Hero ingredients that will supercharge your skincare | Style | Life & Style



The best ingredients work at a cellular level and can make a real difference to how your skin looks and feels. So read our guide to the hero ingredients you need to know about before you hit the beauty counter.

The multi-tasker


What it does: A real wonder ingredient, niacinamide works by improving the skin’s natural protective barrier. It locks in moisture, blocks harmful pollutants and stimulates the production of collagen. It can also reduce redness and pigmentation marks by evening skin tone.

Best for: Suits all skin types although rosacea or acne-prone, oily and sun-damaged skin will particularly benefit. It can be used morning and evening and is a great ingredient when used in suncare.

Research also suggests that niacinamide can help improve your skin’s tolerance to retinol due to its barrier-strenghtening properties, so if you have experienced irritation when using vitamin A-based products it may be worth trying this first.

Try: Olay Regenerist 3 Point Firming Anti-Ageing Cream Moisturiser, £31.49 (boots.com) firms and tightens skin around the eyes, jawline and nec

The complextion clearer 

Vitamin C

What it does: A powerful antioxidant that helps fight free-radical damage, vitamin C softens rough patches, counteracts sun damage and helps fade pigmentation spots.

It also stimulates collagen production and has an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to slow or reverse the signs of ageing.

Best for: Great for all skin types as it does not cause side effects such as irritation and peeling, which are often associated with anti-ageing ingredients. It is best used in the morning after cleansing so look for it in day creams, serums and eye care.

Try: Exuviance AF 20 Vitamin C20 Serum Capsules, £(exuviance.co.uk) contain 20 per cent vitamin C and will brighten the skin and leave it feeling smooth and soft.

The anti-ager

Vitamin A

What it does: Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is one of the most powerful anti-ageing ingredients available. It tackles fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dullness, crepiness and sagging skin.

It can also help treat skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis, while reducing pigmentation marks and smoothing the complexion. It has the power to stimulate cellular repair at the deepest level, boosting the circulation so skin looks healthier and younger.

Best for: Rejuvenating and reversing signs of ageing. It is also excellent for oily and acne-prone skin as it reduces oil production.

Retinoids are available on prescription only but retinols (a gentler version of retinoid) can be found in many over-the-counter creams.

Retinol, which should be applied in the evening, can irritate the skin so if you experience redness or flaking try using it every second or third night until your skin becomes used to it. When using a retinol-based cream it is essential to wear sunscreen during the day.

Try: Medik8 Retinol 3TR, £29 (medik8.com)

The hydrator

Hyaluronic acid

What it does: A naturally occurring substance in the skin, hyaluronic acid is capable of holding up to 100 times its own weight in water and can increase the skin’s suppleness, softening the appearance of fine lines. It can push moisture into the skin and lock in any ingredients that are layered on top.

Best for: Dry and dehydrated skin will benefit the most. Can be used morning and evening and is usually found in moisturisers and serums.

Try: Skinceuticals HA Intensifier, £85 (skinceuticals.co.uk) promises to improve plumpness and firmness by boosting levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin.


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