The simple truth about skincare

Ensuring that the cosmeceutical skincare range that you stock and prescribe is as effective as possible, is essential in providing optimum skincare outcomes and results for your clients. Formulating Chemist and Managing Director of asap skin products Carley Stewart explains.

Understanding active skincare formulations and making the right choice can be as easy as A, B, C, D provided you know what you are looking for.

Using the correct form of an active ingredient is essential as it is more potent and plays a more active role in anti-ageing efficacy. Active ingredients are continually researched and tested and are consistently proven to be the most effective form.

Another important factor that impacts the effectiveness of the active ingredient within a product, is the pH. pH is the ‘power of hydrogen’ and indicates how acidic, neutral or alkaline a solution is. The pH is measured in aqueous solutions, with the value between 0 -14, and 7 (neutral) being the middle of the scale. Acidic products have a pH value under 7, Alkaline products have a pH value over 7, with water having a neutral pH value of 7. Lemon juice is highly acidic at pH:2 and soapy water, alkaline at the other end of the scale at pH:12.

So what form of active ingredients are the most effective and what are the ideal pH levels for these actives?


Retinol is the most effective version of Vitamin A. It is a powerful multitasking anti-ageing ingredient, which restores skin, smooths wrinkles, aids in cell turnover, increases collagen production, skin firmness and acts as an antioxidant. To be effective Retinol requires a higher pH level above 5.5. It is important when using a product containing retinol that it has been formulated to maximise effectiveness whilst not irritating the skin.


There are a group of eight B Vitamins, that are essential for many functions within the body, specifically (B3) Niacinamide, (B5) D-Panthenol and (B9) Folic Acid are essential for skincare functionality. The standout amongst the B vitamins is Niacinamide which is a multiskilled powerhouse providing many effective benefits to all skin types. Niacinamide stimulates collagen production, targets pigmentation and boosts the skin’s immunity to UV. Niacinamide has also been scientifically proven to be effective in treating mild to moderate acne and rosacea. For best results, it is essential to recommend a product with a Niacinamide concentration of 10%.



In its purest form Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid, is known as one of the most potent antioxidants to help fight free radical damage. L-Ascorbic acid is the only form of Vitamin C that the body can utilise to promote and stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production, which plumps the skin and improves skin tone and texture. Ascorbic Acid requires a much lower pH than Retinol for effectiveness, penetration and stability. It has been shown that L-Ascorbic Acid should be formulated at pH levels less than 3.5 to enter the skin and also the maximum concentration for optimum percutaneous absorption, performance and effectiveness is 20%. asap super C serum contains 20% L-ascorbic acid.


Telemere Technology assists in protecting the skin’s DNA structure whilst stimulating the repair pathways, resulting in extended cell life, cellular rejuvenation and reduces the appearance, depth and length of wrinkles.

The skin acid mantle, is the thin layer on the surface of the skin made up of natural oils, sweat glands and dead skin cells, and is the protective moisture barrier, with a pH value between 4.5 -5.5 being slightly acidic with the ideal normal skin pH being 5.5. When skin has a pH: 5.5 and is not irritated, it is operating at its best. The skin’s pH will increase with age but remains acidic.  The skin’s pH will change with the application of skincare, cosmetics and soaps. Applying active products to a well-balanced pH skin is essential to maximise the effectiveness of products.

Along with the delivery system of a formulation, packaging is also considered during the product development process and is influenced by the structure of the active’s purest form to protect and assist the stability of a formulation.

Airless technology provides a hygienic solution to formulations, preventing air accessing the product, minimising bacteria and ensuring the entire contents of the product is used. It also provides UV protection, reducing the risk of product oxidising or being light effected, allowing the product to maintain maximum potency.

The above details the essential components of a Cosmeceutical skincare range and also provides an understanding of why skincare products often take several years to formulate.


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