Keep your skin glowing and hydrated this winter with these active skincare ingredients that do all the hard work for you.
As far as complexion goes, winter can be a hard and unforgiving season. The fluctuations between indoor and outdoor temperatures ask more of our skin than any other time of the year, so start planning now how to counter the chills and chaffs.
We all know how powerful vitamin C can be in banishing a nasty cold, but what is lesser known is the miraculous results it can have when applied topically.
A supremely powerful antioxidant, it counteracts the effects of pollution whilst also improving overall skin tone by lessening dark spots and plumping collagen to reduce wrinkles and other associated sun damage.
Suitable for all skin types, vit C is like sunshine in a bottle and can be applied in various ways depending on your needs. A vitamin C sheet mask is a great way to brighten dull skin after a big night out or in a light moisturiser (alongside SPF) for those under the age of 30. After which, you’ll want to start considering daily application of something a little stronger like a serum or rich moisturiser which really delivers all that complexion-boosting goodness directly where it’s needed, every morning.
Calming, revitalising, and illuminating, vitamin C is a must to beat the January blues.
They might not sound like the most alluring addition to your skincare routine, but acids make the micro-bead and apricot seed exfoliators of yore look amateurish. Though not to be used with entirely reckless abandon, acids safely stimulate cell-renewal and work wonders on several issues: scarring, blemishes, pigmentation, dullness, collagen-boosting and even hydration.
Alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs, work by dissolving dead skin cells and encouraging the dermis to speed up cell rejuvenation. Particularly suitable for dry and lacklustre complexions, skin is instantly brightened and improved. This process can create a slight tingle, which is why such solutions and serums should be used no more than twice a week and sparingly at first, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) work in a similar way but penetrate more deeply to clear away embedded dirt, meaning they are ideal for acne-sufferers and more oily skin types. Other acids include malic and citric acid which both help to reduce sunspots and pigmentation; mandelic acid which is antibacterial and azelaic acid which is anti-inflammatory and great for reducing rosacea.
Last but not least, we have retinol, a formidable powerhouse which has potent skin-reparative and age-defying benefits. A vitamin A derivative, retinol re-energises sluggish fibroblasts and boosts the collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin that keep skin smooth and supple making it a worthy foe for wrinkles, acne, sun-damaged and pockmarked skin. In other words, it boasts near-magical properties.
Such formidable power, however, also has its weaknesses. Many retinol formulas are specifically designed to be used overnight and the primary reason for this is because they increase sun sensitivity. Retinoids also have a reputation for causing unsightly redness and peeling – Sex and the City fans may recall Samantha’s chemical peel which left her literally red-faced at an A-list event – however modern formulas in milder strengths have largely eliminated this problem.
Unless you suffer from any of the previously stated conditions (acne scarring, sun-damage etc.), you probably won’t need to include retinol into your skin regime until your late twenties/early thirties, and even then it’s worth applying a weaker solution every other night to build up tolerance.
When it comes to skincare, prevention is better than cure, and when your 50-something façade is getting all the compliments, you’ll be glad you invested.