You know what I love about skincare products and information these days? It’s that there is so much information out there, and so many products and brands that help us achieve what we want for our skin.

I used to broadly focus on 2 areas of skin concerns in the past – hydration and anti-aging. While trying to find products that suited this ‘anti-aging’ category, I realised that ‘anti-aging’ is such a broad category, with so many products that claim to be it. For my purposes, I decided to narrow it down further.

These days, there are 3 specific types of products in my skincare routine that I maintain to address my ‘anti-aging’ concerns. These concerns are primarily lines, skin firmness and dull skin.

Why would it concern me if I don’t make a fuss about growing older, you ask? Well, because I’m vain – as are most people! 😛 😀

From experience over the years, these 3 products/ingredients have made a noticeable difference to the quality of my skin, and I am more partial to maintaining them in my skincare routine for this reason. They form the pillars of my skincare routine now.

The best part is that I can find these products/ingredients in all price ranges, so I can use a more pricey product if I’m feeling flush, but can also use an affordable one if the budget calls for it. That’s the beauty of focusing on an effective ingredient, as opposed to a general skincare product from a specific brand.

Vitamin C

I am a huge huge fan of products containing Vitamin C. I am partial to using a Vitamin C serum as my experience with this ingredient over the years has been nothing but amazing! It is an antioxidant that protects skin from agressors within and without, and also helps improve skin texture and appearance.

I’ve found that with regular use of a Vitamin C serum, my skin is brighter and stronger. If you have problems with freckles or pigmentation, Vitamin C serums can help you keep it under control and reduce their appearance.

I’ve been using Vitamin C serums for a few years now, and I swear by it to keep my skin bright and clear.

Is there one product I can recommend?

Not really. I’m not terribly anal about the type of Vitamin C that is in the product. I do find that serums with L-Ascorbic Acid do work better and more quickly, but they also oxidise more quickly. I personally opt for products with a high percentage, as my skin tolerates it well, and I see results with them.

However, I know that some people find Vitamin C irritating to the skin, so start with a lower percentage, or a different Vitamin C derivative that may be less irritating.

RELATED READING: Vitamin C serums I have tried over the years – some I really love! READ HERE

I always use Vitamin C serums in the day, for 3 reasons:

  • I use a different key ingredient in the night. If you don’t, and you want a more noticeable result, use Vitamin C both day and night
  • I use Vitamin C for its antioxidant properties to protect my skin through the day when I’d be more exposed
  • Vitamin C, when combined with a broad spectrum sunscreen, can protect your skin better from harmful UV rays

Yep, research has shown that Vitamin C actually boosts the protection of your skin when you use a sunscreen. Unlike most products with acid, which people recommend you use in the night, Vitamin C is an exception to the rule. Use it in the day – but be sure to wear a good sunscreen with it!

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the other product that I am never ever without.

Growing up, my mum was an early adopter and proponent of sunscreen, and would slather us with it daily. But coming from a small town, and without the vast improvements in texture and formulation as we have today, I hated wearing sunscreen. It was thick, oily, greasy and smelled terrible!

I used it on and off over the years, and it was not until my early 20’s, after I returned home from my studies, that I began using it in earnest. It’s been over 20 years now of (fairly) regular daily sunscreen use, and I have to say that it has stood me in good stead.

UV rays are scientifically proven to damage skin cells and that causes the skin to age and collapse. Protecting your skin with a good broadspectrum sunscreen can help slow down this damage.

I noticed this most about 2 years ago, when my pup first came into my life. I am very diligent about wearing sunscreen on my face, but (rather hypocritically) rather less so for my arms and neck. After about half a year of morning dog walks, I looked at my tanned arms one day, and noticed for the first time, sun spots and very dry skin. My arms had developed more lines than my face! I also noticed that my neck and chest were developing spots and lines.

I now remedy that by generously applying a body sunscreen every morning to protect my skin when I’m out. I also moisturise generously, to try to reduce the effects of the sun exposure.

