In the world of anti-ageing skincare, trendy treatments and new “miracle” ingredients are always a hot topic. We love keeping up to date with the latest, buzzy newcomers, but to be honest, we’re way more interested in the tried-and-true superstars that are clinically proven to have anti-ageing effects. Read on for the 7 essential anti-ageing ingredients that actually work.
Why it’s an anti-ageing favourite: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by environmental factors such as UV rays and pollution. Its powers don’t stop there, though: The wonder vitamin also helps brighten skin by blocking tyrosinase (aka the enzyme that’s responsible for melanin production that leads to dark spots). And since it stimulates collagen production, it can even help firm skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Pro tip: Look for products that pair vitamin C with vitamin E or ferulic acid because the combination of these ingredients improves their stability and boosts antioxidant protection.
Why they’re an anti-ageing favourite: Retinoids are a vitamin A derivative beloved by everyone from dermatologists to ‘skinfluencers’ for their ability to change the appearance of the skin’s surface. They work by binding to skin cell receptors, in turn strengthening the skin’s ability to protect itself, helping with collagen remodelling, and stimulating skin cell renewal (aka speeding up exfoliation). With continued use, you’ll get smoother and more even-toned skin that glows.
Pro tip: Retinoids can potentially be irritating, so it’s best if you start with a lower percentage every third night and look for a product that also contains hydrating ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to prevent over-drying.
Why it’s an anti-ageing favourite: If you’re even remotely into skincare, you would have heard about hyaluronic acid. This star ingredient is best known for keeping moisture locked into skin, helping it stay healthy and hydrated. This also has a plumping effect on the skin which helps fill in fine lines and wrinkles and create a smooth surface.
Pro tip: Not all hyaluronic acids are created equal, so we suggest finding a multi-weighted formula combining different molecule sizes so that it can be absorbed easily into your skin at different depths that maximises the skin effect.
Why it’s an anti-ageing favourite: Niacinamide isn’t new, but it’s been getting more and more love lately for its seemingly never-ending list of benefits, including improving hydration levels, preventing UV damage, and reducing inflammation and discolouration. Even better, the versatile ingredient does all this while being gentle on skin.
Pro tip: Niacinamide is unique in that it gets along with most other skincare ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about what you pair with it.
Why they’re an anti-ageing favourite: Peptides are short chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of essential proteins such as collagen and elastin. These proteins are what give skin its shape and strength. Peptides occur naturally in our bodies, but unfortunately, they begin to diminish as we age, and this is where products with peptides come into play. When they’re applied topically to the skin, they can send a message to produce new collagen and elastin, resulting in firmer, plumper skin.
Pro tip: For max results, combine peptides with vitamin A or retinol to boost the efficacy of both ingredients.
Why they’re an anti-ageing favourite: It’s not new news that a happy skin barrier is essential for a healthy complexion. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin (technically called the stratum corneum). It serves as a protective shield that keeps the bad stuff like bacteria and pollution out and the good stuff like moisture in. Ceramides are naturally-occurring lipids (aka fats) that help to maintain the integrity of the skin barrier. Like collagen, our skin starts to lose ceramides as we age and from environmental stressors. That said, we can help replenish the supply by using ceramide-infused products.
Pro tip: Ceramides are safe for all skin types so everyone can tap into their skin-fortifying benefits.
Why it’s an anti-ageing favourite: It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Sunscreen is your number one line of defence against signs of ageing. In fact, not to be dramatic, but you might as well throw all the other skincare products in the trash if you’re not using sunscreen every day.
Pro tip: Look for a sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30 or higher and offers broad-spectrum protection.