Skincare has become ultra-scientific as of late, as what was once reserved for luxury anti-aging products has seeped into the mainstream. The accessibility of highly effective ingredients is amazing but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to decode the language and options. “Just tell me how to have pretty skin!” Right?? I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while to help narrow down the search for the perfect anti-aging skin care routine to a few key ingredients, and lucky us- Deciem’s The Ordinary line has it all!
A common misconception about hyaluronic acid is that this ingredient itself moisturizes skin, but what it actually does is even more magical. HA molecules bind to moisture underneath the skin to pull and hold them at the surface. This decreases the appearance of fine lines and gives an overall plump and bouncy (aka youthful) look to the skin. I wrote a full article on Hylamide’s low molecular hyaluronic acid product and recommend it to anyone who wants to see an almost immediate difference in their skin’s fullness. I use this day and night before any other serum or cream and I don’t go without it!
Vitamin C has an amazing array of benefits for the skin. It’s a powerful anti-oxidant and works to oxidize free radicals which results in an immediate glowing effect. Prolonged use will minimize hyper pigmentation, stimulate collagen and protect against pollutant exposure. This all means younger looking skin. The tricky part of Vitamin C is that it breaks down immediately when exposed to light and oxygen and becomes useless at best. This is one of those points that brands, scientists and beauty experts can’t agree on (trust me, google this and you will see the debate!) Rule of thumb is, if a Vitamin C product is discoloured, it’s been oxidized and most likely has lost its efficacy. Due to the delicate nature of Vitamin C, derivatives of the molecule are thought to be a better alternative as they show similar results to the pure form but are much more stable. The Ordinary line offers several of these alternatives and Deciem weighs in on the Vitamin C discussion here. I use this serum a few times a week but most Vitamin C products are safe to use every day, depending on skin type. I use before retinol or a chemical exfoliant during my evening skin care routine.
Considered essential in an anti-aging skincare routine, retinol is known as a master of surface imperfections-like large pores, fine lines and uneven texture. A non-prescription grade retinol product can take 6-8 weeks to show results so it’s a marathon, not a sprint ingredient, but one that’s worth it! Derivatives of pure retinol (such as this retinoid product by The Ordinary) can have the same potent effect of pure retinol but without the common irritation that can occur with prolonged use. I love that this version is coupled with plant-based (vegan) squalene for its hydration benefits to combat the typical drying side effect. I showcased another amazing retinol product in a recent post, but in true form, The Ordinary offers a range of their own versions that are the most affordable you will find on the market, with thoughtful research behind them. I use a retinol product at night after hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C serum and before a night cream. I apply every other night, rotating with an AHA exfoliator.
AHAs and BHAs
Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids are two families of chemical exfoliants that have their differences but are both highly effective ingredients to consider as part of an anti-aging skin care routine. While a chemical exfoliant can sound intimidating, some can actually be more gentle and less irritating than a physical exfoliant (full info here.) BHAs tend to be a favourite for those with acne prone skin since it’s ingredients (like salicylic acid ) fight blemishes and penetrate deeper into the skin to promote exfoliation. Ingredients like glycolic or lactic acid are AHAs, which exfoliate more at a surface level and as a result, help promote youthful looking skin. While both ingredients will give similar results- reduction in the appearance of fine lines, smoother skin texture and more even tone, which is best for you depends mostly on skin type. Because BHA molecules penetrate deeper into the skin and are oil soluble, they’re most suitable for an oilier or acne-prone skin type. The water soluble AHA ingredients can work best for a normal-dry profile. I use an AHA product at night only, after hyaluronic acid, the Ordinary’s Vitamin C product and before a night cream. I apply every other night, rotating with a retinol product.
There is so much conflicting information out there about which ingredients to mix together and which you shouldn’t. Even top dermatologists and chemists disagree on details like whether using a retinol product with a Vitamin C derivative make the individual products less or more effective. I’ve found that nothing trumps trying a new product or routine for 3+ weeks and seeing what works best for your unique skin type. When in doubt go slow and consult a dermatologist with any specific skin concerns.
Have fun experimenting & let me know your thoughts xo