Age. It catches up with the best of us. And as the years go by, there are constant building pressures to keep your skin looking as youthful as possible for as long as possible. So, what is the secret to baby smooth skin in your older years? Skincare. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But with the ever-growing and changing products on the market, what should you be putting on your face?
Unless you’re up for surgery, anti-aging is impossible. However, there are products that can increase the texture of your skin and slow down any further lines or damage. According to dermatologists, the two most important products for preventing wrinkles are Retinol and Sunscreen. However, there are also more options out there, let’s get into it.
The 4 Best Products for Anti-Aging According to Dermatologists
There are thousands of products out there, and so many beauty influencers promoting things that may or may not work - it’s understandable to be confused!
It takes time to see results, so you want to know that your money is being put in the right places when it comes to caring for your skin. Here is a list of the best possible skincare ingredients you should be using (or looking for in your products according to dermatologists.
Are you ready for gorgeous skin?
Retinol is widely known all over the world to do something good to the skin. But what is it, what does it do, and how the heck do you use it?
Let’s start by introducing you to this strange substance. Retinol is essentially Vitamin A - hopefully, that clears up some confusion! Retinol comes under the umbrella term of ‘Retinoids’, which is another word that tends to confuse people.
Basically, Retinoids are a big group of compounds that are derived from Vitamin A. There are quite a few different types of retinoids, some of which you can buy over the counter and some of which you need a prescription from your doctor or healthcare provider.
Some retinoids are a great treatment option for acne, which is why doctors prescribe them. However, they also have the amazing benefits of smoothing skin, softening lines, and stimulating collagen production, which in turn results in fewer lines forming. Retinoids have become a miracle worker for so many people looking to benefit their skin, young and mature you looking to balance your skin tone and fade pigmentation? Retinoids. Heal acne? Retinoids. Give your skin a youthful glow? Retinoids! But which is best for you? Let’s delve into the different forms:
Retinol: Best Over the Counter for its Preventative Properties.
This form of retinoid is available over the counter and does not need a prescription. You can find it on it’s own, in its raw form, or mixed into skincare formulas such as a daily moisturizer. It’s the most common form of retinoid used for ‘anti-aging’ methods worldwide. It also has some great results when used on acne.
Retinoid Esters: Good for beginners looking at preventative properties.
This form is also available over the counter. Retinoids can be irritating to sensitive skin, so it’s best to get your skin used to the ingredient before throwing yourself straight into the deep end. There are a few different types of retinoid esters that you may recognize.
There are retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate. These are a great starting point for people looking at adding ‘anti-aging’ techniques to their skincare regime. These may have some effect on acne, however, will not show much of a difference.
Adapalene: Best over the counter for those struggling with acne.
This form of retinoid is available over the counter and does not need a prescription. You may not recognize the name, as it is more widely known as ‘Differin’. Adapalene is a great choice for those looking to minimize their acne without having to visit their doctor or healthcare provider - as we all know that doctor’s trips can cost a bomb! This form of retinoid can also pair as an ‘anti-aging’ cream.
Retinoic Acid: The OG of Retinoids.
This form of retinoid needs a prescription for use. This is because the strength of this type of retinoid is a lot stronger than your usual over the counter one. Other retinoids work by reacting with the skin layer, which converts them into the active ingredient needed to be used by the skin.
Retinoic acid is essentially already the active form of Vitamin A that the skin uses. Therefore, there is no time wasted on conversion, which makes this form work significantly faster than the others. Due to its strength, it can be very irritating, which is why it needs to be controlled by a practitioner. It is amazing for both ‘anti-aging’ and acne issues.
You may have heard of this medication before, with the name ‘Accutane’. This is an oral form of retinoid that requires supervision from a doctor. It is most commonly used for very severe acne sufferers who have not had much success from other, less intense treatments.
Which is Best?
If you’re looking to smooth your skin and prevent future damage, but don’t want an expensive trip to the doctors, your best bet is over the counter’ retinol’. Otherwise, totally go all out and ask your healthcare provider about Retinoic Acid! But chances are, you won’t really need to go this far.
