Is amazing skin your beauty holy grail? It may be closer than you think — if you know what you’re looking for.
The goal: Age-defying skin
The must-have ingredient: Retinol
Ask any dermatologist to recommend an anti-aging product, and chances are, they’ll rank retinol near the top of their list (second only to sunscreen). Retinol falls in a class of ingredients known as retinoids, which are vitamin A derivatives, able to treat multiple concerns that come with age. These include building collagen for firmness, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, shrinking the look of pores, evening out hyperpigmentation and even reversing sun damage. While the most potent retinoids are available by prescription, you can find highly effective retinol formulas — such as No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate — off the shelf, too. Just start slow and build up to daily use.
The goal: Dewy, fresh skin
The must-have ingredient: Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar molecule, and it’s the stuff that helps plump our skin with hydration like a raisin soaked in water. It’s legendary for its ability to draw and retain moisture — in derm lingo, it’s a highly effective humectant. In fact, hyaluronic acid can famously hold 1,000 times its weight in water. The amount of H.A. we produce on our own declines with age, which is why you’ll find this ingredient in tons of skin-quenching products, from concentrated treatments like Neostrata Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum to daily moisturizers (and even makeup).
The goal: Healthy, resilient skin
The must-have ingredient: Antioxidants
Oftentimes, what we assume are premature signs of aging are actually signs of sun, smog and stress damage — a.k.a. environmental aggressors. Exposure to UV light and pollution leads to free radicals and inflammation in the skin, which can usher in fine lines, dark spots and other unwelcome changes. Luckily, antioxidants can serve as your frontline department of defense, neutralizing free radicals before they can cause havoc. Apply an antioxidant-enriched serum such as Lise Watier Sublimessence High Concentration Age-Defying Serum before you face the day — but don’t forget sunscreen; antioxidants enhance UV protection rather than replacing it.
The goal: Glowy, even-toned skin
The must-have ingredient: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is technically also an antioxidant, but it’s so impressive, it deserves to be in a league of its own. Besides defending against free radicals, this ingredient is great at brightening dull skin and fading dark spots. You can find vitamin C in a wide array of skincare, including Lancer Advanced C Radiance Treatment with Vitamin C Collagen Cofactor 10x. (Tip: When checking a label, you might see vitamin C listed by a different name, such as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid.)
The goal: Firm, bouncy skin
The must-have ingredient: Peptides
Proteins like collagen and elastin are what form the foundation of our skin, and in turn, peptides are the bits of amino acids that make up these proteins. As we age, our natural production of collagen and elastin drops, leading to crinkles and droopiness. That’s why you’ll often see peptides in anti-aging skincare — the idea is that applying a product made with them sends a little memo to our skin: “Hello, make more protein!” You can find peptides in products designed to visibly lift and firm such as Biotherm Blue Therapy Uplift Day.