Unboxing day magnificence – what to do with the skincare presents you’ve been given

Well, look who’s on the nice list this year. Instead of the usual ho-hum slippers, you’ve been treated to exciting looking new skin care products. Just … you don’t know exactly what to do with them – and I’m not blaming you.

Skin care has never been so scientific, with so much emphasis on the actual active ingredients. Statistics show that half of all skin care searches online are now ingredient based, and I’ll bet a large chunk of those Googles start with “what on earth am I doing with …?”

To help you out, I’ve spoken to some experts at GetHarley.com for advice on how to get the most out of your new beauty booty. If you’d like to indulge in personal skin care advice, this service puts you in touch with a top skin care professional and offers you a 30 minute video consultation for £ 30 offering advice on your skin goals and a recommended treatment.

To a bright, happy new you in 2022!

You have … vitamin C

Be especially pleased when Santa Claus brings you an ascorbic acid formula, which is the most well-researched and most effective form of vitamin C.

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What is that? As one of the best antiaging antioxidants in the business, vit C wipes up harmful free radicals – but that’s not all. “Not only does it act as a shield against environmental aggressors, it also has amazing lightening benefits and acts to even out skin tone, promote collagen and reduce the appearance of lines,” says top aesthetic practitioner Natali Kelly.

Be especially pleased when Santa Claus brings you an ascorbic acid formula, which is the most well-researched and most potent form of vitamin C.

Will it suit me It’s generally safe for everyday use and the only thing you are likely to notice is glowing skin. “However, vitamin C can irritate sensitive skin. In that case, I would avoid using it with the daily AHAs and BHAs, ”notes Natali.

Not all vitamin C formulas are created equal, and from personal experience I’ve found some irritate me easily, although most don’t. Even if that is the case, I find that using it only every other day gives the glowing benefits without the disadvantages. So don’t give up your gift too quickly.

You have … retinol

What is that? It’s the gold standard in any antiaging skin care routine, says aesthetic doctor Dr. Fiona McCarthy. “Retinol promotes cell regeneration, which leads to smoother skin and improved wrinkles. It also strengthens collagen and improves skin tone. ”

Will it suit me

If you’re new to retinol, go slowly and steadily, says Dr. McCarthy. “Start with a low dose, possibly just once a week at first. Use only at night and then apply moisturizing cream for 10-15 minutes to minimize the effects of dehydration. ”

Now, if you are tempted to dump your retinol in the regifting heap, don’t be unduly alarmed. Every skin reacts differently, and brands work hard to minimize the chance of skin sensitivity so you may not have any problems at all (personally, I don’t), but it’s best to be careful. Two more retinol rules: wear SPF daily and be patient. “Retinol is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Dr. McCarthy. “It will take 3-6 months to see results, but it’s worth the wait.”

You have … niacinamide

Niacinamide is a perfect partner for retinol

Niacinamide is a perfect partner for retinol

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What is that? Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, was a big trend in 2021. Why? Because it’s a brilliant team player. “It fits easily into skin care routines, but it has so many benefits in promoting repair and protecting the skin,” explains Natali.

Will it suit me Almost certain, says Natali, especially when used in the recommended concentration of 1-2%. “It’s ideal for anyone who wants to lighten their skin or prevent aging. It’s also good for sensitive skin or those suffering from rosacea and eczema as it repairs a damaged skin barrier.

“It also helps to visibly minimize enlarged pores and improve uneven skin tone.” It is a perfect partner for retinol as it counteracts dryness, but Natali does not recommend combining it with any ingredient: “Research suggests that niacinamide can cancel out the beneficial properties of vitamin C. “

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You have … AHAs

What is that? AHAs are chemical peels like glycolic acid and lactic acid that shed the dead surface cells that make the skin dull and rough. “They also allow other skin care ingredients to penetrate better,” explains Dr. McCarthy.

Will it suit me AHAs can definitely deliver the bright, sleek effect that is trending, says Natali. “However, many people have done this to the limit and actually countered the benefits.”

From my own experience, I know how addicting that initial “Wow, silky!” Is. Feeling can be, and I’ve learned the hard way that with AHAs, less is more. To get the (undeniable) benefits without the burn, never use an AHA more often than recommended, no matter how good the first hit feels. And heed the wise words of Dr. McCarthy: “AHAs can also make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, so always use a sun protection factor every day.”

You have … hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the skin that stores water and helps keep it hydrated and bouncy

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the skin that stores water and helps keep it hydrated and bouncy

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What is that ? Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule in the skin that stores water and helps keep it hydrated and elastic. “The values ​​decrease with increasing age,” says Natali.

“When hyaluronic acid is applied topically, it binds to the water in the cells and makes them ‘plump’. It can also pull moisture out of the air, making it a powerhouse for hydration. This reduces the appearance of wrinkles, as dehydration is a cause of aging. ”

Will it suit me It’s especially good when you’re looking for a quick hit on fine lines, and it’s not irritating either.

“It’s perfect for almost all skin types, although those with rosacea or eczema should always do a patch test first,” says Natali. “It can be used with most other ingredients, including retinols and vitamins, but exfoliating acids like glycolic acid can make it less effective.” If you have received “low molecular weight” HA, be especially happy as it allows the molecules to penetrate deeper into the skin.

* Dr. Fiona McCarthy and Natali Kelly are just two of the experts at GetHarley.com, an online platform that connects ordinary people with elite specialists for video consultation for as little as £ 30.

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