3 Science-Backed Skincare Ingredients That Actually Work
Plus—do you really need a serum?
1. Vitamin C
Free radicals caused by pollution, UV rays and more can lead to wrinkles and dullness. “Vitamin C squelches those free radicals,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto-based dermatologist. Because of this superpower, vitamin C is best used in the morning, under sunscreen.
Production of collagen, which gives skin its baby-smooth appearance, slows as we age. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, speeds it up again. Apply at night, and use SPF 30 or higher in the a.m.
3. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid (HA) keeps skin hydrated, but like collagen, natural stores decrease with age. While a plethora of topical products exist, injectable HA purportedly gets this hero ingredient deeper into skin.
Kellett injects Restylane Skinboosters (Juvéderm Volite is a competitor) into skin’s superficial layers to address fine lines on cheeks, the upper lip, neck or chest (starting at $500). Two re-ups are required; results last about a year.
Plus, do you really need a serum?
Ideally, yes. Beyond a well-balanced acid mantle—the film that acts as a barrier to contaminants—aging skin needs high concentrations of active (not filler) ingredients. More watery in texture than creams, serums can be slightly better at delivering actives to the top layer of skin for faster results, says Kellett. Apply after cleanser and before cream moisturizer. Many serums are also customizable.
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