Skinfluencer’s resident aesthetic doctor and laser expert shares the best skincare ingredients needed for optimum skin health
By Dr Tanja Phillips
3 of the best skincare ingredients
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
There are many types of AHAs but one of the most commonly used in skin care is glycolic acid; it is incredibly beneficial to the skin. The top layer of the skin is called the epidermis and it is constantly producing skin cells which gradually work their way up to the uppermost external surface of the skin. By the time these cells have got there they have experienced some damage. Glycolic acid works as a chemical exfoliator to allow the gentle elimination of these dead skin cells, revealing the healthy skin cells that lie beneath and leaving brighter fresher skin with a more even skin tone and reduced pigmentation.
On a daily basis our skin gets damaged by numerous environmental factors including UVA/B, blue light and pollution, which makes the skin produce free radicals, causing oxidative stress and ultimately accelerating the ageing process. In such cases, Vitamin C can come to the rescue, stabilising the skin and therefore prevents accelerated ageing – genius!
Vitamin C is very unstable and reacts readily when exposed to air or sunlight, so the Vitamin C you purchase needs to be in the right form and have the right delivery method to make any difference to your skin. (Many products will not have this and so by the time you have opened the product, all the Vitamin C has been made inactive). My go-to is ZO Skin health C bright 10 % that is activated on contact with the skin’s natural water barrier. It is a water-free formula and provides a potent dose of Vitamin C.
This is known by multiple names, including retinoids, retinol, retinoic acid, retinyl and retinal. Each derivative has to be converted by the skin into retinoic acid to be effective, therefore straight retinoic acid is the most potent.
In its many forms, Vitamin A is a key ingredient in anti-ageing formulas as it has the ability to increase collagen production therefore slowing down the ageing process. Retinoids also gently exfoliate the skin and improve cellular turnover and growth, making it an effective treatment for sun damage and hyperpigmentation as well as for acne.
There are two golden rules with Vitamin A derivates. Firstly, always start with a low concentration because this gives the skin time to adjust and respond to the ingredient. Introduce it gradually into your routine, perhaps once a week, and gradually build this up. Secondly, always wear a good sunscreen during the day when using Vitamin A derivates – it is imperative to protect your skin as these products will make your skin more sensitive.
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