The ABCs of skincare active ingredients.
The ABCs of skincare active ingredients.

Modern skincare routines seem to demand a whole alphabet of vitamins. But hard-working skincare products don’t have to be hard to understand.


Clinique’s dermatologist-developed formulas leverage the right potent vitamins and active skincare ingredients to help brighten, smooth, hydrate and more. So, let’s talk about how – and where – you can get your vitamins. With the right products, it’s as easy as ABC (not to mention pro-vitamin D).


Vitamin A.

You’ve heard it referred to as a retinoid, or maybe vitamin A. Skin loves vitamin A for the way it helps boost cell turnover. For our most advanced anti-ageing innovation yet, Clinique Smart Clinical Repair™ Wrinkle Correcting Serum, we upped our retinoid game with a gentle yet effective vitamin A derivative. Our advanced serum is powerful enough to help smooth, renew and re-plump the look of skin, but still gentle enough to use twice a day. Our innovative formula combines a potent retinoid with our signature peptide complex, while hyaluronic acid helps plump skin with lasting hydration.


But even this next-gen retinoid should be handled with care. Any retinoid can cause purging in the first days and weeks of use (more on this in our Beginner’s Guide To Retinol). Make sure to start slow – every other night, then every night, before adding in mornings – and pair with a good SPF, as active skincare ingredients like retinoids can make skin more sensitive to the sun.


Vitamin B.

The B vitamin derivatives you’ll likely spot in skincare ingredients lists are niacinamide and panthenol. Niacinamide helps to improve the look of signs of ageing, soothe inflammation and reduce the look of enlarged pores, while panthenol is a humectant, which helps keep skin hydrated and strengthen the moisture barrier.


When skin is lacking vitamin B, you might notice dryness and flakiness, but when added to your skincare routine, this powerful ingredient can help nourish, hydrate and smooth the skin, making it ideal for the delicate undereye area. All About Eyes™ Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage uses panthenol and other good-for-skin ingredients like hyaluronic acid to hydrate, cool and comfort with a lightweight formula in a refreshing rollerball system. Roll it on under or over makeup for a cooling, comforting burst of vitamin B. Looking for skincare with niacinamide? We’ve gone one better – Even Better™ All-Over Concealer + Eraser is a skin-perfecting concealer built with skincare active ingredients, including niacinamide, to help improve the look of skin over time.


Vitamin C.

When it comes to your skin, vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a multi-faceted powerhouse that absolutely deserves its spot in the skincare hall of fame. It’s beloved for the way it helps boost skin’s glow, but what this powerful skincare active is best known for is its ability to help improve brightness and even the look of skin tone. It’s combined with Clinique’s exclusive brightening molecule UP302 in Even Better Clinical™ Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter to help target the look of dark spots, including blemish scarring, age spots and sun spots.


Vitamin D.

Or rather, as we use in our SPF formulas, pro-vitamin D. This vitamin helps add another layer of protection to the SPF formulas, helping protect skin from daily dehydrators. Boosting skin’s resilience is the key to achieving a healthy-looking glow, which brings us nicely to NEW Moisture Surge™ SPF 25 Sheer Hydrator. Along with a SPF 25 upgrade and a weightless cloud-like cream texture, our newest Moisture Surge™ innovation combines a healthy dose of pro-vitamin D with the same hydrating, glow-giving benefits of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera bio-ferment. Also referred to as the sunshine vitamin, this added skin nutrition helps to protect your glow.


Vitamin E.

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin E refers to a family of oil-soluble antioxidants. Tocopherol is likely the term you see the most in ingredients lists; if you see this word on a label, rest assured you’re treating your skin to vitamin E which can help to soothe inflammation. In our bestselling Moisture Surge™ 100H, vitamin E is combined with vitamin C to help hydrate, nourish and soothe skin, while restoring a healthy glow. Delivered in a refreshing gel-cream texture, this vitamin complex helps skin look and feel deeply hydrated and ultra-pampered for days.


There you have it – better skincare that’s as easy as ABC.


Want to know more about active ingredients in skincare? Book in for an expert-led Skin School consultation, where you’ll get a customised routine plus helpful tips and tricks to help you unlock your best skin yet.

Published April 2023.