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The skincare ingredients dermatologists say we should all be using
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  • Not all skin care ingredients are created equal. There are a few that are without a doubt essential to any successful skin care routine.

    But there are so many buzzy ingredients and products on the market that it can be overwhelming to wade through it all.

    That’s why we went straight to the famous people – Dr Stephanie Williamscosmetologist and founder of EUDELO Dermatology & Skin Wellbeing Clinic, and Dr. Anjali Mahtoconsultant dermatologist and author The skin care bible – and asked what skin care ingredients should we use?

    Here’s what they had to say…


    “Antioxidants remove or neutralize free radicals, which is why they’re such a key ingredient in skin care,” says Dr. Free radical damage and oxidative stress is one of the main causes of skin aging.

    Excess free radicals occur after exposure to the sun and pollution, but internal cellular metabolism also generates free radicals every second of every day. That’s why a high-quality antioxidant product is essential in everyone’s skin care regimen.

    While you may think that your best face sunscreen is enough to protect you from sun damage. Dr. Williams is here to tell you otherwise. “UV filters only protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, but usually not from infrared (the sun’s heat rays) and visible light, which is another big part of the natural solar spectrum, and free radicals will form in your skin.” That’s why we need to add a “safety net” of antioxidants. Topical antioxidants will also help protect skin from oxidative stress caused by blue light from digital screens (blue light comes from the sun, but can also come from digital devices).

    Antioxidants approved by Dr. Williams

    1. Vitamin C
    2. Vitamin E
    3. Polyphenols (eg white tea and rosemary extracts)

    SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Antioxidant Vitamin C Serum, £145 | It looks fantastic
    This is one of the best vitamin C serums. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s so recommended by dermatologists and the results are so worth the investment. The formula also contains vitamin C and E.

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    We wax lyrical about the daily need for sunscreen. Why do we do this? Because dermatologists have been telling us for years that this is the key to keeping your skin looking younger for longer. “Sun protection is one of the most important aspects of any skin care program,” says Dr. Williams. “This is because the sun is one of the biggest causes of premature skin aging and irregular pigmentation and can even cause skin cancer.”

    So, what sun protection factor (SPF) should you use? Dr Williams recommends a broad-spectrum SPF of 30-50 (which will block 97-98% of UVB rays). “There are several reasons to aim high,” she says. “Firstly, studies have shown that most of the time we don’t use enough product, so even if you wear sunscreen, it may not reach the SPF factor listed on the box. Second, in our daily life, we don’t reapply it every two hours to maintain a high level of protection. So, I don’t believe that SPF 12-15 in your high street moisturizer will save your skin as you will have almost no protection left in the afternoon when the sun is at its highest. So, aim for a broad spectrum SPF 30-50 with a high UVA rating and wear antioxidants.

    However, she is quick to add that a significant number of her patients who wear high SPF daily are vitamin D deficient. So she recommends getting your levels checked or taking vitamin D3 supplements. “Most people benefit from 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day, which is more than a regular multivitamin.

    CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF50, £15 | It looks fantastic
    The best SPF moisturizer is one you intend to wear every day. This hydrating formula absorbs really quickly, leaves no white cast and costs less than £20. Sold.

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    Vitamin A

    Dr. Williams suggests that everyone should have a “Matrix Stimulator” in their daily routine. What is it? This is an ingredient that will stimulate fibroblastic skin cells in the dermis to produce more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.

    The most well-known “matrix stimulator” is vitamin A and its derivatives, such as retinol.

    Dr Mahto agrees: “Most people would benefit from adding a vitamin A product to their daily routine. It is often referred to as the gold standard in anti-aging due to its ability to resurface the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The great thing about retinoids (the name given to all vitamin A derivatives) is that there are many different strengths/types. There really is something for everyone in the retinoid products on the market today.

    Types of retinoids recommended by our derma

    “Over-the-counter products containing the following ingredients support collagen production, reduce sun damage, lighten pigmentation, and soften lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. “They also help prevent breakouts, so they’re useful ingredients for breakout-prone and aging skin.”

    1. Retinol – perfect for all skin types
    2. Retinoic acid ester (hydroxypinacolone retinoate) – perfect for those with sensitive skin
    3. Retinal (retinaldehyde) – ideal for acne-prone skin

    You should avoid using retinoids if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Dr. Mahto recommends an alternative vitamin A, bakuchiol.

    La Roche Posay 0.3% Retinol B3 anti-wrinkle serum, £38 | It looks fantastic
    Along with retinol, you will find vitamin B3, which is especially nourishing and moisturizing, which helps prevent any negative effects such as peeling and dryness.

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    Dr. Sam’s Flawless Night Serum, £44
    An award-winning night serum that brightens and resurfaces the skin. It’s made from a retinoic acid ester (hydroxypinacolone retinoate), making it perfect for those prone to sensitivity.

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    Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3, £47 | Space NK
    When someone asks about vitamin A products, we always recommend the Medik8 Crystal Retinal range at Marie Claire. Starts at 1, then works up to 3, 6, and then 10. Those new to vitamin A should start at 3, then gradually introduce high percentages. Those with sensitive skin should see results with 1.

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    So there we have it, make sure your skincare routine includes antioxidants, SPF, and vitamin A.

    By Sakshi

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