Anti-Ageing Ingredients That Really Work

{Retinol}

Consistently in, then out, then back in favour, there’s no escaping the fact that retinol (vitamin A/retinoic acid/retinoid and most recently ‘retinol 8’) really works. It’s the ‘head girl’ of the ingredient-league – good at everything and subsequently mildly irritating.

{How it Works}

Essentially, it bothers skin cells just enough to push their buttons (which is why it often tingles upon application). Cells are compelled to work harder, to spawn bright and shiny offspring, and create such skin-essential things as collagen and elastin – which not only improve density and firmness, but diminish wrinkle depth and enhance luminosity for younger-looking skin.

Try Verso’s {Super Facial Serum} at night time, followed up with Mizon’s {Good Night White Sleeping Pack} – which contains niacinamide, to enhance skin’s barrier function and so 'up' its retinol-tolerance.

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{Alpha Hydroxy Acids}

Chemical exfoliants, AHAs (such as glycolic, lactic and citric acids) have multiple beauty benefits. They rid the skin of dead cells without scrubbing – targeting only those which are past their proverbial ‘sell by’ date and in turn, urging sparkly new ones to step up the plate.

{How it Works}

It’s a chemical peel – but before you run terrified in the opposite direction, you won’t ‘shed’ skin; just the very uppermost, single layer of cells that leave you looking lacklustre. And ‘chemical’ doesn’t always mean synthetic – many acids are nature-derived. Glycolic acid is the ‘smallest’ of the AHAs and therefore can penetrate deeper, where it’s also proven to encourage collagen synthesis – strengthening skin’s ‘scaffolding’ to enhance its overall firmness.

Alpha-H’s {Liquid Gold} is an intensive, 2-3 times-a-week overnight treatment. Just sweep over skin with a cotton pad and don’t follow up with a cream – it will alter the pH and dilute the skin-brightening effects.

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{Neuropeptides}

Collagen is the primary ‘ingredient’ of skin. Built from long chains of amino acids, it is responsible for young complexions’ smooth appearance – and also the main cause of wrinkles due to degradation as we age. Short chains of amino acids called peptides occur naturally when collagen is damaged – these ‘mini proteins’ act like an SOS – urging cells to repair sites of trauma. Some peptides also ‘block’ the transmission of signals from nerves to facial muscles, which is where things get particularly interesting…

{How it Works}

These neuropeptides intercept the messages that instruct facial muscles to contract (in a similar way to botox). By interfering with communications, skin becomes smoother and less lined because it isn't being stressed by constant (inadvertent) furrowing. Ideal for those concerned with deep-set expression (like elevens, crows feet and marionette) lines.

Typically one of the most expensive anti-ageing ingredients on the market, Grown Alchemist have found a potent rice-derivative which is the star of their {Regenerating Night Cream} - and astonishingly affordable (many neuropeptide formulations will set you back multiple hundreds). It works while you're resting to smooth, firm and strengthen - and it smells like Italian countryside...