You can find retinol in many different ‘anti-aging’ products; however, we recommend you adding retinol in its purest form to your skincare regime. Retinol can be a little tricky and confusing to get the hang of, as it does tend to react with some other skincare ingredients - which can decrease its effectiveness. It can also irritate sensitive skin and be hard to get the gist of when trying to figure out what step of your skincare routine to add it to.
Here are dermatologists’ best tips for adding retinol to your skincare regimen:
Use its Purest Form
You may want to get a product that does it all, but the best way to add retinol into your routine is to use it as a whole new step. In order to see the best results, giving retinol it’s own step and allowing your skin to absorb it is the best method.
Use it in the PM
Retinol can be a little intense and can make your skin more prone to burns and damage if you use it during the day. You can counteract this with a good sunscreen. However, dermatologists recommend using retinol before you go to bed for it to work more efficiently. This will let it do it’s intended job without causing any damage.
Sunscreen is extremely important when using retinoids, as they dramatically increase your skin’s sensitivity to light. This means that your skin can be more susceptible to sun damage. Ensure you use an SPF of 30 or higher and try and frequently reapply through the day. If you’re wearing makeup - you still need an SPF. You can find SPFs in the form of powder so you can apply without ruining your foundation.
Don’t use it with Certain Ingredients
Retinol has a habit of reacting with other ingredients. Try your very best never to mix retinol and benzoyl peroxide or AHA/BHA acids. Using retinol at the same time as benzoyl peroxide dramatically decreases their effectiveness. This is because these two skincare ingredients cancel each other out.
Using retinol with AHA/BHAs can cause skin irritation. This is because AHA/BHAs are chemical exfoliants for the surface of the skin. If you want to exfoliate, ensure you give your skin a break, and lots of moisture, before applying retinol.
There is a myth going around that you cannot use Vitamin C with retinol - this isn’t true. Vitamin C and retinol are actually an AMAZING pair! It is best to use Vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night to see the best benefits. Make sure you use a good sunscreen when using either of these ingredients, as they both increase your skin’s sensitivity to light.
Build it up
Retinols can cause skin irritation when you first start using them, so it is best to build up your skin’s tolerance. Throwing your skin in at the deep end can leave you very dry, red, and sore. Retinols come in a series of different strengths, the most common are: 1%, 0.5%, 0.3% and 0.25%.
If the product you’re using doesn’t specify the percentage on the label, it usually means the concentration is weaker than 0.25%. Dermatologists recommend building your skin’s tolerance by starting with a retinol percentage of 0.1% or lower. Try using 0.025%, to begin with, and over the months, gradually work your way up to higher percentages.
Be Prepared to Wait
Retinols aren’t a quick fix skin treatment. Although they do tend to clear up acne pretty fast, if you’re using them for ‘anti-aging’ benefits, you’ll need to be patient. Retinols can take up to a year to show visible changes in your skin.
Generally, it takes around 3-6 months before you start to see a difference. However, some do see some positive results, such as smoother skin, within a few weeks of use. If you’re not seeing those results yet, don’t panic!
You will start to see them with regular use. Ensure you keep up with your skincare routine; it can be easy to give up when you don’t see a difference. However, if you lag with your retinol usage, you will only postpone your skin journey.
What to know more about Retinoids? Check out this video by Cassandra Bankson: How To Start A Retinol : How To Add A Retinoid Into Your Skincare Routine
When it comes to anti-aging, sunscreen is EXTREMELY important. Of course, slathering on SPF 50 won’t melt away the years you’ve already accumulated, but it will prevent them from adding up!
Most people are unaware of this, but the number one factor of aging is sun damage. It is estimated that around 90% of skin aging is due to the effects the sun has on our skin. We will all eventually show signs of aging. We can’t run from our body clocks. However, if doing something as simple as applying an SPF daily can hinder these signs - why wouldn’t you add it to your list?
Sunlight is detrimental to our health, giving us that good old Vitamin D and lifting our mood. You may love the glowing, bronzed look a few hours in the sun gives you. You may watch your skin clear up and look radiant after that week in the Bahamas. But along with all the benefits, it comes with a hidden hazard.
