If I had a penny for every time I get asked about anti-ageing skincare, I’d be a rich woman. It’s an area of skincare that people have a lot of questions about. ‘What do I use to stop wrinkles?” is the most frequent; and the response I give is the same, whether someone’s 25 or 50+. It’s all about ingredients.
There are a few holy grail ingredients when it comes to anti-ageing skincare, and this edit is worth bookmarking. Whether you’re just starting, or have been searching for the perfect anti-ageing regime for years, these are the ingredients that stop fine lines, dark spots and gravity taking its toll.
#1 Vitamin A
Vitamin A, also known as ‘retinol’, is proven to improve the look of wrinkles and fine lines by increasing collagen production. It’s one of most widely researched anti-ageing ingredients, and has clinically-proven results, which is why it’s number one on my list. There are five main types of retinol (retinoids); retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and retinol, which are available ‘over the counter’, and tretinoin and tazarotene, which are prescription only.
Retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and retinol are the retinoids you’ll find in mass-market formulas. The one you choose will depend on whether you’ve used retinol before, how deep your wrinkles are, and your skin type. The all-rounder, and entry-level one I suggest is Retinol B3 Serum; made with the 0.3% retinyl palmitate (the least potent retinoid), it’s a great way to start-out, and build your skin’s tolerance. It also contains 10% glycerin to hydrate and 2% B3 to soothe, making it a perfect fit for even dry and sensitive skin types.
If you’ve already built your skin’s tolerance to retinol, have deep wrinkles, and are looking for something more potent, try The Ordinary Retinol 1%.
Use: At night, three times a week. I recommend gradually working up from once a week to three times a week, and don’t forget to wear SPF the day after using retinol as it increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Learn more about Retinol and how to use it here.
#2 Vitamin C
You shouldn’t just lean on vitamin C when you’re feeling rundown; it has excellent anti-ageing benefits when used topically too. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps skin look younger in three ways. Firstly, it has incredible brightening and evening abilities (great for treating dark spots). Secondly, it boosts collagen production (which slows down by 50% when you reach 25) to plump fine lines and wrinkles, and lastly, it protects skin from free radicals such as pollution and cigarette smoke. And, as I mentioned above, UV damage is a major cause of premature ageing.
The vitamin C product I recommend is the Elizabeth Arden Vitamin Capsules. I love them for a few reasons. Each pod contains the correct dose for a single use – no more guessing how much to use. They’re biodegradable, and the formula contains vitamin C, and E. These ingredients work wonderfully together as they protect from different types of UV damage, so you’re giving your skin a double dose of antioxidant protection.
Use: Everyday, morning and night. Where in your routine it comes depends on the texture you choose. The capsules above are oil-based so should be applied before moisturiser.
Find out more reasons why your skin will love vitamin C here.
Serums and creams are what come to mind when people think about anti-ageing skincare. But, using an acid toner is just as important. Acid toners are chemical exfoliators that help slough away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin – if left, these cells can make the skin’s tone look dull, and the texture rough/ get in the way of the skin’s renewal process. Exfoliating is crucial for all ages, but it’s even more vital as we age because our skin’s natural exfoliating process slows down. The good news is an acid toner can do it for you, plus there are specific ingredients that will stimulate collagen and elastin too.
The acid toner you’ll find on my skincare shelf is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. An excellent all-rounder, its 7% glycolic acid formula is best suited to normal to dry skin types (I have eczema and very dry skin). If you’re more on the oily side, you should opt for an oil-soluble salicylic acid formula like Eucerin DermoPURIFYER as it’ll get deep down into your pores.
Use: Every night (depending on the strength), after cleansing.
You caught me. SPF isn’t a single ingredient. But, the truth is I couldn’t do an anti-ageing edit and not mention it. I always say you can buy as many wrinkle creams as you like, but if you’re not wearing SPF, you may as well bin the lot. It sounds extreme; but the sun causes 90% of skin ageing, so sunscreen is no joke. Luckily, SPF is easy to add to your routine. Use it every morning, after skincare, and before makeup. It’s worth mentioning, however, that SPF won’t undo the past. It won’t reduce the look of crow’s feet or make skin look plumper, but it will help prevent future damage.
A sunscreen I’ve found myself recommending a lot is the Shiseido WetForce Clear Stick UV Protector SPF50+. It’s easy to use (you swipe it over the face and work it in with the fingers), clear, so it doesn’t leave white marks or greasy residue., is dermatologist-tested (so you don’t have to worry about irritation), and it’s waterproof. That’s not it either; it’s even more suited to those concerned with ageing thanks to soy lecithin and oil-soluble liquorice, two ingredients known to help prevent wrinkles and dark spots.
Use: Everyday, before makeup.