The Skincare Glossary: Essential Ingredients and Their Benefits

The Skincare Glossary: Essential Ingredients and Their Benefits - Sente Labs

Every medical-grade product at Senté is formulated using only the best skincare ingredients. Quality ingredients make all the difference — that’s skincare 101. Senté is proud to offer active, innovative, and efficacious formulas backed by science.

Tested and recommended by reputable dermatologists, there’s a reason why Senté medical-grade skincare solutions are endorsed by 500+ physicians from many accredited institutions. Learn about the ingredients we incorporate into our clean skincare products.

Heparan Sulfate Analog (HSA)

A woman applying Senté cream with HSA — one of the best ingredients in our skincare glossary

Heparan Sulfate Analog (HSA) is the flagship of the Senté brand. It’s patented and exclusive to Senté products, and it’s consistently praised by our customers and dermatologists as one of the best skincare ingredients available.

In order to understand why our HSA technology is so revolutionary, you’ll need to know about heparan sulfate. Heparan sulfate is a naturally occurring molecule in our skin that is important for renewing cells and damaged skin. The problem is that the unmodified molecule can’t be absorbed into the skin because of its high molecular weight and its negative charge. That’s where we come in.

We have modified this molecule, creating an analog that has become revolutionary for skincare. As you brush up on skincare 101, HSA is a fantastic starting point. In short, heparan sulfate offers these vital benefits:

  • Reduce visible redness
  • Promote deep hydration
  • Strengthen barrier function
  • Decrease the appearance of uneven skin tone
  • Improve appearance of fine lines

Retinol and Vitamin A

Retinol and Vitamin A are known for their potency, and retinoids are notoriously harsh for people with sensitive skin. While our products with retinol and vitamin A are highly concentrated, we only use the highest quality, medical-grade ingredients, and test them vigorously to ensure that they’re gentle enough for sensitive skin, without compromising efficacy.

Retinol is recognized as one of the best skincare ingredients because it stimulates the skin, leading to an increased production of elastin and collagen, which naturally helps skin to maintain its thickness, firmness, and elasticity. Additionally, retinol reduces the size of pores and refines the skin’s texture for a smoother, more even-looking complexion.


Cysteamine is an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the appearance of dark spots, works for all skin tones, decreases future hyperpigmentation, and can be used on the skin as a long-term solution (if it does not contain hydroquinone, like the Senté cysteamine cream).


A woman smiling in the mirror while applying the best skincare ingredients

Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 that’s found in a variety of foods, including cereal grains, eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products. If you look it up in a skincare glossary, it may also be called nicotinamide. Niacinamide is an essential nutrient for many reasons, including maintaining healthy, even-looking skin.

Niacinamide is among the best skincare ingredients because it stimulates the production of lipids, keratin, ceramides, and protein, which helps to restore and rebuild the skin’s barrier, naturally minimizing water loss and delivering deep hydration while also preventing external stressors from being absorbed.

Senté products with niacinamide are clinically shown to reduce dehydration, inflammation, visible redness, and the appearance of pore size.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG), or sugar molecule, that occurs naturally in the body but decreases in supply with age. It’s a very powerful humectant that’s capable of holding 1,000 times its own weight in water, so it’s no surprise that hyaluronic acid is known as one of the best skincare ingredients for people prone to dry, cracked, and creased skin.

Applied topically, hyaluronic acid pulls moisture from the inner layers of the skin and the air, bringing moisture to the skin’s surface layers. As you might assume, this extra moisture works wonders in keeping skin hydrated and healthy.

Zinc Oxide

 A woman with Senté sunscreen formulated with the best skincare ingredients

Zinc Oxide is a natural mineral that’s frequently used in many skincare products, including diaper rash creams, calamine lotions, and mineral sunscreens. It provides broad-spectrum protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, as well as visible blue light emitted from the screens of electronic devices. Preventing light damage is skincare 101 and should be among your highest priorities.

Zinc oxide is also one of the best skincare ingredients for soothing inflammation, calming redness, and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Iron Oxide

Iron Oxide is similar to zinc oxide, in that it’s a natural mineral that acts as a shield from ultraviolet and visible blue light. The synthetic version of iron oxide is often used as a pigment in cosmetics and skincare products, including reducing the appearance of whiteness when applying sunscreen.

In addition to protecting the skin from natural and artificial light, iron oxide acts as a barrier between skin and airborne pollutants, free radicals, and other external stressors.


Peptides are amino acids that your body produces to build collagen, elastin, and other proteins. They’re among the best skincare ingredients for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin barrier health and elasticity, and minimizing inflammation.


Ceramides are naturally occurring fatty acids that account for half of the lipids found in the outermost layers of the skin. They’re essentially the glue that holds skin cells together, forming a protective barrier that protects against external stressors and locks moisture in.

Because sun exposure, aging, and environmental stressors reduce the body’s production of ceramides, supplementing them topically is a great way to alleviate chronic dryness and strengthen the skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a well-known nutrient and antioxidant that will be found in any skincare glossary. Besides being an important part of a healthy diet, it’s one of the best skincare ingredients for brightening pigmentation, neutralizing free radicals, and reducing signs of aging.


Antioxidants are extremely important because they neutralize free radicals that cause inflammation and damage the elastin and collagen fibers that give skin its elasticity and firmness. Once free radicals are neutralized, they’re not able to damage your skin cells, naturally leading to healthier skin. Simply put, antioxidants simultaneously relieve and protect the skin.


Caffeine is a famous stimulant, but did you know that it can also stimulate the skin? It has anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictive properties that tighten and brighten the skin. It’s also an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is often praised as one of the best skincare ingredients for relieving dry, chapped skin naturally — that’s skincare 101. It’s a very effective emollient that absorbs into the skin and soothes inflammation, and it’s also an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals.

Vitamin E is already found in the skin’s sebum (oils). With age, vitamin E levels diminish, so applying vitamin E topically is a simple way to replenish it. The oils in your skin act as a natural barrier, keeping external stressors out while locking moisture in.

Glycolic Acid

A woman applying moisturizer

Glycolic Acid is derived from sugar cane and is part of the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family. It’s among the best skincare ingredients for exfoliation because of the low molecular weight that allows it to go deeper into the skin, stimulating collagen production and removing dead skin cells from the surface layers.

When people are young, their skin renews itself approximately every 28 days. As we age, that process slows down and can take 40 days or longer. This slowed renewal process causes dead skin cells to accumulate, leading to blemished, dull, and rough skin. Exfoliation acids like glycolic acid remove those dead cells, naturally brightening your complexion.

Shop Medical-Grade Skincare Solutions

We hope this skincare glossary has been informative. If you’re not quite sure how to select the best skincare ingredients for your needs, take our Skincare Quiz for personalized recommendations just for you. You’re also welcome to contact us for expert guidance in selecting the right Senté products.

No matter which products you choose, rest assured that you’re getting medical-grade formulas that are active, innovative, and efficacious, as well as clean, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, paraben-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and easy to use.

Our products are formulated with our revolutionary HSA technology. Once you try HSA, you’ll understand why it comes so highly recommended by dermatologists.

The best skincare ingredients lead to the best results — that’s skincare 101. Our goal is to help our customers take back control of their skin, and in turn, restore their confidence. In addition to offering highly-effective products, we strive to educate our customers. Explore our skincare blog for expert tips on all things skincare. Start a better skincare regimen with Senté.