The Sun Ages Our Skin
Sunlight causes the proteins in our skin to break down, which eventually leads to loss of elastin and collagen. These proteins are substances that keep our skin fuller and firmer.
Once these proteins are lost, it is hard to reverse the effects without extremely invasive procedures - and a lot of money. One might argue that with age, our bodies struggle more and more to produce collagen. However, the effects of the sun definitely exacerbate this.
In order to prevent this from happening as much as we can, it is essential to wear sunscreen daily. Adding an SPF of 30 or higher into your daily skincare regime can do wonders over time. Essentially, if you’re looking to prevent signs of aging in the future, all other steps you take won’t matter if you’re not wearing a sunscreen alongside them.
If you’re using skincare ingredients that can increase your skin’s sensitivity to light, such as retinol or Vitamin C, you absolutely need to add a sunscreen to your routine. As although you may be seeing the benefits now, you are doing more harm than good in the long run.
How do I incorporate sunscreen into my daily routine, you may ask? Here are some great dermatologist tips:
Apply it frequently
Applying sunscreen daily is essential, even if you’re wearing makeup. Foundation with SPF on the bottle does not work as well as using an actual sunscreen - don’t let this fool you. Dermatologists advise that you should be applying sunscreen daily, every 2 hours for peak skin protection from UV rays.
Apply it as the last step in your routine
Carry out your entire skincare regime in the AM, and then add sunscreen as your last step before applying makeup. It is important not to skip this step. If you find that putting sunscreen over your usual moisturizer is too heavy for your skin to handle or is caking up your makeup - leave out the moisturizer!
Unless your skin is extremely dry, sunscreen should be an efficient amount of moisture for your morning routine. Save your moisturizer for the PM routine!
It doesn’t have to be heavy
When we think of sunscreens, we think heavy and greasy. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! There are so many sunscreens out there that are designed for use on the face. These sunscreens are lightweight and can come in the form of water, light gels, creams, and even powders. A lot of these sunscreens even make great primers for your makeup!
Don’t mix it with anything
Do not mix your sunscreen with your other skincare ingredients. You want to have the full benefits from this step, which is why it should have a whole step to itself. Mixing sunscreen with other skincare ingredients such as oils or moisturizers can dramatically decrease the effectiveness of the product.
Unless you’re using a moisturizer with an SPF included in it, these should not be mixed together.
Make sure you’re using SPF30 or more
Dermatologists strongly recommend using at least an SPF 30. If you can, go higher! The more you can block the UV rays from your skin, the better! Especially if you are using retinoids or ingredients that can increase your skin’s sensitivity to light.
Apply it even if you’re not going outside
Believe it or not, the sunlight can still damage your skin while you’re indoors. Yes, it may not do as much damage, but as long as there is light on your skin, it can still speed up signs of aging. Ensure you apply your sunscreen as your final skincare step in the morning, even if you plan on staying on the sofa all day.
Apply it all year round
What do you think of when you imagine sunscreen? Sunshine and beaches? The scary truth is, the sun can age your skin all year round - yes, even in the winter. Thinking of skipping sunscreen because the sky is grey? Wrong! As long as there is light, there are UV rays penetrating your skin barrier.
Don’t forget your neck!
A lot of people tend to forget about their neck when doing their skincare routine. But the truth is, the skin on your neck is just as exposed to aging as your face is. Remember to bring down the skincare onto your neck and apply sunscreen regularly. When you have the glowing face you always dreamed of in your older years, you don’t want your neck to be giving your years away!
Collagen is one of those words everyone always hears, but a lot of people are unsure of what it really is. Collagen is essentially a protein in the skin that keeps it looking fuller and firmer.
Collagen production slows down gradually as well age, which results in the skin becoming thin and saggy. Unfortunately, we can’t force our bodies to create collagen again like it used to. However, there are steps you can take to add collagen back into the skin.
Firstly, you can use creams either with collagen incorporated into them or with ingredients that boost collagen production. Ingredients such as Sea Buckthorn can boost collagen by increasing the cell turnover rate within your skin. Using this regularly for long periods of time can result in noticeable differences in the future, giving your skin a fuller and more plump appearance.
