What are the top five ingredients you need in your skin care regime?

rosie taylor

What are the top 5 ingredients you need in your skincare regime? Rosie Taylor finds out.

There are thousands of skincare products out there and the list of ingredients can be baffling. But there are some key ingredients that experts agree are vital for smooth, clear skin and to fight signs of ageing.

Here’s our list of the 5 essentials for great skincare: 


What is it?

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a naturally occurring antioxidant which we need for cell growth. We get it through our diet – citrus fruit, berries and dark leafy vegetables are high in Vitamin C – but it can also be applied directly to the skin.

Why is it good for skin?

Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, which is vital for plump, healthy skin, and also helps make the collagen more stable and longer-lasting. As an antioxidant, it protects the skin against free radicals which can cause signs of ageing by damaging cells.

It can also help reduce pigmentation of the skin because it slows the production of melanin, which darkens skin. Applied directly to the skin, Vitamin C can help treat conditions like acne and rosacea and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

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Which form is best for skincare?

The active form of Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid (LAA). This is unstable and it will lose its effectiveness over time if exposed to air and light, so it is important to choose products which are in air-proof, light-proof containers – such as pump action bottles. Concentration is also important – products should contain between 8- 20 per cent  of L-ascorbic acid.

Harley Street Emporium recommends: Filorga -C Recovery Radiance Booster 



What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A (or retinol) is a fat-soluble vitamin which is part of the retinoid family. It is essential for our development and cell growth. We get Vitamin A from foods including sweet potato, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, tropical fruits and fish and liver. It can also be applied topically to the skin through skincare products.

Why is it good for skin?

Vitamin A gently exfoliates, which improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by sun-damage and ageing. It also boosts fibroblast and collagen production, vital for maintaining smoothness and fullness of skin.

It can be used to treat conditions including hyperpigmentation (dark spots), acne and psoriasis because it helps return abnormal cell function back to normal and can regulate the amount of oil produced by the skin.

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How should I use it in skincare?

Make sure any Vitamin A products are packaging in airtight, light-proof containers as it will break down and become ineffective when exposed to the elements.

Vitamin A can cause redness, tingling and even dry or flaky skin at first, due to its exfoliating properties. You may have to use products just once or twice a week at first to build up a tolerance. The concentration of retinol in a product should not be more than 2 per cent.

It is also important to apply Vitamin A only at night and use sunscreen during daylight hours as it increases sensitivity to sunlight.

Products containing Vitamin A are not suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Harley Street Emporium recommends: Beaute Pacifique Clinical Super 3 Booster



What is it?

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar-based molecule which is naturally produced by the body. It helps to retain water – known as a humectant – and about half of our body’s supplies of it are located in the skin, keeping it hydrated. 

Why is it good for skin?

Over time, our levels of hyaluronic acid drop meaning skin loses moisture. This can cause wrinkles, dryness and sagging. Replenishing these levels can help moisturise the skin, softening wrinkles and tightening to give a plumper, fuller appearance.


How should I use it?

Hyaluronic acid comes in creams which penetrate the skin to create a deep moisturising effect – however some molecules may be too big to penetrate deeper skin layers. It can also be injected into the skin, where it acts like a filler to soften wrinkles. This will need to be redone every few months and can cause temporary swelling and bruising.

 Harley Street Emporium recommends: Swisscode Pure Hyaluron


4. AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

What is it?

AHA – or alpha hydroxy acids – is a group of naturally-occurring acids which includes glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid and mandelic acid, all of which come from milk or fruit sugars. The two most frequently used in skincare are glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane) and lactic acid (from sour milk) because they are the best absorbed by the skin.

Why is it good for skin?

AHA encourages the turnover of skin cells, where dead cells are removed revealing new, healthy cells underneath. It makes skin appear clearer, cleaner and more youthful.

Because of its exfoliating properties, AHA can also help soften fine lines and wrinkles and reduce pigmentation. There is some evidence it may also boost collagen production, which is vital to prevent wrinkles and sagging and create firmer skin. Lactic acid also works particularly well as a moisturiser because it helps skin retain water. 


How should I use it?

AHA is available in over-the-counter at concentrations of 5 to 10 per cent. Dermatologists may use concentrations of 50 to 70 per cent when performing chemical peels.

It is important to where sunscreen when using AHA containing-products as they thin the skin’s protective layer and make it more likely to be damaged by the sun’s rays.

Products can cause irritation at first and you may need to build up a tolerance or use a lower concentration to start with.

Harley Street Emporium recommends for experience glycolic acid users: NeoStrata Lotion Plus (15% glycolic acid) Or, NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash (18%)



What is it?

Peptides are small proteins formed of amino-acids which have several different roles in the body. Matrixyl is a product formed of two peptides which stimulate collagen production and skin repair. It was developed by French cosmetic firm Sederma and is used in many skin creams.

Why is it good for skin?

Collagen acts as the skin’s ‘scaffolding’ and as we age, our levels of collagen decrease causing wrinkling and sagging. Matrixyl helps stop this by promoting production of collagen. According to a University of Reading study published in 2013, Matrixyl can nearly double collagen levels.


How should I use it?

Many skincare products boast they contain ‘peptides’ but it is important to know which ones. Matrixyl is included in many different creams and will be listed as an ingredient. The recommended concentration is 2 per cent but products vary in strength depending on what other ingredients it is combined with.

Harley Street Emporium recommends: Fillerina Night Cream




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