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The A-Z of Skincare: Part 3

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In our final segment of skincare from A to Z, we take you on an alphabetical journey of discovery, looking at everything from resveratrol to zits.

Resveratrol

This polyphenic bioflavonoid antioxidant is found in red grape skins, dark berry skins and (happily) red wine and dark chocolate. Its main benefit lies in its unbelievable regenerating power; within fruit it works hard to defend and repair any damage to the berry or grape and it has a similar effect on our skin and within our bodies. When utilised in skincare resveratrol works as a powerful antioxidant, defending skin from damaging free radicals that cause skin to age, look dull or even break out.

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Try: Formulated with stabilised resveratrol derived from grape vines, Caudalie Resveratrol Firming Serum works to regenerate and firm skin, while offering antioxidant protection.

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Salicylic Acid

A godsend for acne and pimple-prone skin, this exfoliating beta hydroxy acid helps to shed dead skin more efficiently, thus revealing brighter, younger looking skin. As we age this process becomes slower but salicylic acid helps to speed it up again. It’s also able to penetrate the skin deeply, working to clear away bacteria both inside the pore and on the surface of the skin, leaving the complexion clearer and smoother.

Try: The downside of salicylic acid is that is can be drying, but Sunday Riley’s U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Facial Oil counteracts that with a hydrating oil texture. The treatment oil utilises detoxifying tea tree oil and black cumin seed oil for a clear, smooth and younger-looking complexion.

Toner

Toners work to rebalance the pH of the skin after cleansing, with a watery, ultra-light texture. The latest toners also contain active ingredients that help to address specific skin concerns, so it’s a good idea to consider your skin’s needs when looking for the correct one. Acid toners are brilliant for exfoliating without manually scrubbing skin, look for those containing vitamin C if you want to brighten. Those who need extra hydration should look for hyaluronic acid.

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Try: A great all-rounder, Sarah Chapman’s Liquid Facial Resurfacer contains phytic, lactic and multi-fruit acids, alongside vitamin E, vitamin C and moisturising sodium hyaluronate. Skin is left smoother, brighter, hydrated and ready to absorb further products more efficiently.

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UV Rays

Damage from UV rays (both A and B) can cause skin to age prematurely and, more worryingly, develop cancerous cells. When UV rays hit skin they stimulate melanin to come to the surface and protect skin, which is what gives us a tan. However, melanin can only shield UV rays to a certain extent. After this comes sunburn, while repeated overexposure can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and tough, dry skin.

Try: Protect skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen year round, but especially in intense sunshine. We like the Ultrasun range as it works to prevent both UVA and UVB light from damaging cells.

Vitamin A

Retinol, retinoic acid and pro-retinol are just some vitamin A derivatives available in skincare, and despite having various levels of potency and irritation attached to each, they’re regularly used within skincare. Clinically proven to improve the skin’s own collagen synthesis and speed up cell turnover, vitamin A in all forms helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles so that skin looks and acts younger. It also works to improve communication within skin cells which enhances skin; helping to refine pores, reduce dark spots and improve texture. It can have dramatic effects but does take time, so aim for six weeks of continuous use before you measure results.

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Try: It’s best to start slowly because Vitamin A derivatives can aggravate sensitive skin, causing flaking and redness; try using every other day to begin with. We recommend Verso Day Cream as it contains an exclusive complex known as Retinol 8 which, thanks to a highly scientific formulation offers all the skin benefits of retinol with no irritation.

Weather

Our environment has a powerful effect on every aspect of our lives, from our mood to our clothing choices and, of course, our skin. Warm weather can aggravate conditions like rosacea, while sweating and increased blood flow can make skin appear shiny and red. Colder weather is well known to leave all skin types dehydrated, dry and flaky, so it’s important to consider the impact of the season and change your skincare regime accordingly.

Try: Oskia CityLife Facial Mist offers a serious blend of antioxidants to fight the damaging effects of pollution and keep skin protected, nourished and hydrated in difficult weather conditions.

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skincare mask containing xanthan gum

Try: Revel in the rich formula of Chantecaille’s Hibiscus Smoothing Mask. Formulated with xanthan gum and a host of other naturally derived ingredients including grapefruit and papaya, its dreamy texture feels instantly refreshing and cosseting on skin.

Xanthan Gum

Take a closer look at the ingredients list on the back of some of your favourite products and you’ll probably see this ingredient appear time and time again. A sugar-based polymer produced by bacteria, it’s often added to products to improve the sensorial experience. In other words, it’s excellent at increasing the viscosity of liquids, helping to make them feel thicker and more indulgent. Best of all it’s a reliable ingredient in terms of stability so can be used in a range of formulations, and because of its natural origins is often used in natural and organic product ranges.

Younger Looking Skin

Often viewed as the Holy Grail in the beauty industry, younger looking skin means firm, plump and smooth skin with no imperfections and an even tone. Elastin and collagen are the support fibres in the skin and when they become damaged, as they naturally do over time, skin begins to sag and wrinkles appear. In addition, as we age our skin loses the ability to produce elastin, relying on the stores our body created in childhood, and collagen production slows right down. Salicylic acid, glycolic acid and vitamin A derivatives all work to make the skin more efficient at producing collagen, and will give visible results over time.

Try: Build a skincare routine that incorporates one or more of these collagen-boosting ingredients to see real results. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Rapid Radiance Cleanse contains salicylic acid alongside brightening vitamin C and makes a great first step. Follow with exfoliating Malin+Goetz Resurfacing Glycolic Pads, and twice a week try Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream.

Zits

Whether you suffer from hormonal pimples, blackhead, whiteheads, the occasional spot or everyday acne, zits are a part of everybody’s life (even supermodels get them!). Keeping skin completely clear is not the easiest task as they can be linked to hormonal or gut issues, so if you are really suffering, we recommend making an appointment with a dermatologist.

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There are a few things everybody can do to help prevent breakouts, including eating diet high in fruit, vegetables, pre and probiotics, drinking lots of water and sticking to a skin regime that suits your lifestyle and skin type.

Try: Deeply cleansing skin twice a day is a surprisingly overlooked step when it comes to spots. Dirt and debris can cling to skin and will quickly cause breakouts if not removed every morning and evening. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel suits all skin types and gently removes dead skin cells, grime and makeup.

Read The A-Z of Skincare Part 1 and Part 2.

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