The Best Natural Skincare Ingredients To Look For In Your Products, According to a Top Dermatologist

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Is natural skincare always better? NYC dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry explains that when it comes down to it, it's really all about the actual ingredients in the product—not a "natural" or "clean" label.  

"Natural skincare is great, but everything that's natural isn't safe. So these terms 'natural' and 'safe,' they're not regulated by the FDA. While plants have amazing, powerful ingredients that make fantastic skincare ingredients, they also include chemicals like fragrance, which can lead to allergy [or] irritation and inflammation,” explains Dr. Michelle—so she recommends focusing on the ingredient list instead of the label.

So what ingredients should you be looking for? Here are some of Dr. Michelle's favorite natural ingredients: 

1. Bakuchiol  

"We often call it the green retinoid. It's a fantastic natural alternative to retinol," Dr. Michelle explains.  

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum


  2. Glycolic Acid 

"Glycolic acid is essentially cane sugar acid. It is well tolerated by the skin because it's both an exfoliant and hydrating," she says. 

3. Azelaic Acid  

"Azelaic Acid has become more popular over the years. It's made from wheat or rye or barley and it helps to treat acne, but it also helps to take care of those dark spots. And it's really safe. It's one of the few medications that even in the prescription form we can use during pregnancy and while a woman is lactating," Dr. Michelle says.   

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream


4. Niacinamide  

"Niacinamide is essentially Vitamin B3. And what's great about that is it's very soothing for the skin, but it also helps to block pigment formation, so it's going to help to get rid of those dark spots and even out the skin tone, plus help to give your skin that radiances, that luminosity," she explains.

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