What do you think of when you hear the word “chemical”? Harsh, smelly, caustic… and definitely not something you want in your skincare. Right?

When the media conveys certain terms in a negative light, it is easy to form parallel perceptions about that word. Each influencer we see bashing “chemicals” can encourage our own tainted view, and suddenly our minds form the connection “chemical equals bad.”  But if you dig through your memories of your early science classes, you may remember that any substance, solid, liquid or gas, is a chemical… even water! So when it comes to skin care ingredients, we can’t paint each molecule with the same brush.

Ingredients within skin care products, especially active ingredients, can be key to achieving the results you desire. Here are a few chemical molecules that you may want to include in your skin care routine.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid belongs to the (AHA) alpha-hydroxy acid family. It has a low molecular weight so it can quickly penetrate into the skin and reach the target area. It functions to help shed dead skin cells to reveal the fresh new layers below. It can also stimulate fibroblasts in the dermis to increase collagen production to help improve elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid belongs to the (BHA) beta-hydroxy acid family. Products containing salicylic acid are commonly recommended for those with oily skin, as the molecule is oil-soluble and can penetrate deep into the pores. It is a potent ingredient for targeting blackheads and acne as it functions to dissolve debris that clogs pores.


Hydroquinone is a powerful ingredient that is used to treat pigmentary concerns. When applied to the skin, the molecule interferes with cellular melanin production, resulting in the desired chemical reduction of pigment. At home, non-prescription strength is available up to 2% and also considered safe and effective for use within a limited time period.


Niacinamide, also called nicotinamide, is a common form of vitamin B3. A molecular multi-tasker, niacinamide can promote various skin benefits including helping build proteins that support skin firmness, regulate the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands, protect cells against environmental stresses such as pollution and toxins, treat inflammatory acne, and more!

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a key molecule involved with skin moisture as it has the capacity to retain water. By helping to trap water within the skin, it promotes a plump and youthful appearance while simultaneously supporting a hydrated and dewy glow. 

As you can see, chemicals don’t have to scare you; some of them can help you! We offer a wide variety of skin care products containing these, and other beneficial ingredients. While this article is a brief introduction to these key molecules, I would love to make specific product recommendations for you in order to best achieve the skin you desire. In person and virtual consultations with me are available and can be booked using our contact form.

Melissa Rossi, Master Skin Therapist