With the bewildering bevy of skincare and anti-ageing products on the shelves, and new ones popping up weekly, plus celebrity endorsements to boot, how do you choose solutions that are tried, tested and true? We look at the six ingredients that should be a part of your skincare regime now:
Retinol is the undisputed gold standard and top of the list of anti-ageing heavyweights. It is a Vitamin A derivative and considered the best anti-ageing multitasker, as it addresses fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, pigmentation and loss of firmness. It stimulates cellular repair and boosts collagen and elastin repair, sloughs off dead cells and increases blood circulation for a healthy, youthful glow.
Says cosmetics guru Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go to the Beauty Counter Without Me: “It helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells while increasing the amount of skin-support substances and has been shown to increase the skin’s collagen production and glycosaminoglycans content, resulting in firmer skin with an improved texture and enhanced barrier function.”
How to use it: Although several retinol products claim they can be used during the day, it’s best to use it at night, as it does make skin sensitive to sun and irritation. Always use a sunscreen if you use retinol.
Find it in: SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream Pure Retinol; Optiphi Rejuvenating Revitalizer; Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm; DermaQuest Retinol Peptide Youth Serum; Theravine Ultravine Contouring Retinol Eye Pads; Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Serum. We are very excited about Neoretin Discrom Control GelCreamSPF50 Pigment Lightener, which uses RetinSphere technology in a Whitening Booster system, for the first time combining retinol and sunscreen. It has aesthetic doctors raving about its effects.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Dry skin is ageing skin. Period. HA takes top position with retinol as an anti-ageing ingredient. It is a naturally-occurring polysaccharide in the human body and provides moisture, plumpness, firmness and suppleness to skin.
It is a moisture binding humectant and the molecule attracts and retains more than a thousand times its weight in water. It activates the skin’s own wrinkle-fighting mechanism to plump up wrinkles from the inside out. It is also the star ingredient of dermal fillers like Restylane, Juvederm and Emervel. With age, HA diminishes in skin.
How to use it: Apply as a topical serum or cream. Be aware though, warns Leslie Baumann in her book The Skin Type Solution, that “…in very dry climates, this waterbinding ingredient can’t draw moisture from the environment, so it may actually start to pull moisture out of the deeper layers of your skin”.
Find it in: Eucerin Anti-Age Hyaluron-Filler Eye Treatment SPF15; SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel; Rodial Dragon Blood Hyaluronic Mask; Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate; Esse Serum; Comfort Zone Action Sublime Serum Visible Rejuvenating Serum.
Antioxidants fight strongly in the frontline against free radicals – harmful molecules which form due to sun exposure, UV rays and environmental and air polution that destroy collagen, elastin and DNA. Not only does it repair the damage done by free radicals and reduce inflammation, it also prevents future damage.
The best known antioxidants are Vit C, Vit E, CoffeeBerry, idebenone, green tea, pomegranate, CoQ10 and grapeseed oil extract, also known as resveratrol.
How to use it: Apply an antioxidant serum or cream daily after cleansing and toning.
Find it in: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Combination Anti-Oxidant Treatment; Estée Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Crème.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)
If you are after radiant, fresh skin, AHAs are your go-to products. The acids contained in them (like glycolic acid) break down the bonds between dead cells and reveal fresh, new glowing skin. You can use at-home AHA formulas or have regular salon peels to experience the rejuvenating benefits of these acids.
How to use it: Use at-home AHA products or peels not more than twice a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is.
Some cleansers like Dermaquest Skin Therapy C-Lipoic Cleanser contain glycolic acid.
Find it in: Uriage Hyséac K18 For Oily Skin With Blocked Pores unclogs pores with 18% AHAs and BHAs combined with liquorice extract. It makes pores tighter and fades blemishes.
Peptides are the amino-acid chains that make up protein. Palmitoyl peptapeptide-3, known commercially as Matrixyl, has been shown to stimulate collagen production in the skin – it signals cells to restart collagen production, which results in skin firming with regular use. Other potent peptides are Argireline, which works somewhat like Botox, relaxing wrinkles.
How to use it: Apply as a serum, day or night cream.
Find it in: Dr Gobac Cosmeceuticals Day Balance Cream; Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream; Placecol Extreme Repair Night Cream.
Harmful UV rays destroy collagen and elastin fibers and damage DNA. Sunscreen, which contains UV filters that absorb or scatter UV rays, keeps skin from wrinkling, sagging, hyperpigmentation and more serious problems such as skin cancer.
How to use it: Choose a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of no less than 30. Use enough – a teaspoon is the right amount for your face. If you’re outdoors, reapply every two hours.
Try: Heliocare Advanced SPF50 Compact in Light; Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50; Juliette Armand Sun Film SPF30 and Cetaphil Daylong range.