When it comes to looking after your skin, there are a lot of products to choose from. But knowing which ingredients are the best ones for your top skin concerns can be tricky. The most common skin complaints dermatologist Dr Eleni Yiasemides consults on include adult acne, rosacea, sun damage and ageing, which is why she recommends a combination of SPF, plus three key ingredients – retinoids, alpha hydroxyl acids and antioxidants. She talks us through why each of these ingredients deserve a prized place in your skin care routine.
The umbrella term for vitamin A-derived ingredients, including retinol and tretinoin, these help build collagen and elasticity, and reduce pigmentation, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. According to Dr Yiasemides, they “are the most effective ingredient in any anti-ageing skin care regimen, along with sun protection”. Available in both prescription and over-the-counter formulas, retinoids also exfoliate, improve pore size, reduce blackheads and boost luminosity. “However, excessive amounts of retinoids may cause irritation, so apply sparingly at night, after cleansing and before moisturising, and use SPF daily,” recommends Dr Yiasemides.
Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs)
Taking the form of citric, glycolic or lactic acid, these help refine skin’s texture. At-home treatments offer an intense exfoliation, or you can opt for daily re-surfacing by using “a combination of vitamin A and an alpha hydroxyl serum, plus the occasional use of a Clarisonic”, says Dr Yiasemides. If you’re not sure, leave it to the professionals: “Women generally put too much on the skin, which can cause redness, breakouts and irritation, so I advise lots of patients to cut out unnecessary products or treatments.”
These neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress by “helping protect and improve the repair process in damaged skin cells, resulting in anti-ageing benefits”, explains Dr Yiasemides. Antioxidant ingredients include reservatrol, vitamin C (Dr Yiasmides’s pick) and coenzyme Q. Apply in the morning before moisturiser and SPF.
Antioxidant rich products to try: UltraCeuticals Ultra C23+ Firming Concentrate Treatment; Natio Restore Antioxidant Face Serum; Rationale Melaneve Antioxidant 15 Enlightenment Treatment
Looking to take a more natural approach to your skin care? Try these five natural ingredients that actually work.
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Are you already using retinoids, AHAs and antioxidants in your skin care routine? Which products do you love? Share with us in the comments section below.
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A beauty editor and vitamin C fanatic who has worked across a range of print and digital publications, including Stellar, marie claire, Gritty Pretty and Badlands Journal.