Active skincare ingredients deliver real benefits, helping to brighten, smooth and even protect skin from further damage. We take a deep dive into the five power ingredients that you need to add in to your regime.
This incredible antioxidant protects your skin from damaging free radicals which are the number one cause of wrinkles. It also helps to fade pigmentation marks and give skin an unparalleled radiance. As Kate Somerville, skin expert and brand founder explains “with consistent usage, you should see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and improved texture. Studies show that vitamin C may also boost collagen and brighten pigmentation over time.”
To enjoy these benefits, we suggest adding a daily serum into your routine; smooth on after cleansing and allow to sink into skin before applying moisturiser and always finish with an SPF to protect skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. We recommend the bestselling Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and the featherlight Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C.
This powerhouse ingredient once had a bad reputation for causing irritation, despite fantastic results, but the latest next-generation formulas have reduced that. Nowadays this form of vitamin A helps to increase cell turnover and improve the skin’s ability to produce collagen, leading to smoother, plumper and firmer skin, without redness or flaking. Dr Yannis Alexandrides of 111SKIN also recommends retinol for oily, spot-prone skin as “it removes bacteria from pores and reduces oil production in the sebaceous glands.” It’s also great for those with pigmentation issues as it helps to reduce melanin production.
To introduce retinol into your routine, start slowly, if you go too fast or use too often then sensitivity can occur. “Start with once a week, in the evening” says Dr Alexandrides, then slowly build-up to using a retinol every other evening, but ensure you use SPF in the daytime as retinol can make skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays. When it comes to formulas – there are many different options. For those concerned with dryness we suggest 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil which contains a blend of eight hydrating oils alongside 1% retinol – one of the most concentrated formulas available. If you prefer a cream, we suggest Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream which blends 1% retinol with natural antioxidants and superfood extracts to nourish. For more sensitive skin, try Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil which blends calming blue tansy with a new gentler form of retinol known as trans-retinoic acid ester.
AHAs & BHAs
Alpha hydroxy acids are naturally derived acids (usually from fruit) that exfoliate by breaking down the bonds between dead, dull skin cells so they easily lift away leaving newer, fresher and younger-looking skin in their wake.
“I love alpha and beta hydroxy acids for clearing pores and helping rid excess oil and dirt. Ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acid are standout when it comes to clearing pores and stubborn blackheads,” says New York dermatologist and brand founder, Dr Dennis Gross.
Slightly different to AHAs, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) which works to exfoliate individual pores – ridding skin of the dead cells that clog pores and trap bacteria to form spots. We recommend adding an acid toner to your routine – swipe on after cleansing and before your serum both morning and evening. Try the bestselling Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads which “contain five acids: glycolic, citric, malic, lactic and salicylic to promote cell renewal, fight wrinkles, smooth skin, exfoliate and build collagen and elastin” explains Dr Gross. Alternatively, if your skin is particularly dry or sensitive try a treatment such as Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment which smooths bumps and refines skin texture in a featherlight serum formula.
The wonder ingredient that can hold over 1000 times its weight in water; in its natural form hyaluronic acid is used by our bodies to cushion and lubricate joints, eyes and heart valves. Within skincare it delivers deep hydration to skin cells, as Dr Barbara Sturm, skin expert and brand founder asserts “hyaluronic acid is intensely hydrating and makes lines fade. Studies have shown that it even stimulates collagen and assists in sun damage repair.”
We recommend a daily application of hyaluronic acid to ensure skin is lubricated and plump, try Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum which is formulated with long and short chain hyaluronic molecules to help promote deep, lasting hydration. Apply after cleansing and toning in the morning and allow to sink in before following with a vitamin C serum, moisturiser and protective SPF. For an extra boost also try incorporating a weekly mask into your routine, such as Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask – a gel formula that delivers a powerful blast of plumping hyaluronic acid to skin.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids – the building blocks of protein. Within our skin the main proteins are collagen and elastin which help the skin maintain its structure, texture and tone. There are many different types of peptides – some with the ability to tell our skin to repair and rejuvenate itself. As Kate Somerville explains “topically applied peptides boost collagen production by leading the dermis into thinking that it’s sent a lot of collagen to the surface and should make more.”
Within skincare therefore, peptides can help smooth lines, boost firmness and ultimately increase skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin. Peptides need time to sink into skin and start working, so it’s important to choose leave-on skin products such as serums and moisturisers. We recommend Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream which includes an expertly formulated blend of ceramide, peptide and oligopeptide to help combat the signs of ageing.
Apply after your serum and before SPF every morning. Combining antioxidants, peptides and vitamins Sarah Chapman Skinesis Eye Recovery helps to smooth and rejuvenate the delicate eye area – apply morning and evening before SPF.