Activity Matters: Why the Fillers In Your Skincare Don't Do Anything for Your Skin

If you look at the ingredient list of most skincare products, you will see water listed in one form or another. Water, as well as other filler ingredients such as wax, oil, emulsifiers and fragrances, make up a significant portion of skincare and cosmetic products. The ingredients that actually work on your skin - the active ingredients like Vitamin C - usually can be found at a percentage of around 2%.

But if these fillers don't do anything for consumers' skin, why do companies continue to include so much of them in their formulations?

Skincare brands like to use water in their products for a few reasons. First, it's cheap. It's significantly less expensive to fill a bottle with mostly water than with high concentrations of active ingredients. Second, water helps the product spread on the skin and makes it feel nicer. Water is an easy carrying mechanism for the small percentage of active ingredients in a formula. Lastly, consumers often don't know the difference. We are so used to water being the main ingredient in our skincare formulations that we don't know how it feels when it isn't.

All this water in your skincare may not be hurting your skin.. but it sure isn't helping. Because water is inactive, it doesn't actually do anything to solve any problems you're experiencing. It won't help correct skin issues such as acne, dehydration, irritation, or hyperpigmentation. It doesn't address wrinkles or other aging concerns. Don't get me wrong - products that utilize a lot of water in their formulations feel nice and can give the skin a certain desired appearance. Silicon, vegetable oil, emulsifiers and propylene glycol all work together to create an illusion of moisture. But at the end of the day, these fillers don't help resolve the fundamental problems lurking underneath your skin.

When Mox set out to formulate their products, they knew they wanted to do things differently. Instead of reaching for the common filler ingredients, they skipped water and other inactive carrying mechanisms. By choosing to go right to the ingredients that would create activity in their formulas, they did away with all of the skincare "fluff." Their formulas are composed solely of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, CBD and delivery agents - ingredients that can be found in your skin already. Because your skin recognizes these ingredients, the products drive nutrition directly into skin cells, rather than just sitting on the surface. This leads to faster results and an improved appearance.

Why did Mox want to shake things up on the skincare scene? As the compounding pharmacist in charge of the formulas explained, they wanted to "create products that work." To "work" is synonymous with activity. A moisturizer may feel like it works because it feels nice on your skin and your face looks hydrated, but if it isn't nourishing your skin from within and going beyond the surface, it's not actually changing anything.

What exactly are these ingredients that work so much better for our skin? They're molecules that are naturally present in our bodies: like vitamin C, vitamin A, squalene and cholesterol. Including them in a skincare product makes that product much more powerful. Rather than just sit on the top of the skin, Mox's formulas are absorbed on a deeper level to heal the skin from within. Your skin recognizes them and immediately brings them into skin cells, hastening the results and making the product much more effective. By utilizing the skin's natural abilities and harnessing them with potent formulas, Mox products work much faster and more effectively than other skincare products. Another bonus of these potent formulations is that you only need a small amount for each application, giving you much more bang for your buck.

If you're impressed, you should be - Mox is altering the way consumers should think of their skincare products. Rather than gravitating towards aesthetics, we should be looking at the composition of the formulas and examining what ingredients companies are using. But don't expect a lot of skincare companies to change their ingredient lists significantly and nix fillers. This way of formulating skincare is much more expensive. It also requires a lot more education about how the skin as an organ works. Mox is carving out a unique space in the skincare industry that likely won't be imitated for quite some time.

Article written by Amber Broder of You can find more of her work on her blog and her instagram.