What is it? A form of vitamin A. Originally used to treat acne, it helps to reduce fine lines and improve skin tone.
How it works: When it’s worked into the dermal layers, “our skin converts it into another form of vitamin A called Retinoic Acid,” says Emma Hobson, Education Manager at Dermalogica. “This triggers our cells to stimulate collagen and elastin, helps reduce the breakdown of healthy collagen from UV exposure, and reduces the production of skin melanin.’ The result: Less skin pigmentation and better hydration.
Try it… In nighttime products such as moisturisers and serums, as it is vulnerable to UV rays. For best results, your skin needs to get accustomed to the product; start with a small amount applied every second or other day. Use alternatively with Vitamin C and avoid eye area.
What are they? These free-radical fighters come in various forms to protect the skin against environmental aggressors and premature ageing.
How they work: ‘When UV radiation and environmental factors such as pollution attack the body, free radical molecules are born… and as they multiply, they attack the structure of the skin,’ Emma explains. Antioxidants penetrate the skin and turn any free radicals into harmless compounds, preventing them from destroying collagen and elastin.
Try them… You’ll find them in everything from toners to serums, in the form of Green and White tea, Grape seed, and ascorbic acid. Use day or night under your sunscreen.
3. AHAs and BHAs
What are they? Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids.
AHAs are exfoliants and come in different forms including lactic and glycolic acid to smooth the skin. BHAs are ideal for oily or acne prone skin.
How they work: AHAs soften the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and prompt them to shed, allowing other products to penetrate deep into the skin. Similarly, ‘BHAs will help deeply cleanse and clean out your pores,’ says with Paula Purser, from Australian Skin Clinics. ‘They are oil soluble and can reach deep inside the pore to break up stubborn dirt and reduce the risk of breakouts.’
Try them… In cleansers, exfoliants, spot serums, masks and moisturisers. When using AHA or BHAs don’t scrub or over use them – twice a week is ideal.
What are they? Vitamins A, E and C are all active ingredients that can protect, moisturise and act as antioxidants. Niacinamide (B3) is also commonly used in anti-ageing products.
How they work: ‘In moisturisers, they are used to assist in barrier repair and rebuilding the skins lipid barrier,’ advises Tracey Beeber, Global Education Ambassador for Ultraceuticals. ‘In hyperpigmentation products they help block pathways within the formation of melanin.’ And when used in formulations for blemished skin, ‘they are used primarily to assist with repairing the skins barrier,’ Tracey adds.
Try them… In serums and moisturisers. But see a dermatologist first to ensure you are being prescribed the appropriate products for your particular concern.
5. Coenzyme Q10
What is it? ‘It is an enzyme that naturally occurs in all cells of the body and is responsible for the skin‘s energy supply,’ says Nivea Skin expert Ken Lee.
It helps to fulfil vital functions such as skin repair, protection, regeneration and renewal.
How it works: ‘The level of Q10 decreases with age, and skin becomes more prone to damage,’ Ken explains. ‘It is vital in protecting skin from free radicals and increasing the skin‘s energy production.’ It works to repair, protect and renew, for younger-looking skin.
Try it… In anti-ageing products such as moisturisers and oils.Look for formulas with a high concentration of Q10 to help delivery direct into the skin.
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