Now we are in autumn and that fading tan is magnifying the effect of sun damage, along with poor skin tone and texture, you know it’s time to ramp up your skin care routine. Now is the time to repair the damage and prepare your skin for the colder months and face the double demons of damp, chilly, outside temperatures along with drying centrally heated air.
The major, powerful, ingredient we need to add to our skincare routine is Retinol. Retinol is a big hitter in the field of anti-ageing. It contributes to healthier cells as well as the skin’s firmness and texture. Retinol comes in different strengths and it is advisable, if you’re a Retinol virgin, to start with a low concentration and use every other day. As your skin becomes used to Retinol, increase the strength.
While even low strengths will improve the skin, if you have deep wrinkles or severe sun damage you will require higher concentrations of Retinol. When using products containing Retinol, you must protect your skin from UV rays. Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, use this every day and all year round. This will protect from further sun damage and avoid those unsightly brown patches appearing on the skin. Remember, UV rays are present even on the dullest and rainiest of days! For more information on SPF, see here.
Within your routine, it is advisable to include products that contain exfoliants in the form of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). The choice is likely to depend upon your skin type and specific concerns.
Most people are familiar with the term ‘AHA’. If not, chances are you will have heard of fruit acids and some of skincare’s more commonly used ingredients will have ‘acid’ associated with them. The word ‘acid’ can conjure up thoughts of something very abrasive and damaging, but you don’t need to worry. Lactic acid and/or glycolic acid may show on the packaging of your cleansers, exfoliators and serums.
Glycolic acid typically derives from sugar cane and lactic acid is produced by the fermentation of sugar which can be sourced from sugar beet, sugar cane, tapioca or milk. The fermentation converts the sugars to acid.
AHAs are water-soluble acids and used to improve mild hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles. They also work to keep the skin moisturised. AHAs will make skin more photosensitive, so it is important to use sunscreen every day. Care should be taken if you suffer from very dry or sensitive skin, as they can worsen the situation.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are oil-soluble. They reach deeper into the pores than AHAs, and help to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum. If you suffer from acne and inflammation, products containing BHAs are a great choice. You can also alternate between the two, again, depending on your own skin concerns. Unlike AHAs, BHAs have no moisturising properties, so they can appear drying making them good for oily skin.
The most popular BHA you’ll find in skincare is salicylic acid, which is well-known as an acne treatment. Some formulations of citric acid are BHAs although they generally fall into the water-soluble AHA classification.
AHAs and BHAs both have wonderful exfoliating properties and can help smooth the texture of your skin revealing a brighter, more radiant complexion. They improve skin texture and speed up cell renewal.
It is also advisable to use products that include Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals and helps repair damaged skin cells. It helps to protect the DNA by halting the damage caused by UV rays and environmental pollution. It also stimulates fibroblasts within the skin and accelerates the production of collagen and elastin, vital for keeping the skin plump and firm. Find out more about free-radicals and antioxidants here.
Where Vitamin C is used on the skin it can prevent dark spots and hyperpigmentation from forming. This is due to it inhibiting melanin production. It also acts to brighten the skin, thus helping to fade any dark spots that are already evident.
Vitamin C is ideal to use within a serum. Ascorbic Acid or L-ascorbic Acid is the most stable and effective form of Vitamin C used within skincare. When combined with Vitamin E, the two antioxidants offer double protection against free-radical damage.
Hyaluronic Acid is another power-house ingredient. It is a humectant that holds moisture within the skin. In fact, it can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water which has a lovely hydrating and plumping effect on the skin. No wonder we love it in our serums and creams, where it can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Find out more about Hyaluronic Acid here.
Each of these active ingredients may be found within the ‘at-home’ range from Medicalia®. See here.
Retinol is found is the form of Micro-Retinol®. This is a micro-emulsion of retinol consisting of a technology that creates fragmented retinol particles that are absorbed quickly for deep and targeted skin delivery.