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Trending Skincare Ingredients and Why They Work

We got the scoop from board-certified dermatologist, mom, co-founder of Stryke Club Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness on all the trending skincare ingredients we keep hearing about and why they work.

Adapalene (topical retinoid)

Adapalene is the strongest topical retinoid available over the counter without a prescription. It is the hero ingredient when it comes to acne – including and especially for blackheads. Adapalene increases cell turnover and therefore removes that top layer that might be leading to clogged pores. It also reduces sebum/oil production, decreases inflammation, boosts collagen production and fights hyperpigmentation. If you have blackheads, you want to incorporate adapalene into your regimen, but you must do it on a regular and consistent basis. Start with a pea-sized amount 2-3 times a week on clean skin at bedtime and increase the frequency to nightly as you tolerate it. At first, it might cause some dryness, if so, skip a few days and use a non-comedogenic moisturizer. Adapalene can be a game changer for blackheads and is the strongest topical retinoid you can use. Be patient, because it can take 3 full months of regular use to see the benefits. Stryke Club has adapalene available without a prescription.

(Adapalene is the stronger cousin of other retinols that are on the market. Retinols are a less potent form of topical retinoid, and though they can help with blackheads, they are not as strong and therefore you will likely need to use them longer to see any impact.)

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that is commonly used in a range of skincare products to target acne and blackheads. Salicylic acid has many properties, it penetrates pores and is comedolytic, which means it exfoliates the top layer of your skin and helps unclog pores. Salicylic acid can brighten the complexion, minimize pore size and it is also anti-inflammatory. Salicylic acid is used in many cleansers, toners, spot treatments and serums due to these effects.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid and lactic acid, can also be a great choice to help fight blackheads - in particular if you tend to have dry, sensitive skin. Alpha hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants. These acids break apart the bonds between skin cells and help them to shed. They can also have a plumping and moisturizing effect as they have humectant properties and tend to pull water into the skin and help with hydration. So, while they are not as strong as other ingredients like salicylic acid and topical retinoids, they are a good choice in the setting of sensitive skin or those that struggle with eczema.

Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is a clean and effective ingredient and can be found in some cleansers for the face and/or body. Sodium hypochlorite helps to reduce bacteria on the skin and also helps with inflammation. It’s used for eczema and acne prone skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant molecule that is often added to skin care preparations to promote hydration. It is a hygroscopic molecule that can grab onto and hold 1000x its weight in water. It is often used in or combined with hydroxyacid products as another ingredient to help pull water into the skin, maximize hydration and minimize irritation from the acids.


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