Beauty: holding back the years

The clocks will soon be going back, but can you really turn back time with your skincare regime? Katie Wright talks anti-ageing.

A SMOOTH, wrinkle-free complexion is top of everyone’s wish list when it comes to skincare, but with so many products out there promising miracle results, it can be hard to know where to start.

It helps to understand what causes ageing to begin with.

“Both intrinsic [chronological] and extrinsic [environmental] ageing impact our appearance, including what we eat, drink and inhale,” says Dr Geoff Genesky, head of research and innovation at Kiehl’s Laboratory. “Though it is difficult to quantify what portion of our ageing comes from these two distinct pathways.”

That means smoking, alcohol, sugar, pollution and the sun are all culprits. And while it’s difficult to control all of these factors – and, of course, the ageing process can’t be stopped completely – there are three key steps you can take to mitigate the effects.

Skincare pros talk us through the superstar products that should be in every anti-ageing arsenal...


“Serums provide an opportunity to deliver concentrated and fast-absorbing treatments,” says Dr Genesky. “Consumers should look for products that are well-validated by clinical studies on the parameters that are most important to them, whether that be wrinkles, smoothness, firmness or anything else.”

Usually thinner in consistency than a face cream, an anti-ageing serum should be applied to the face and neck morning and night, after cleansing but before moisturising, so that the active ingredients can penetrate where they’re needed most.

What should be on an ideal ingredient list? “Look for serums containing peptides that will aid natural collagen and hyaluronic acid production, which is important for deep hydration,” advises Claire Vero, founder of Aurelia Probiotic Skincare.

Antioxidants like vitamins C and E are important too. “Seaweed is rich in moisturising and restructuring essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E, and free radical scavengers which help to eliminate the toxic layer that causes cell degeneration,” says Noella Gabriel, director of product and treatment development at Elemis.


“Well-hydrated skin is plumped and resilient, which diminishes the appearance of surface flaws but, more importantly, hydration is critical to maintain a strong, healthy skin barrier and minimise the effects of photo ageing [changes to skin caused by sun damage],” says Barbara Hayes, vice president at PhotoMedex. “Moisturisers should always be applied after serums and before sunscreens, sealing in the concentrated effects of treatment products and protecting moisture levels.”

So hyaluronic acid and antioxidants are handy in a moisturiser too, but finding one that suits your skin is just as important.

“Choose a moisturiser based on your skin type, because no matter how many superstar ingredients it contains, if it isn’t a match for your skin then it isn’t right for you,” advises Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare. “For example, if you have oily or combination skin, look for a water-light moisturiser that won’t feel heavy or greasy. Likewise, if you have dry skin, you’ll likely love a cream packed with antioxidant-rich plant oils.”


While it’s difficult to determine which has a greater effect on ageing - internal or external factors - experts agree on one thing: up to 90% of extrinsic ageing is caused by sun exposure.

“UVA and UVB rays penetrate and attack the skin, causing damage to collagen and elastin, which are the very building blocks of our skin’s structure,” explains Abi Cleeve, managing director of Ultrasun. That’s why wearing sunblock year-round is so important.

“SPF is the measure of protection from UVB rays,” she adds. “After an SPF - at least 25 for UVB protection – look for UVA protection. It’s these deeply penetrating rays that are doing the most damage to skin.”

If your moisturiser isn’t up to the task, apply a sun block.

Top five anti-ageing products

1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Face Comfort Cream SPF50+, €17.99

Beauty: holding back the years

Paraben- and perfume-free, this non-greasy sun cream promises to help prevent sun-induced dark spots. With 16 clincial trails under its belt, it offers top class protection against UVA. Just what’s needed to keep the wrinkles at bay. Water resistant and suitable for sensitive skin.

2. Superdrug Optimum PhytoGlyc-Age Day Cream, €16.85

Beauty: holding back the years

A superlight cream, it leaves skin feeling deeply moisturised and looking bright. It’s makers say it will improve elasticity and firmness but the immediate results will keep you coming back for more. With SPF 15 protection.

3. Caudalie Vinexpert Firming Serum, €26

Beauty: holding back the years

Give your face an instant lift with this popular oil-free serum. Fast-absorbing, it comes with goodies like resveratrol, alfalfa, rose, soy, grape and ginseng. It’s also free from parabens, phenoxyethanol, artificial colourings and mineral oils. Good enough to eat.

4. REN Bio Retinoid Anti-ageing Concentrate, €60

Beauty: holding back the years

Your face will drink in this serum. All ingredients are naturally sourced and include vitamin A and retinoid Analogue to diminsh fine lines and age spots. It also leaves skin looking brighter and smoother. Pricey but it’s a high-quality product.

5. Aurelia Srobiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser, €54

Beauty: holding back the years

Using probiotic and peptide technologies, moisture is delivered deep into the skin. Your face will love the all-natural ingredients including neroli, lavender, rose and mandarin oils and vitmamin E. Perfect for sleeping beauties who want to wake up looking refreshed.


Take 3: Nail varnish removers

Cotton wool begone. Do the twist with the spill-free way to remove nail polish. Our testers try three instant dip-and-go removers:

Pretty Quik Instant Nail Polish Remover, €3

Beauty: holding back the years

The acetone-soaked sponge doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, but after plunging my nail onto it, and a quick twist, there wasn’t a trace of polish left.


Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover, €6.99

Beauty: holding back the years

Despite the ’1 Second’ promise I had to dip and twist twice to remove my nail polish. The acetone-free solution and nourishing almond oil left my talons soft.


Nails Inc Express Nail Polish Remover, €8

Beauty: holding back the years

This black acetone-free sponge felt really gentle. A quick dip and twist and polish had vanished and, unlike standard remover, my nails were left subtly scented.



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