Decipher the INCI: Zinc PCA Daily Moisturiser

Decipher the INCI

Decipher the INCI: Zinc PCA Daily Moisturiser

Welcome back to Decipher the INCI, the definitive guide to the ins and outs of your favourite Q+A products! This time around, we're looking at one of our newer additions, which is packed with amazing actives, the Zinc PCA Daily Moisturiser. As per usual I have been aided by Q+A's Assistant Development Chemist, Faye, and all her expertise. 

If you're new to our Decipher the INCI series, we have a blog on our tips to quickly read an INCI which you can check out here! (And if you're just here for a specific ingredient, use the INCI below to jump right to it!)

But first, the INCI...

The Base

Aqua (Water).  This ingredient makes a great base as it is light, easily absorbed, and helps keep our skin hydrated! 

The Actives

Zinc PCA. A key ingredient in this product, Zinc PCA is a natural astringent, meaning that it helps shrink body tissue. In our case, it helps to tighten up pores to reduce their appearance. It can also help balance oil levels and minimise the effects of collagen breakdown, going so far as to assist in synthesising new collagen cells as well! 

Check out this blog for our full breakdown on what Zinc PCA is!

Sodium Hyaluronate.  Yes, it's a Q+A favourite, Hyaluronic Acid! This ingredient ensures plenty of moisture is being absorbed into your skin and staying there! Because we lose stocks of Hyaluronic Acid in our skin as we age, it perfectly complements the Zinc PCA in keeping your complexion bright and youthful.  

Niacinamide. Otherwise known as Vitamin B3, Niacinamide is an essential vitamin that we need for a healthy body, but unfortunately, we can't produce it on our own. It is loved by many skin types, with benefits that target concerns for oily, dry and even sensitive skin. It’s the ideal ingredient for rebalancing skin and reducing the formation of blemishes – you can read more about the benefits of Niacinamide here.

Eleutherococcus Senticosus (Siberian Ginseng) Root Extract. With colloquial names including touch-me-not and devil's shrub, you might think we were best to avoid it, but far from it!  It has been traditionally used an as anti-stress aid, and can provide brightening phytonutrients, as well as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Siberian Ginseng is especially great for protecting your skin from environmental stress, such as pollution!

The Moisturisers

Glycerin.  Similar to Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the atmosphere into your skin cells, helping to keep you feeling hydrated for longer.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil. Sunflower Oil is versatile and non-comedogenic, working with all the other oils in the formula and for all skin types! It's rich in vitamins A, D & E and linoleic acid, essential for plump, supple complexions. 

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice.  One of our favourite skin soothers, lightweight Aloe Vera helps to moisturise your skin, soothing discomfort and calming irritation. It's particularly great for stressed, dry and sensitive skin, but can help protect all skin types from weathered, dull complexions! 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride.  This technical sounding ingredient is a fractionated form of Coconut Oil. The fatty acids have been separated out, allowing us to get all the moisturising and skin softening benefits without leaving a greasy or oily residue behind. Fractionating this versatile oil also means it has no colour or scent for those of us who prefer their skincare fragrance free!  

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil.  Jojoba Oil has very similar molecular characteristics to the oils, or sebum, already present in our skin. This makes it really easy for the oil to absorb without upsetting your natural oil balance and causing you to feel a greasy film. We love this skin superfood for all the vitamins and fatty acids that help to repair and boost our skin health! 

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil.  Grape Seed Oil is known as a carrier oil, blending well with other ingredients and helping them to be absorbed quickly into your skin. Similarly, to Jojoba Oil, Grape Seed Oil, compliments your skin’s sebum, which means maximum efficacy in regards to absorption, rather than forming a surface film on the skin.

The Viscosity Regulators

Xanthan Gum.  Viscosity regulators are responsible for keeping the consistency of a product stable, and in this case, keeps our moisturiser from turning runny or too thick to squeeze out of the tube!

The Emulsifiers

Cetearyl Alcohol, Coconut Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Sucrose Stearate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Coco-Glucoside. 

The emulsion system is super important for a product which mixes water and oil, keeping everything nice and blended, rather than slowly separating in the tube. Let’s highlight the function of a few in particular…

Coconut Alcohol. Don't worry about this one being an alcohol either! Coconut Alcohol is a blend of fatty alcohols with different molecule chain lengths, which emulsifies the product and helps with the creamy texture of this moisturiser.

Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate. This ingredient is an amino acid (organic compounds that make up proteins), often considered to be hypoallergenic, so it's great for those sensitive skin types!

The Stabilisers

Citric Acid. We've seen Citric Acid pop up quite a few times in this series, so I hope we're all familiar with it! Having the power to keep our Zinc PCA Moisturiser within the pH range of 4.5-7 (our skin sits around 5), this ingredient helps to balance the formula, preventing it from causing excess dryness, or oiliness.

The Preservatives

Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate. 

Keeping our products safe from bacteria and oxidisation are the preservatives! Preservatives like Sodium Benzoate neutralise the threat of bacteria and fungi by going right to the heart of these nasties and lowering their internal pH, preventing them from causing havoc on a product.

The Multifunctionals

Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Extract. These floral ingredients are like two peas in a pod. They condition the skin for a super soft feel and help to boost the preservative system at work in this moisturiser.

Tocopherol. A preservative booster, emollient and antioxidant, Tocopherol is another skin superfood that we love. Rich in vitamin E, it moisturises the skin whilst helping to repair and prevent UV damage. 


So there you have it! The Zinc PCA Daily Moisturiser INCI done and dusted - I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about one of our newer products. Be sure to let me know if there's an INCI you've been looking forward to deciphering and we’ll add it to the list for next time!


Amy Robson
eCommerce coordinator at Q+A and decipherer of INCIs