Derms Are Losing It Over These 6 Buzzy Ingredients—Here's What to Try

I feel like every day, I hear about a trendy ingredient that’s starring in skincare products, whether it’s a high-tech face cleanser or a new eye serum. With so many buzzy ingredients out there, it’s hard to know which ones to choose from—and which ones actually work, or just sound cool. 

I spoke with derms to find out which buzzy ingredients are actually worth your time (and money!). Many of these ingredients have been around for a while and are now having a moment in the sun, while some of them are brand new skincare ingredients. Azadeh Shirazi, board-certified dermatologist and founder of AziMD Skincare and Marisa Garshick, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at Cornell, weigh in on the ingredients they’re actually excited about and why. Plus, we included the absolute best skincare products to try for each ingredient, so you can start glowing ASAP.


(Image credit: @emmahoareau )

Azelaic Acid

"Azelaic acid is the most underrated skincare ingredient. A natural occurring acid found in grains, it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties making it a very effective treatment for acne and rosacea. It’s a gentle exfoliant, reduces hyperpigmentation, gets along well with other skincare ingredients, and it’s pregnancy-safe. What else can you ask for?”—Azadeh Shirazi

The products to try:


"Niacinamide, which is a form of vitamin B3, is known for its various benefits on the skin as it helps to reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne and rosacea, improves discoloration and hyperpigmentation, functions as an antioxidant, and supports the skin barrier to help retain moisture. Given [that] it’s so versatile, it’s being added to many different skincare products to help calm the skin and reduce the potential for irritation, and [niacinamide is] also used on its own to help calm the skin and regulate sebum production.”—Marisa Garshick

The products to try:


"These are amino acids that function as the building blocks for collagen and elastin. They work great in conjunction with retinols, vitamin C, and exfoliants like glycolic or salicylic acid to help firm the skin.”���Shirazi

The products to try:

Tranexamic Acid

"This ingredient, which traditionally has been used in an oral form for those with increased uterine bleeding to help with clotting, has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of melasma. While it has been used in an oral form for the treatment of moderate to severe melasma, it is now also available as a topical ingredient found in different formulations to help with hyperpigmentation and discoloration.”—Garshick

The products to try:


"The latest skincare MVP is retinal (retinaldehyde) because it delivers the same anti-aging benefits as retinol but in a faster—up to 11 times—and more efficient way. It’s the most effective form without a prescription for anti-aging purposes.”—Shirazi

The products to try:


"As we learn the importance of the microbiome, we recognize the importance of the microbiome as it relates to the skin barrier. When the microbiome is disrupted, the skin’s protective barrier becomes compromised, making the skin more vulnerable to a variety of skin issues, including redness, sensitivity, and irritation. For this reason, prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics are being incorporated into skincare to help balance the microbiome and support the skin barrier.”—Garshick

The products to try:

Next: How to Buy the Absolute Best Sunscreen for Your Skin Type, According to Derms

Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.