Dr Ian Webster
Dr Ian Webster

Know Your Ingredients

What are the 3 most important factors to take into account when choosing your skin care products?

  • Ingredients
  • Performance
  • Budget

Dermastore® was the first online cosmeceutical skin store in South Africa and it was important to us that we should add value to products we planned to sell. One of the best ways that we could do this was to support our customers in making good skin care choices.

Buying medical-grade skincare products is an investment in yourself, and it is important that our clients know what ingredients are in the products they buy. It is equally important that products perform as they should and that they fit within an individual’s skin care budget. We know that if we get all three of these criteria right the outcomes are usually happy ones!

Investing in cosmeceutical products is investing in your skin health.

We have seen skin go from zero to hero once a person starts to use a cosmeceutical product with clinically proven ingredients.  As with most medical-grade skincare products, it is best to use them over a period of time to see the best results and not change your skincare routine too often. It is vital to give the ingredients an opportunity to work and to make lasting changes.

When we have younger skins there is not always a need for active ingredients but in our experience as soon as the first signs of ageing appear, many people seek the best active ingredients they can find to slow down the hands of time.

We often get requests for skincare ranges that are not available in South Africa and it is always of interest to us how some people will go to extraordinary lengths to get these products from overseas, only to find that they have to pay a rather hefty import duty when the products arrive at Customs in SA.

People become fixated by these ‘unavailable’ products but by understanding ingredients and how they work they can often replace these with products ranges that are already being sold in South Africa. The ingredients are very similar if not the same and with expert advice a replacement product can often be found.

We are always ready and waiting to help you on Dermastore® Support with any queries about products and ingredients.

Below are 15 of our most well-loved, clinically proven ingredients that we know will make a difference to your skin:


Aminofil® is a revolutionary, patented amino acid derivative patented by NeoStrata. It helps to build the skin’s natural volume over a period of time and to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, usually in areas on the face where there are repetitive facial expressions.

Apple Stem Cell

Apple Stem Cell extract is derived from apple stem cells. This ingredient helps to combat the ageing process of skin cells, preserving a youthful look and vitality of the skin. In particular, the cell extract from Uttwiler Spätlauber, a variety of a Swiss Apple, yields the best stem cells suited to human skin that are rich in phytonutrients and proteins.


Arbutin is a naturally occurring derivative of hydroquinone which is considered the gold standard ingredient in the treatment of pigmentation. Arbutin is believed to be one of the best alternatives to hydroquinone as it helps to reduce pigmentation without some of the risks associated with hydroquinone.

Ferulic Acid

Ferulic Acid is derived from plant cell walls. It can be found in wheat, oats, brown rice, coffee, peanuts, oranges and apples. It is a potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals damage. It can provide benefits for the skin when used alone, but studies have shown that, when used with Vitamins C and E (both of which have antioxidant properties too), it can enhance their effects. Ferulic Acid can offer some protection from UV rays and help prevent sun damage, but is not a substitute for sunscreen.


Gluconolactone, a Poly Hydroxy Acid (PHA) that is found naturally in the skin. It provides full-strength anti-ageing benefits without irritation and even suitable for people with Rosacea, sensitive skins or those who have recently undergone cosmetic procedures. Gluconolactone strengthens the skin barrier function, reducing sensitivity to irritants and skin redness over time. It helps preserve the skin’s collagen by reducing glycation

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) which helps to treat photo-damaged (sun-damaged) skin. It helps to speed up cell turnover which slows down as we age. Our skin takes longer to renew itself and a dry, dead layer of skin builds up making the skin appear dull. By speeding up the process of skin renewal our skin behaves like it did when were younger, giving it a more radiant, healthy glow.

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is a natural by-product of fermented malting rice that is used for Japanese rice wine better known as Sake. It helps to reduce the appearance of pigmentation and to brighten the skin and give it a glowing radiance.

L-Ascorbic Acid

Vitamin C in its purest form is also known as L-Ascorbic Acid. It is known to support collagen synthesis. One of the ways that our skin keeps itself renewed and youthful-looking is through the production of a protein called collagen. As we age, our skin naturally stops producing as much collagen as it did in our younger years and less collagen can result in more signs of skin ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C is proven to support collagen synthesis. In addition, it has been shown to help brighten skin, retain moisture, protect the skin’s natural defenses against UV radiation.

Lactobionic Acid and Maltobionic Acid

Lactobionic Acid and Maltobionic Acid are patented, non-irritating ‘Bionic’ PHAs derived from natural sugars, help prevent and reverse the appearance of photo-ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores, and roughness. They are natural humectants as they bind water to create a moisturising barrier on skin. Lactobionic Acid is also a potent antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage.


NeoGlucosamine® is a patented Non-Acid Amino sugar technology that gently exfoliates the skin to promote cellular turnover, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, and exfoliates hyperpigmented spots and acne for a more even skin tone. NeoGlucosamine® is also a building block of Hyaluronic Acid, skin’s natural filler, providing superior plumping of the skin, smoothing the appearance of lines and wrinkles from the inside and creating a firmer, more lifted look.


Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that has become a popular anti-ageing ingredient in cosmeceuticals. It is able to penetrate into the skin providing superior hydration and to support the skin barrier function. It has a high tolerability causing no irritation.  It is suitable for those with Rosacea or very sensitive skin. It is also a useful ingredient found in some acne preparations. It is also a good ingredient to use alongside Retinol as it helps to reduce irritation and improve skin tolerance.


Phloretin is a form of a natural phenol that can be found in the leaves of an apple tree as well as the Manchurian apricot. It is clinically proven to provide antioxidant protection by neutralizing free-radicals present in the environment.


Retinol is still considered the Gold Standard of topical anti-ageing products by Dermatologists worldwide. It has the ability to rejuvenate the skin and improving the overall appearance. It speeds up cell turnover, it reduces fine lines and wrinkles, evens skin tone, improves texture and skin discolouration and gives the skin a radiant glow.


Resveratrol is a type of naturally occurring phenol that is produced by some plants such as grapevines. It is a major contributor in the antioxidant potential of red wine. It has several major biological activities which include the ability to act as a skin antioxidant.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid which is commonly used in acne formulations. Its structure is such that it can penetrate into the skin cells deeply. This keratolytic action loosens and removes the top of layer of skin cells which encourages exfoliation, cellular turnover and the unclogging of pores in oily, acne skins.

Posted in NEWS / Ingredient Focus on March 9th, 2017.

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