Looking to start an anti-ageing skincare routine, but not sure where to begin? Or maybe you think you’re too young (or too old) to bother, or suspect it’s just hope in a jar… In this guide to anti-ageing skincare, we’ll help clear up any confusion. From SPF to serums, antioxidants to actives, we’ll cover the best ingredients and products to fight premature ageing, and also explain how to combine them.
Starting with daily broad-spectrum sunscreen wear, these are the most beneficial steps to take today for youthful looking skin tomorrow. Welcome to Anti-Ageing Skincare 101!
WHAT CAUSES SKIN AGEING?
Skin ageing occurs due to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic (or chronological) ageing is caused by the passage of time, and also shaped by genes. It is by definition unavoidable. Extrinsic ageing, on the other hand, is caused by a number of environmental factors, and accounts for 90% of visible skin ageing1. While not entirely avoidable, it’s significantly impacted by your lifestyle and habits.
Factors contributing to extrinsic ageing include sun and pollution exposure, smoking, a poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, repetitive facial expressions and alcohol consumption. To a degree, you can manage many of these factors – and in doing so help your skin stay younger longer. And, for the factors you can’t control, there’s anti-ageing skincare.
HOW TO BUILD AN ANTI-AGEING SKIN CARE ROUTINE
While we can’t change our genes or stop time marching on, we CAN play a role in preventing premature ageing. As well as pursuing a healthy, balanced lifestyle, we can incorporate anti-ageing skincare into our routine with these four simple steps.
STEP 1: USE A HIGH-SPF, BROAD-SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN (AM)
If you’re going to use a single anti-ageing product, make sure it’sahigh-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen. Why broad spectrum? Unlike fluctuating UVB rays, UVA rays are consistent throughout the year. The key cause of premature ageing, UVA radiation penetrates glass, clouds and fog. To stay wrinkle-free, you therefore need a sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays – every single day of the year.
Formulated for the comfort of sensitive skin, La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreens offer very high broad-spectrum protection in lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas. Absorbed easily with an elegant finish, they combine seamlessly with skincare and makeup and are available in tinted and non-tinted versions.
Normal to combination skin? Try the newly reformulated Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+. Utilising Netlock technology, our lightest ever sunscreen delivers very high UVA and UVB protection in a feather light formula. Non greasy and non-eye stinging, it’s also 100% fragrance free.
While the mattifying Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ formula suits oily, acne-prone skin, those with dry skin can reach for the fragrance-free, anti-eye stinging Anthelios Ultra Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+. This broad-spectrum SPF50+ formula features moisturising glycerin, antioxidant Baicalin and soothing La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.
Or, for daily protection, hydration and a youthful glow, there’s Anthelios Ultra BB Cream SPF 50+. This nourishing BB cream has a universal tint that adapts to different skin tones and evens out the complexion.
STEP 2: ADD AN ANTIOXIDANT SERUM (AM)
To further protect your skin from photo-ageing, apply a Vitamin C serum underneath your sunscreen. Why? A potent antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to scavenge free radicals caused by UV exposure and pollution, and thereby reduce oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress refers to a situation that occurs when too many free radicals are present in the body or in the skin. Over time, this imbalance causes cellular damage and speeds up skin ageing. Contributing to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, it leads to fine lines and wrinkles, skin laxity and uneven skin tone.
By helping reduce oxidative stress, topically applied antioxidants can help delay the onset of visible signs of ageing. Vitamin C is considered particularly beneficial as it helps to boost collagen production and increase hydration, while visibly brightening the complexion and reducing signs of sun damage.
Due to its antioxidant benefits, a Vitamin C serum is best applied first in the morning, prior to sunscreen. In the La Roche-Posay range, this means reaching for the Vitamin C 10 Brightening Serum. Formulated with NeurosensineTM for sensitive skin, this non-greasy serum combines Pure Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) with micro-exfoliating salicylic acid to address wrinkles, loss of radiance and irregular texture.
When to apply: Apply a Vitamin C serum to cleansed skin in the morning. Follow with moisturiser (if desired), and always complete your routine with a sunscreen.
