It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of beauty advice available – especially when faced with conflicting information. Is exfoliating essential or the absolute worst? And are serums really worth the hype? (we’ll answer that one quickly for you now: YES).
To help you on your way to your best possible complexion, we quizzed the experts on the skincare secrets they swear by. Consider the below six tricks tried and tested by the people who know best.
1. Exfoliate (the right way)
Exfoliating sometimes gets a bad rap for being unduly harsh on the skin – but that doesn’t mean this is a step you can skip altogether. Gentle exfoliation is essential to stave off dry, dull skin, encourage cell turnover and promote good glow. Just avoid physical exfoliants (usually granular or gritty in texture) in favour of a gentle chemical version that’s suitable for your skin type. “To exfoliate the skin, help remove dead skin cells and give a smoother appearance, I recommend AHAs,” says national training manager for Priceline Pharmacy, Jodie Petherick. She advices her customers to exfoliate at least once a week.
2. Get active
With your ingredients, that is. For truly efficacious skincare, scan the ingredients list of products for active ingredients with proven effects. “Medical-grade product ranges are often impregnated with ingredients such as retinoids, AHAs and vitamins backed up by good scientific and clinical evidence to help reduce or slow down the effects of skin ageing,” says dermatologist and skin surgeon Dr Leona Yip.
Ingredients to look for include hyaluronic acid for its impressive hydrating properties – “perfect for anyone looking for firmer skin” says Petherick – as well as retinol, niacinamide, Vitamin C and the above-mentioned AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid. Active ingredients are usually found in their highest concentrations in serums, but are increasingly present across all product types.
3. Follow the right regime
Forget the 15-step Korean skincare routine you’ve seen touted by beauty bloggers on social media – real life calls for a simplified, but no less effective, approach. Dr Yip is one of the many dermatologists who recommends just four fundamental steps: cleanser; day moisturising cream with built-in sunscreen (or moisturiser followed by a separate sunscreen); night cream and eye cream (to be used both morning and night). To maximise your results, we suggest adding a daily serum, too.
Try the Revitalift Laser X3 range by L’Oréal Paris, which includes serum, day moisturiser (both with or without SPF 15), night moisturiser and eye cream – in other words, everything you need. Revitalift Laser X3 boasts a highly concentrated formula enriched with the powerful anti-ageing active adenosine, plus fragmented hyaluronic acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Apply SPF daily
We mean it: if you’re serious about winning the anti-ageing game, and even if you’re simply commuting from home to office, sunscreen is essential. “Sunscreen is your skin’s first defense against harmful UV rays,” stresses Dr Yip. “You can build a second line of defense using foundation with at least SPF 15 and makeup as the colour pigments work like a barrier to protect the skin from the environmental damage that contributes to ageing.”
Petherick agrees. “Our Australian sun is harsh and UV rays can wreak havoc on our skin, even on cloudy days.” Just don’t neglect your pout: “wear a regular lip balm with an SPF to protect the lips from sun damage and skin cancers,” adds Dr Yip.
5. Cleanse carefully
It’s one of the most overlooked steps in a woman’s skincare regime, yet the experts agree: the right cleanser can make or break your complexion. “Something that I think a lot of us get wrong is not using the right cleanser for our skin type,” says Petherick. “Cleansing correctly is a vital step – you want one that addresses your skin concerns to ensure skin is left at its absolute best, ready to absorb the rest of your products.”
Dr Yip recommends always cleansing to remove dirt, grime and makeup before applying moisturiser. “Dirt and grime build-up blocks pores and can lead to acne/breakouts,” she explains, adding that micellar water is a fantastic cleanser for all skin types.
6. Re-evaluate your diet
The experts agree: eat a diet rich in antioxidants for optimum skin health. “Eat foods high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralise free radicals that can damage your skin,” advises Petherick. Also look to include vitamins A, C, E and omega-3 and -6, adds Dr Yip. Think brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, avocado, fatty fish, walnuts and green tea. And of course, drink plenty of water each day.