The Adaptogens Superfruits Moisturizer is created with this in mind. A highly effective daily moisturizer, which combines a blend of ingredients to give your skin’s natural collagen production a boost, as well as fighting off free radicals. It incorporates a mixture of Sea Buckthorn, Bayberry, and Squalane, which together become a superb blend for anti-aging effects.
The Adaptogens Superfruits Mask is also a great option for those looking for a bit of luxury in their week, as well as adding some anti-aging steps into their skincare regime. With added Sea Buckthorn and Bayberry, together with Licorice Root and Kaolin Clay, you can tackle signs of aging while also reducing inflammation, brightening the skin, and sloughing off those dull skin cells.
Another way to boost collagen in your skin is to take it orally. There are many products on the market these days for you to ingest, which help to make up for the lost collagen in your body. Whether it be tablets, capsules, or powder, which you can add to your daily smoothies or shakes, there is something for everyone.
And the best part is, most of the products in stores nowadays are a huge step up from those fish or beef tasting products we all associate collagen with.
Again, this cannot be said enough, apply sunscreen daily! A big factor in the decrease of collagen in our bodies is down to UV damage. Although wearing sunscreen will not fix all of your aging issues, it will dramatically help to reduce them.
Lastly: apply Vitamin C! Keep reading to learn why.
Vitamin C is one of those products that is included in a lot of skincare and is widely used - but not many people are sure why.
Let’s break it down for you. Environmental factors, although not the main reason for aging, can have a negative effect on your skin. Vitamin C is an amazing ingredient that provides great antioxidant properties, as well as protecting the skin from free radicals.
Free radicals are essential when you are exposed to environmental factors like pollution and UV rays. Vitamin C works by neutralizing these, which prevents them from causing skin damage. Vitamin C, over time, also helps to fade dark spots and discoloration on the skin, leaving you with a clearer and smoother overall appearance.
And to top it all off - Vitamin C also helps to boost collagen production! Vitamin C does a great job of helping to stimulate the production of collagen in the body, which can help to plump the skin and keep it looking firm.
The Best Use for Vitamin C
Vitamin C can be found in many skincare products, so check your labels and see if it’s in there! The Adaptogens Superfruits Moisturizer and Adaptogens Superfruits Mask by Piper Berry both incorporate Vitamin C, as well as so many other natural fruit extracts to give your skin an amazing glow.
You can also purchase Vitamin C serums, which you can add as an extra step in your skincare routine. You can use this either in the morning or the night. However, dermatologists recommend that you apply Vitamin C in the AM and a retinol cream or serum in the PM. This combination over an extended period of time has proved to have amazing results.
Apply a Vitamin C serum or cream after cleansing your skin, and let it sink in before applying your moisturizer - and sunscreen! Applying sunscreen daily when using Vitamin C is extremely important. This is because Vitamin C increases your skin’s sensitivity to light, which can cause increased sun damage if the proper steps are not taken.
If you choose to use Vitamin C, remember that if you don’t apply a sunscreen afterward, you may be boosting your collagen in the short term, but you’re also depleting your collagen in the long term.
Another great tip is to take a Vitamin C supplement daily! Most people don’t know that Vitamin C can boost collagen production in the skin when used topically AND orally! So if you want to go all out and plump up your skin, why not do both!
Want some more info on adding Vitamin C to your day? Check out this video by James Welsh: Vitamin C - Why, How & When To Use - Serum Benefits. ✖ James Welsh
When it comes to ‘anti-aging’ the rules are pretty similar for everyone. However, not everyone’s skin reacts the same to different products, so ensure that you add in any ingredients step-by-step. Try carrying out a patch test before committing to covering the entire surface area of your face - the last thing you want is to wake up with that freshly caught lobster look!
A lot of the time, skincare ingredients can go hand in hand. So do a little research to see which combinations work best to give you that glow you’ve been dreaming of! But sometimes ingredients can clash, so ensure you also investigate the culprits to avoid irritation!