STEP 3: ENHANCE REPAIR WITH RETINOL (PM)
Boosting collagen and elastin production and enhancing cellular turnover, retinol is another gold-star anti-ageing skincare ingredient. With both anti-wrinkle and wrinkle-smoothing properties, the Vitamin A derivative visibly refines and improves skin texture, while diminishing the appearance of sun damage and pigmentation.
Yet, despite these benefits, some retinol users complain of dryness or irritation. This generally only occurs, however, if using too strong a concentration of retinol or too many stimulating ingredients at once. In fact, when used steadily and correctly, retinol can be beneficial to all skin types – including sensitive.
As the skin does most of its repair work overnight, a retinol product, such as Retinol B3 Anti-Ageing Serum, is best used before bed. Combining pure and gradual-release retinol in an efficacious formula that’s gentle on sensitive skin, the Retinol B3 serum helps to visibly improve signs of ageing. Targeting fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture and tone, it promotes smooth, hydrated, supple skin with the inclusion of soothing, barrier-boosting niacinamide.
When to apply: Apply a retinol serum to cleansed skin in the evening, followed by moisturiser. As retinol increases sun sensitivity, daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential.
STEP #4: HYDRATE & PLUMP SKIN WITH HYALURONIC ACID (AM AND/OR PM)
A naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronic acid is a prized volume-enhancing molecule that improves the skin’s water retaining abilities. Binding up to 1000 times its weight in water2, it helps keep the complexion hydrated and smooth. And it’s no less important than collagen for plumper, firmer skin.
However, as we age the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid levels deplete – dropping by as much as 50% by age 503. This resultant loss of moisture not only means an increase in dryness, it results in a visible reduction in youthful facial volume, and an increase in fine lines and wrinkles.
Enter topical hyaluronic acid. A hydrating powerhouse, hyaluronic acid is used in countless products to tackle dry, dehydrated skin and reduce signs of ageing. Combining a duo of hyaluronic acids with soothing pro-vitamin B5 for sensitive skin, La Roche-Posay’s Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum addresses wrinkles, loss of volume and dullness with a firming, hydrating, re-plumping action.
When to apply: Apply a hyaluronic acid serum to cleansed skin, morning and/or night. (Apply after your Vitamin C or retinol serums, if using.) Follow with a moisturiser to lock in hydration, and always follow with a sunscreen in your morning routine.
COMBINING ANTI-AGEING SERUMS
When embarking on an anti-ageing skincare routine, it’s wise to introduce active serums or creams slowly and one at a time. It can take the skin time to adjust to the use of more active skincare, so try using products with retinol or acids (AHAs/ BHA) once or twice a week to start with, building up to daily use if tolerated.
(Vitamin C is not usually problematic, so try using every second day. Gentle and well-tolerated, hyaluronic acid can immediately be used daily/twice daily.)
To avoid potential dryness or irritation, care should also be taken when combining active ingredients, particularly for sensitive skin. Some ingredients combine well, or have no negative interaction, whereas others that share similar stimulating/exfoliating actions can create an unwanted compounding effect.
Hyaluronic acid is the prime example of an ingredient that combines well with others. Used alongside retinol, for example, it can help minimise the drying effects. Combining retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids, on the other hand, requires more care. This is because this combination, particularly at high concentrations, can cause peeling, dryness and discomfort.
Confused? A useful rule of thumb is to let your skin adjust to one new ingredient/ product at a time. Once your skin is seeing the benefits of a product, you can consider adding in another. But bear in mind we recommend a maximum of two serums in your morning and evening routines.
THE NUMBER 1 ANTI-AGEING STEP TO TAKE TODAY
If you’re not ready to think retinol or multi-step skincare routines, don’t worry. The single most beneficial thing you can do for your skin today is also the simplest. Making high-SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen a non-negotiable part of your daily routine will not only help prevent premature ageing, it will help reduce the health risks associated with UV exposure.
1. Skin Aging: Genetic Nuances, Dermatology Times, 14 October, 2014.
2. Healthline: 7 Surprising Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid.
3. A Review of Skin and the Effects of Ageing on Skin Structure and Function, OWM, Volume 52 – Issue 9 – September, 2006