How to Find Vitamin A, B, and C in Your Cosmetics

By: Dr. Jetske Ultee
How to Find Vitamin A, B, and C in Your Cosmetics
What should you rely on and not rely on when purchasing cosmetics? An overview of the substances you want to see in the ingredients list. Even this does take a bit of practise though. Vitamin A, B, C... who wants to join me? 

Elaborate substance names

There are many substances you don’t want in your cosmetics. The list of irritating ingredients is long and starts with perfume, fragrances and alcohol denat. Fortunately, there are also ingredients which have a proven beneficial effect, if present in sufficiently high concentrations and packaged in the correct way. Which substances are these and under which name can they be found in the ingredients list?

Vitamin A

The collective name for the various forms of Vitamin A is retinoids. The most common form to be found in regular cosmetics is retinol. Alongside this is tretinoin, also known as Vitamin A Acid; that ingredient is only available on prescription. This substance also has a real beneficial effect on the skin. It can visibly reduce wrinkles and pigmentation spots and make the skin supple. Retinol is less effective and can be used without a prescription. It is a popular ingredient in cosmetics. The substance is, however, very unstable (reacts with light and oxygen) and carries a high risk of irritation. Manufacturers therefore decide to use a low percentage. But that, of course, comes directly at the expense of its efficiency.

Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide

Vitamin B3 has gained prominence as Niacinamide. This cosmetic winner improves the skin barrier function, reduces melasma (from 4%) and acne, soothes and protects the skin from UV damage (from as little as 0.2%).

Vitamin C

This ingredient is listed under the name of ascorbic Acid. But derivatives of Vitamin C are usually used with complex names such as ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate. Is this displayed on your product? That is super, as Vitamin C is proven to have a positive effect on reducing impurities and signs of skin ageing (from 3%).

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant which can neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals. This ingredient is best when it goes hand in hand with Vitamin C. The substances strengthen each other’s functioning. As a duo these ingredients can reduce pigmentation spots (concentration of 1%). Vitamin E can be found under the name of tocopherol.

Liquorice root extract

This soothing ingredient can be found under the name dipotassium glycyrrhizate, glycyrrhiza glabra extract or ammonium glycyrrhizate. The extract is also sebum regulating, anti-inflammatory and kills bacteria.


Evodia also has a calming effect on skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Evodia, an extract taken from the fruit of the Chinese plant with the same name, can be found under the name Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract


Allantoin is found naturally in comfrey root as well as other things. It is a popular ingredient in cosmetic products, particularly because of its ability in stimulating wound healing. This fine substance hydrates and also stimulates the exfoliating process.


You would want to see glycerine on your product. Because the substance hydrates even faster than Vaseline. It promotes the recovery of the skin barrier function.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is usually displayed with its English name on cosmetics ingredients lists: sodium hyaluronate. This substance not only draws moisture from deeper skin layers towards the outermost skin layer, but also from the atmosphere.

Sodium PCA

This sounds more frightening than it is: sodium PCA. This ingredient is very good at retaining moisture and ensures an optimum skin barrier function. Therefore a welcome guest on the label.

Our products

All of the above named ingredients are found in high levels in the skincare products by Dr. Jetske Ultee. See for yourself on the labels of our Cleanser, Toner, Exfoliant, Moisturizer and Suncare. Skin analysis Dr. Jetske Ultee Also read the weekly blog by Dr. Jetske Ultee

Skin Analysis

Wondering which products are best suited to your skin?

Take the test