A form of vitamin B3, this is an all-round heavy hitter that’s loved by all types of skin — it can brighten and lighten, fill out fine lines and wrinkles, and shrink pores, as well as reduce the effects of pollution and fix acne and rosacea. It’s a fantastic find in any step of your skincare (or even all steps, it’s that tolerable) and can be used in conjunction with other ingredients like acids and retinoids.
LC tip: It's a common belief that niacinamide and vitamin C are enemies that will trigger redness and breakouts if used together. However, this is largely based on research from the 1960s that has since been contradicted. In fact, recent results suggest even further benefits from combining the two, but you might want to start carefully just in case.
Often dismissed as scary, retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is fast becoming the darling of the skincare industry — it exfoliates, it boosts collagen production, it fights free radicals and makes your skin look so, so good… but it’s also got a bad rep for causing reactions in acne-prone skin. Don’t fear the stuff, though, it’s really quite magical — just make sure you start with a low dosage and give your skin a chance to step up, and if you’re sensitive that you’re using the right form of retinol, as opposed to other retinoid ingredients such as aggressive, prescription-only retinoic acid.
LC tip: Ease retinol into your routine by using it only in the evening, at a low dosage, before moving to more frequent application and higher concentrations. And always make sure to pair it with sunscreen for daytime use.
For those of us who live in polluted environments, free radicals are killing our skin – and resveratrol is one of the more potent antioxidants able to fight this damage, which causes all sorts of damage, starting with premature ageing. By increasing synthesis of antioxidant enzymes, it increases the body’s natural internal ability to defend itself.
LC tip: When it comes to antioxidants, it’s the more the merrier, so feel free to mix this with other detoxers like green tea or vitamin E.
If dead skin cells are dulling your complexion, then glycolic acid is a friend indeed. This exfoliates naturally without any scrub action and is gentle enough to use every day, morning and night, to even out skin tone, reveal brighter skin and thicken it against the elements, as well as regenerate collagen.
LC tip: Because glycolic acid falls under the category of AHAs, which work on the skin’s surface, consider pairing it with a BHA, which goes deeper into the dermis.
Plant Stem Cells
Most skincare ingredients stimulate your skin to repair itself — serums packed with plant stem cells simply infuse your complexion with brand-new skin-boosting cells derived from plants, reinforcing the cell barriers and helping them to regenerate. Depending on what plant they come from, these can also take on different abilities — a plant found in harsh climates, for example, might be able to fight environmental aggressors more adeptly.
LC tip: Do your homework. If stem cells are in your products, they’re certainly there for a reason, but knowing which plant it is and what its unique benefit is will help you be more targeted with your skincare.