My personal preference is to use a mineral (zinc oxide) based sunscreen for my face when I am out in the sun. I personally find that this protects my skin best, but the texture tends to be the heaviest and least comfortable or flattering. At present, the sunscreens I’m using are the Avene Very High Protection Mineral Sunscreen and Ultra Violette Mineral Sunscreen.

When indoors, I opt for a formula that is lighter, which is usually a hybrid formula – a formula that contains chemical UV filters and some physical mineral blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. My personal preference lies with the Japanese sunscreen brands (my preference lies with Allie), although I have also found that French pharmacy sunscreen brands (Avene, La Roche Posay) work for me.

When it comes to sunscreen, I always advocate finding one that is affordable and comfortable. There are so many brands and formula these days in the market, that there is no excuse to say “Oh, I don’t like wearing sunscreen”. There really is no excuse!

The reason you should get a sunscreen that suits your budget is because of how much of it you need to use daily, for best protection. I dare bet that most people aren’t using enough product at all!

RELATED READING: How much sunscreen do you need each time? 2 fingers length! Here’s how to measure

The science has shown over and over that wearing sunscreen daily is one of the best anti-aging products you can have in your skincare routine. Rather like smoking, you will not do your skin any favours by drenching it with powerful ingredients and bombarding it with treatments, only to skip wearing sunscreen.

Remember, we are not stronger than the sun! 😉

Retinol

Retinol is an ingredient I’ve been aware of for many years, but one that I have only started to keep in my skincare routine in the most recent 4-5 years. However, I have seen sufficient benefits from using it, that ensures I continue to use products with this ingredient moving forward.

Retinol is derived from Vitamin A, and works by increasing cell production and stimulation production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. This reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firms up skin, and renewed cell turnover helps to reduce pigmentation on skin.

I am aware that there are some very strong retinoids like tretinoin, that you can get via prescription or in some countries, over the counter, that can really transform and renew the skin. I have not gone down this path, as it is very drying, and requires down time for your skin to renew.

I’m still learning and trying to understand the different types of retinol and retinoid derivatives out there, but for now, I opt for any serum with retinol or retinoid in its ingredient list, and I opt for one with a relatively higher dose (0.03% and up) as my skin is used to it.

If you’re just starting out, it’s recommended to go low and slowly ease your skin into it. The reason is because retinol and retinoids are very drying and can be irritating. It can cause skin to flake and peel if you aren’t careful.

RELATED READING: New to using retinol? Here’s 5 tips to make sure your face doesn’t fall off! READ HERE

The most important thing to note when using a retinol is that you MUST (no compromise!) wear a broadspectrum sunscreen in the day. You want to protect your skin from UV damage at all times.

After a few years of regular retinol use, I can safely say that this is an ingredient I’m keeping in my routine in one form or another.

It helps keep my skin smoother, less lined and more firm. I have a problem with hyperpigmentation, as I have shared in the past, so while I still have pigmentation, I can also say that it’s under control. Coupled with Vitamin C serum use, I can safely say that my skin does not look any worse for wear, and even if it’s not flawless, it is not any worse than it can be.

RELATED READING: What are some retinol serums I’ve tried? Here’s a list! READ HERE

I’m not saying that these ingredients or products will magically transform your skin overnight. For the most part, you must be patient and very diligent to see results.

I’m also not saying that these will replace any skin treatments or procedures that offer results more quickly and visibly. I personally am not headed down that route, but I don’t think any worse of anyone who opts to. It’s our personal choice what we want to do with our skin and faces 🙂

But what I like is that these 3 pillars of an anti-aging skincare routine can be easily swapped in and out with products to suit all budgets. The key thing isn’t about finding one brand or one product to work for you. It is about finding the ingredient that your skin benefits the most from.

Do you use any or all of these 3 pillars in your anti-aging skincare routine?

I’m not saying that these are the only ingredients you can use. There are other ingredients like niacinamide and peptides and ceramides that are also very effective to protect and help your skin texture improve. I use variations of them now and again, but I’m never without these 3 pillars at all times 🙂

Paris B