lactic acids. BHAs, beta-hydroxy acids, is salicylic acid. They work to break up the glue that binds dead skin cells together. Celebrated for their ability to boost collagen production, remedy blackheads + pimples, and heal sun damage. AHA Use: Glycolic + lactic acids most effective percent to be b/n 5-10% with a ph of 3 or 4. The higher the dose, the stronger the product, the less you should use. BHA Use: Highly effective as an overnight treatment but may be used daily in cleansers, toners, serums + moisturizers. 

Beauty Mark Picks: Ambari Gold Profection22 Mask, Retrouve Skin Brilliance Priming Pads


Poly-peptides naturally occur on the skin. They are amino acids that make up proteins needed by the skin. Peptides are the holy grail for collagen production. And since we lose collagen as we age, using skincare products with peptides is paramount. Stronger collagen equals better elasticity, healthier skin barrier, wrinkle reduction and calming inflammation.

One of my favorite peptides is Irene Forte's Myoxinol. A hibiscus peptide extracted from hibiscus seeds, acts in a similar way to injectables in reducing even deep forehead lines. Myoxinol inhibits the mechanical factors responsible for expression line formation on the face, while activating the cell's natural defenses to prevent oxidative damage, thus biologically delaying the aging of cells. Use: The skin absorbs peptides so your body can use it too. Look for in serums, moisturizers and face oils. Layer away!

Beauty Mark Picks: MZ Skin Smooth Collagen Eye Complex, Irene Forte Prickly Pear Face Cream


Nature's hydration hero. Found naturally in our connective tissues, hyaluronic acid is the ultimate in hydration support. The dangers of dry skin go beyond just looking dry. It can mean an unhealthy skin barrier that quite literally can't do its job to protect. Look for ultra-low molecular weight hyaluronic as it penetrates the dermis more efficiently.

"Hyaluronic acid attracts and binds to water molecules and increases the water content of the skin," says Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in New York City. "It can absorb more than 1,000 times its weight in water," Dr. Marchbein says. Hydrated skin equals plump, healthy, radiant skin. Use: Found in cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers + face oils. Layer this baby!

Beauty Mark Picks: Irene Forte Triple Hyaluronic Serum, Venn Age-Response Hyaluronic Booster


Most commonly a Vitamin A derivative. Other retinol heroes also include Bakuchiol, the plant alternative and moth bean, an Asian legume, which is a natural + pregnancy safe retinol. Retinols are your star-power brightening agent. They stimulates the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid + elastin. I prefer the retinols in my store over topical from the pharmacy because they are less drying and easier to use. They will ultimately get you the results of a stronger dose just a little more slowly. Use: Often used just in the evenings, they can also be used safely during the day depending on product + dosage. Apply a daily sunscreen especially on the days (or morning after) you're using retinol treatments.

Beauty Mark Picks: Venn Phyto-Retinol Resurface Mask, African Botanics Retinal Night Cream