- Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with Deciem / the Ordinary (gifting) and Medik8 (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page for further detail -
Today we're talking well-ageing skincare, to help preserve your skin as well as to reduce existing signs of sun damage and fine lines. I wanted to pick out 5 products to cover off your key bases...
Broad spectrum, high protection sunscreen: Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50* | £62.
I'm very much in the camp of 'use whichever sunscreen works for your skin every day', so I wouldn't recommend mineral over chemical unless the finish is good and you can apply and reapply the product without getting a cast. However, I really like this mineral formula and find it to be really well-rounded in terms of protection, it doesn't give me any cast and I've seen people with deeper skin tones than myself recommend it, so I think this is as universal as a mineral formula gets. It has a slightly peach tint which can actually help correct discolouration but it also means that the iron oxides in this formula provide visible light protection. Contrary to what marketing would have you believe: you probably don't need to worry about the tiny amount of blue light your laptop or phone are emitting, but the blue light from the sun itself is quite significant. This sunscreen also provides an SPF 50 PA++++ level of broad spectrum protection, which is pretty great. This isn't shiny, it doesn't pill and it has a light, easy-to-spread lotion texture. It's pricey but a great one to wear on makeup days.
Pure-form Vitamin C: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Antioxidant Serum* | £150.
Vitamin C is often touted as a great skincare ingredient (and it is) but if you want the best in well-ageing: it has to be pure ascorbic acid, if you want the best in pure-form ascorbic acid: it has to be Skinceuticals. I will deep-dive more into this in an upcoming Vitamin C series I have planned (as well as running through some potential cheaper dupes for this product), but Skinceuticals have the patent for a stable but effective and gentle take on this ingredient. It's stabilised and amplified by Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, which are two other antioxidants, plus hyaluronic acid is in here too to pull water into the skin. It's a powerful antioxidant, meaning it's protecting your skin from free radical damage throughout the day, it can actually work synergistically with your sunscreen so both products are more effective, it helps with the appearance of dark spots and - most importantly, for this post - it can actually boost up collagen production in the skin. Collagen is what gives our skin its bounce and fullness and it depletes over time, so products that encourage its production are essential for any well-ageing routine.
A high-quality retinoid: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10* | £83.
I'm sure you know what a retinoid is: these Vitamin A derivatives have the power to boost collagen production, improve the skin's overall tone and texture, improve the look of acne and scarring but also to reverse the signs of existing photoageing. This final point is really quite unique as there aren't really any other ingredients we have so much evidence saying that can do this. It's really important to find the right kind of retinoid for your skin; for some this might be prescription tretinoin, others might only be able to tolerate retinoid esters, but for me it's retinaldehyde. It's just the perfect mix of gentle, cosmetically-elegant, compatible with the rest of my routine, and (most importantly) incredibly effective. And the must-have formula for me is Medik8's, which comes in a variety of strengths so you can build up your skin's tolerance as you move through the rungs of the ladder. This gives me all that skin-clarifying and smoothing benefits without any of the common retinoid side-effects like peeling, tightness, dryness, irritation and breakouts.
A powerhouse peptide: the Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% | £7.30.
Peptides (short-chain amino acids) are kind of in the category of 'we think they improve collagen and fine lines' but more studies are probably needed for us to make more more certain claims about them. One of the most promising peptides out there (often nicknamed 'botox in a bottle') is argireline. It's a patented ingredient designed to work on dynamic lines to offer a smoother skin appearance. It's incredibly promising, but as it's a little more experimental in terms of going beyond a hydrating plumping benefit, I recommend going for a more affordable option. That's why I chose the Ordinary's formula, which comes in at about the same price as a weekday lunch at Pret! Anecdotally, it leaves my skin smoother and plumper, so for the price it's absolutely worth taking a chance on this formula.
A fatty moisturiser: Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69.
Unfortunately it's not just our collagen stores that take a hit as the years roll by, but our ceramides do too. Ceramides are a component of our skin's lipid barrier that can be replenished topically. A happy skin barrier is essential to having skin that's free from dryness and irritation and if you're over 40, you might feel like your skin is drier than it once was. That's probably not a coincidence, it's probably a result of decreased ceramide production. I personally love this moisturiser from Kate Somerville; it contains ceramides, skin-healing peptides, nourishing shea butter, anti-inflammatory ginger and rosemary extracts and so much more good stuff. See this as a hug for your skin, and it's perfect for using alongside stronger actives such as a really effective retinoid. It's not as 'active' as most of the other products in this post, but it's still a pillar of your well-ageing routine.
Have you tried any of these products? What are your well-ageing must-haves?