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If your cleanser and exfoliant were the warm-up, then your serum is the main event. This is the time in your routine to really address the appearance of your most pressing skin concerns, whether that’s a lack of luminosity, sagging, blemishes or fine lines.
Pick and choose your serum based on what matters most to you. You can always double-up too, using serums on alternate nights or mixing and matching between morning and evening.
As we age, the collagen and elastin that give our skin that delicious bounce and structure start to deplete. But the good news is, that if we ask our skin nicely, with the help of persuasive peptides, we can replenish that lost plumpness.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that make up proteins including collagen, elastin and keratin. Picture them like Trinny London stacks. The amino acids are the individual T-Pots, and when you join every one of them in the range together, you have a complete protein. These are large, and too big to be absorbed into the skin – just as you couldn’t fit the entire Trinny London makeup range in your handbag. Peptides are smaller chains of amino acids, e.g. smaller, more curated (and more portable) stacks, making them well placed to penetrate the skin. Peptides are also, as we have alluded to, brilliant messengers. They can help to impact the way skin cells behave, supporting natural collagen production. This will not only help to restore lost volume, but minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles too.
The perfect partner to peptides is another skin-plumping hero – hyaluronic acid. A great quick-fix for skin that’s drab and dehydrated, it works as a moisture magnet to draw in moisture from the atmosphere and hold it in the skin. It’s a little bit like a sponge – without water a sponge is flat and dehydrated, but when filled with water it becomes plumper and more elastic. Your skin undergoes the same kind of transformation. An added benefit is that skin, like the rest of our bodies, functions best when hydrated. A generous glug of hyaluronic acid will help it to perform at its best.
Not just something you find in the fruit bowl, vitamin C has serious benefits for the skin. It’s what’s known as an antioxidant, which means it does a brilliant job at shielding skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are pesky molecules and atoms created by things such as UV rays, pollution and stress and cause damage to our complexions, by causing the components of healthy cells to oxidise. Antioxidants are, as the name suggests, anti this negative process. They shield and protect our healthy skin cells from damage, preventing dullness and premature ageing.
Vitamin C’s blocking capabilities don’t stop there. This powerhouse is also part of a family of ingredients called tyrosinase inhibitors. They help prevent the production of excess melanin (the protein that gives skin its pigment), so age and post-breakout dark spots needn’t be a fact of life.
With continued use, a vitamin C serum will leave you with a brighter complexion, as well as helping to even skin tone and visibly reduce age spots. The ultimate refresh, think of it as a juice cleanse for your complexion.
Retinoids are often only mentioned in the context of fine lines and wrinkles, but they were originally used in the treatment of acne. Doctors only noticed their anti-ageing benefits as a side effect. There are a number of different derivatives that sit beneath the retinoid umbrella, including retinal, retinol and retinyl esters. Retinal is a real hero, bringing impressive benefits with a low chance of irritation.
Retinoids take a two-pronged approach to clearing breakouts. Not only do they speed up cell turnover so that pores don’t become congested, they also seem to help balance excess sebum so there is less oil present in the skin. They clean up after a bad spell of spots too, helping to fade existing marks and discolouration.
Adding niacinamide into the mix helps to reduce the chance of breakouts even further. Spots are formed when dead skin cells combine with sebum (the oil in our skin) and create a blockage. Niacinamide helps to reduce excess oil so there’s less chance of a gloopy traffic jam occurring on your complexion.
Feel like your skin isn’t quite as vibrant as it used to be? Maybe it’s lost its energy, with a lack of firmness and wrinkles among your biggest bugbears. We have already sung the praises of retinoids when it comes to helping to banish breakouts, but they have a huge part to play in restoring life to the skin too.
Retinoids have the ability to jumpstart our skin’s dwindling production of collagen and elastin, making it behave less like older skin, and more like younger skin. Think of it like a shot of espresso the morning after a late night. They can also speed up cell turnover, reducing the appearance of marks and fine lines in the process. Skin appears firmer and plumper, with tell-tale age spots dulled and diminished.