AW20 isn’t proving easy on our skin, thanks to cold weather, central heating and spiking stress levels. Thankfully, dermatologists have identified a host of active ingredients proven to replenish and refresh. Our complexion crib-sheet has the lowdown on these beauty boosters, explaining what you need, why and where to find it. Time to get your glow on…
Image: Ruo Bing Li
The Hydrator: Hyaluronic acid
This ultra-hydrator should be central to your beauty regime. A molecule that retains 1,000 times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid has incredible moisturising capabilities, plumping skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines. What's more, unlike some actives, it is suitable for all skin types without the worry of irritation. The result: softer, smoother, bouncier skin.
The Brightener: Vitamin C
A true skincare saviour, vitamin C has multiple benefits, brightening and evening out skin tone, reducing pigmentation, and plumping and firming the skin. A great antioxidant, it helps protect against environmental aggressors such as pollution. Start slowly and use it once or twice a week, before increasing your usage, and avoid using retinol or AHAs at the same time.
The Smoother: Retinol
A vitamin A derivative, retinol comes in many forms, from powerful, prescription-only acne treatments, to gentler replenishing solutions that effectively reduce fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Patience is key with all retinol products – results can take from weeks to months; always start with a low concentration; go slowly as some skins can be sensitive to retinoids, and always wear a sunscreen. The results will be well worth the wait.
The Exfoliator: Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid) improve skin tone and texture by sloughing off dead cells to reveal younger, fresher-looking skin underneath. From daily toners to stronger peels and treatment formulas, acids help deep-clean your pores, combating pimples, exfoliating skin, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, and leaving skin smooth and prepped for hydration.
The Protector: Niacinamide
A great all-rounder, niacinamide helps enhance moisture levels, improving your skin’s texture and strengthening its natural moisture barrier to combat dehydration and protect skin from external aggressors. It boasts soothing properties, reducing redness and sensitivity, is a great anti-inflammatory and its anti-bacterial effect combats congestion and refines pores.
The Plumper: Peptides
Peptides occur naturally with the body, keeping our skin firm and elastic. In beauty formulations, peptides work to tighten and plump up the complexion, boosting collagen production to result in skin that looks firmer and less wrinkled. In addition to their anti-ageing properties, peptides help reduce pigmentation (dark spots), brightening and hydrating your skin for a fresher, more youthful glow.
A final note:
Active ingredients can be powerful – which is why they are so effective. Always follow the instructions that come with any formulation, and consult your dermatologist if unsure. Start sparingly and slowly, beginning with a low dose and gradually building up your skin’s tolerance. Take care when combining powerful actives, and always protect your newly treated skin with a high SPF.