Active Ingredient Percentages in Cosmetic Products

Let’s remember from my Ingredients Reading 101 article: The ingredient list of a product is a list of is hierarchical according to its concentration. This means that the ingredient with the highest concentration is listed first, and ingredients with lower concentrations move down the list. We would like to see some active ingredients in the top rows and some active ingredients in the bottom rows. For example, actives such as niacinamide and retinol formulated at lower concentrations cannot be considered ineffective because they are more effective.

Low percentage ingredients are useless.

Some active ingredients work very well at low percentages.

The overall percentages of popular active ingredients in cosmetic products that works on the skin:

  • Vitamin C (LAA- Ascorbic acid/L-ascorbic acid) at least 10%, 15%-20% can also be used if the skin can tolerate it.
  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA) 0.25%-2.5%, ideally 1% and above.
  • Salicylic Acid (Bha) 1%-2
  • AHAs at least 5%, ideally 10%
  • Retinol 0.01% and above is effective. In cosmetic products we usually see 0.05% and 0.1%.
  • Azelaic Acid at least 10%
  • Niacinamide 5% is an effective rate for spots. For general skin care, at least 2% should be sufficient.

In order to get the maximum benefit from the active ingredients, it is important to follow these percentages. However, in cases where the percentages of active ingredients are not indicated on the product packaging, it can be difficult to estimate these percentages accurately. If you want to have accurate information about the percentages of active ingredients, it is important to choose products that list the percentages on the product packaging.

Some of my favorite companies are those that list the percentages of active ingredients on the product packaging. These companies increase their credibility by providing customers with information about product ingredients in a more transparent way. Some of these are: The Ordinary, Paula’s Choice, etc.

Although some products list vitamin C and retinol as ingredients, the formulation may contain vitamin C and retinol esters, which may be less effective. Therefore, it is important to check the ingredients. In fact, formulation, carrier ingredients, inactive ingredients, and ingredient quality, along with percentages, are the factors that determine whether products are effective or not.

Thank you for reading.