What skincare ingredients can be used together?
Figuring out what skincare ingredients can be used together isn’t always straightforward. With so many products on the market, knowing what combinations complement each other (and which to avoid) can be a case of trial and error.
In midlife, we’re often looking for skincare solutions that can help to restore vitality and hydration. Some common concerns for women in their 40s and 50s are skin elasticity, fine lines, dryness, and/or dullness. The good news is that there are many ingredients that can help with these problems.
Read on for expert advice about the powerful skincare ingredient combinations that will make your complexion glow.
Choosing skincare in midlife
Just like the rest of your body, your skin changes as you age. Hormonal changes can also have a big impact on your complexion, so it’s important to try to adapt your routine for menopausal skin.
“Women in midlife will start to notice a loss of elasticity and volume due to hormonal changes that cause a loss of collagen,” says skin expert Nina Prisk, from Update Aesthetics. “For women in this stage of life, retinoids are a good ingredient to incorporate into your skincare routine.
“Not only can they improve cell regeneration, but they can also help with the production of collagen. Retinoids can also address pigmentation and uneven skin tone.”
Many women in their 40s and 50s find their skin becomes drier and more irritable. Focusing on locking in moisture with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide can help prevent both of these issues.
“Hyaluronic acid is a humectant meaning it retains moisture and helps to improve hydration and plump the skin,” says Nina.
“Niacinamide helps to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – it does this by stimulating collagen and ceramide synthesis.
“For women of all ages, a high factor broad-spectrum SPF is also a must. This isn’t only to protect against skin cancer, but also to help prevent age spots and pigmentation.”
4 skincare combinations that work together
Vitamin C and vitamin E
“Vitamin C and vitamin E both work to counteract free radical damage from UV exposure, but they each combat different types of UV damage,” says Dr Ioannis Liakas, an aesthetics expert for Vie Aesthetics and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
“When these two powerhouses are combined, they can offer your skin double the antioxidants to fight damage.”
Retinol and hyaluronic acid
“Retinol can cause dryness, flakiness, or irritation to the skin,” explains Ioannis. “Hyaluronic acid is the perfect complementary ingredient, as it soothes the skin and doesn’t interfere with the effectiveness of the vitamin A [retinol] product.”
If you’re partnering hyaluronic acid with retinol, then think carefully about the time of day you apply this combo.
“Retinol is more effective when used at night, and because it makes skin more sensitive to sunshine, it’s better to use in the evening rather than in the morning,” says Nina.
Vitamin C and ferulic acid
Vitamin C is known for its brightening properties, but a similar ingredient that doesn’t get as much airtime is ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that can help make your skin glow and, when paired with brightening vitamin C, can help revitalise a dull complexion.
“When combining vitamin C and ferulic acid, both potent ingredients offer you an extremely effective brightening agent that targets signs of skin ageing, such as fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone,” says Ioannis.
Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid
Not only is niacinamide great for calming inflamed skin, but it can also minimise the appearance of pores. When combined with super-hydrating hyaluronic acid, these two skincare ingredients work together to help you achieve a bright, plump complexion while regulating sebum production in the skin.
“Niacinamide is found in lots of skincare products, including cleansers, serums and moisturisers,” says Nina. “It can usually be used at any time of the day and with most other products, depending on the formulation.”
Skincare combinations to avoid
In some cases, specific skincare combinations can cause the skin barrier to become damaged or irritated. The effectiveness of a product may also be lessened if it’s partnered with an ingredient that doesn’t complement it.
“I would avoid using retinol and vitamin C together,” says Nina. “This can cause skin irritation, especially in more sensitive skin. I would also monitor the strength of your retinol. With age the skin becomes thinner, and as a result, is more prone to irritation.”
Experts also advise against doubling up on acids, particularly glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which are both used as skin exfoliators.
“Avoid using glycolic acid and salicylic acid at the same time,” says skincare expert Dr Ross Perry, Medical Director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics. “Both help to rid the skin of dead skin cells, but using them both at the same time can cause huge sensitivity to the skin such as red and dry patches, which will probably become sore, flaky and itchy.”