Skincare routines have come a long way since the holy trinity of ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise’. Nowadays, it can feel a bit like you’re back in chemistry class, deciphering between whether to use an alpha or beta hydroxy acids.
There’s no doubt that there are a wealth of options available to suit every skincare need, but sometimes we can’t help but wonder if we’re actually complicating things and spurring on the frown lines we’re attempting to get rid of.
According to a skincare expert in the US, we should be keeping things far more simple. Emily Newsom, M.D., a dermatologist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, argues that we had it right with a three-step process, but the products need a little tweaking to reflect what we know about skincare today.
She stresses the importance of incorporating an SPF (at least factor 30) into our daily routines, if we’ve any hope of keeping dark spots, pigmentation and wrinkles at bay.
Our daily skincare routine should consist of
- Applying SPF
“I like to keep things pretty simple,” Emily told SELF online. “It might not make for great blogging, but it’s fine.”
Cleanse twice a day to remove dirt, grime and make-up (we’d recommend a double cleanse at night!) Then apply a moisturiser to hydrate and keep the skin’s protective barrier functioning.
An SPF will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and should be used all year round, rather than just on sunny days. If you’d like to combine the two and get a moisturiser with an in-built SPF, you can do so – just make sure it’s factor 30+ (and UV protection, of course).
Emily’s not the only skincare expert to stress the importance of SPF. “Sun protection is your best strategy in keeping your skin youthful. Sun exposure contributes greatly to wrinkles, loss of firmness and brown spots,” says Dr. David Lortscher, dermatologist and CEO of Curology.
There are certain ingredients you can look out for in SPF products that will help fight UV rays, if you don’t mind getting a bit technical.
“Look for sunscreens that have ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to absorb rays and reflect them off the skin, as well as octocrylene (a moisturising chemical sunscreen) and octisalate (an organic sunscreen that absorbs UVB rays) to maintain longevity of the product on the user,” says Dr. Howard Sobel, founder of Sobel Skin.
What other products can you add to your skincare routine?
Once you’ve got the basics down, incorporating some more specialist skincare products based on you skin’s needs could help you see even better results.
To Reduce Fine Lines: Retinol
Retinol is simply another name for vitamin A, which is found naturally in the body. Retinol penetrates each skin cell and encourages it to behave like a younger, healthier version of itself.
The options are vast when it comes to applying retinol, from hard-working day creams, overnight serums to wrinkle-reducing eye gels.
To Increase Hydration: Hyaluronic Acid
Don’t be fooled by its scary-sounding name – this beauty staple isn’t out to sizzle away your delicate skin. Hyaluronic acid can actually be found within our own skin cells, but it depletes as we get older.
Hyaluronic acid levels dip naturally due to the ageing process, but they’re also affected by environmental conditions, such as exposure to extreme temperatures and the everyday smog of pollution we face living in the city. Topping up levels with a serum or moisturiser containing this wonder ingredient is a fast track to smooth, soft, pillowy skin.
To Exfoliate: Glycolic Acid
Alpha hydroxy acids (also known as AHAs) are acids derived from food and plant sources like sugar, milk, and fruits. The mildest, and most commonly used, is glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar.
A glycolic toner or face wash will slough away dead skin cells revealing a brighter, fresher complexion. But with that comes a higher risk of sun damage, so make sure you always use an SPF following any kind of acid product. We’d recommend starting slowly when it comes to glycolics, trialling it once a week.
We recommend: SIX Glycolic Acid 8% Foaming Face Wash, R456 for 200ml
Words: Lauren Hughes. Extra Words: Martinique Stevens