There are a lot of skin bloggers, skinfluencers and journalists who will tell you that you need 10 products and a ridiculously long face care regime to see results.
I am here to tell you that this is WRONG!
I’ve seen so many skincare bloggers post selfies with thousands of products on them and honestly this is just a waste of money, packaging and time. Half of these will never get used and those that do probably won’t actually do anything. I honestly do not know why it is not something that is said more often.
If you are using expensive products (and lets be fair most journalists are) then do you really need more than 1 to do the job? What does this say about the quality of the product if it takes 10 different ones to get results. You shouldn’t need to be pharmacist and have a degree in chemistry to look after your skin.
So I am here to tell you that there are only three (yes three) products that you need to create a complete transformation of your skin – no matter what skin type you have.
If you were to consistently apply and use these three products you WILL see an improvement in your skin. But it isn’t going to be perfect – because perfect skin doesn’t exist. It will improve and get you closer to the best skin you can have.
If you want to get the best results then there are other products you can use to really get the best from your skin but I’d argue there’s only 2 maximum three extra – depending on your skin type
So do you want to know what they are…scroll on to find out.
OK so this might come as a surprise to some but SPF is the MOST important of all the products you will use. Its benefits cannot be overstated. It obviously protects you from the suns harmful UV rays and of course most of you will know that these are responsible for skin cancer. But UV rays also increase the production of free radicals in the skin which damage collagen structures in the skin. When your collagen is damaged your skin begins to sag and you begin to see fine lines and wrinkles.
So many people don’t think they have to use sunscreen because it’s in their foundation or moisturiser. But I have bad news – that is not good enough. The concentration of SPF is so small that you’d need the best part of the bottle in order to get the effects. You really need a separate SPF that’s formulated correctly in order to work.
It takes two seconds to add it into your regime. I keep mine in my makeup bag and put it on before I put on my makeup. If you get a good enough one you could even sub out your moisturiser and use just the SPF.
There are two types of sunscreen, physical sunscreens and mechanical sunscreens. Mechanical sunscreens literally block and deflect the UV rays from reaching the skin and are usually those that leave a chalky white finish. Physical sunscreens contain certain elements that convert UV rays to heat and then that heat is lost from the skin. The only reason this is important to know is because physical suncreens can be a problem for people with sensitive irritated skins for whom mineral/mechanical sunscreens are better
Vitamin C/An antioxidant serum
Free radicals are molecules that create havoc in your skin by clinging on to collagen and damaging its elasticity giving you wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, discolouration and even skin cancer. They are produced from pollution, cigarette smoke and the sun and act like a wrecking ball to the structure and DNA of your skin. Antioxidants are like pac men that eat up the free radicals and stop them from destroying your face. There are many antioxidant vitamin and minerals but the main one is Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is not only an incredible antioxidant but an essential part of your skins structure. You CANNOT make collagen without vitamin C and so if you are deficient or have a reduced amount even in clinic treatments won’t work as well. On top of that some antioxidants not only prevent free radical damage but also brighten your skin, calm irritation and smooth fine lines.
Vitamin C can lighten hyperpigmentation and dark spots and will brighten your complexion. Vitamin E has great anti-inflammatory properties and can help with moisturising dry or sensitive skin.
Vitamin B3 is another big player in the antioxidant game. It’s also known as niacinamide and is another anti-inflammatory that is very good for sensitive skins as it reduced irritation and can be used to help with fine lines, skin tone and texture.
Green tea, Revesterol and Curcumin are other antioxidants that are often included in an antioxidant serum.
One thing that is important is that not all antioxidant serums are created equal. Vitamin C is incredibly unstable as a compound and so it needs to be packaged and stored correctly. A lot of high street ‘vitamin c’ serums do not have any where near the correct packaging to keep the vitamin C stable so it will be the case that the actual amount of vitamin C will be different to that which is advertised.
Vitamin C can also be irritating too some skin types and so it is important to make sure that if you do have a sensitive skin type that you choose one that is not full strength or that you go for an antioxidant blend until your skin is able to tolerate a higher percentage.
I saved the best until last. If you are over 35 and you care about keeping your skin as healthy as you can for as long as you can then a retinol is the way to go.
Retinoids (the name for all vitamin A derivatives) minimise the appearance end wrinkles, slowdown the breakdown of collagen and improve the skins thickness and elasticity. They do this by signalling to surface skin ells that it’s time to turn over and die (god that’s bleak!) and signal to the basement membrane cells to divide and take their place.
Retinoids can also be used to help with acne as it can unclog pores and prevent dead cells from clogging the pores in the first place.
However retinoids are known by a number of names. (Retinal, retinaldehyde, retinol) and do things can be a little confusing. I would recommend ALWAYS seeing a medical professional/skin specialist before starting a retinoid.
Retinol if used incorrectly can irritate the skin and it is very important to take good guidance when starting to use them. If they are medical grade or prescription retinol then they are more likely to do this compared with over the counter retinol that are less powerful (but also less effective). There are some skin types for whom a medical grade retinol is too strong for and so a lower dose one may be necessary at first or a blended retinol until the skin barrier has healed and the skin can tolerate it.
Retinol is also an antioxidant so it had a double whammy benefit for the skin. One very important thing is that retinol increases your skins sensitivity to the sun so you MUST wear SPF every day if you are also using a retinol. Again how vitamin A is packaged is very important and exposure to light or air will degrade it and there will be less active amounts in your pot if it is not packaged correctly.
And that my friend is it. If you want to change and improve your skin these three products are really all you need to get started. As I said in the intro there are a couple of add ones that will super change your results but first lets get the basics down.
Moisturiser (may not be necessary if retinol is a good formulation)
If you want to get started or want some skincare advice click here to book a virtual skin consultation