From retinol to SPF plus more of the beauty insider's best-kept tricks

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Go easy on the hyaluronic acid

Yes, it’s the so-called ‘super hydrator’ but, according to dermatologist Dr Leslie Baumann, in some cases, hyaluronic acid might not be as hydrating as we think. ‘Hyaluronic acid draws moisture to it, so if the air is humid it will attract moisture from the air to your skin,’ she explains. ‘However, as autumn approaches, the air can become drier, so it can actually pull moisture from the skin.’ This doesn’t mean everyone should avoid hyaluronic acid in autumn and winter, but if despite using it daily you still notice your skin becoming drier, try going without.

So what should we do to keep our skin well-hydrated? ‘Look for products containing ingredients that prevent moisture loss, such as ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol,’ she says.

Try: Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum (60 capsules) contains ceramides 1, 3 and 6 to help prevent moisture loss. Top with Eucerin AtoControl Face Care Cream (50ml), which contains highly concentrated omega fatty acids.

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Reach for the retinol

While some complexions can tolerate retinol all year round, other people find that even with SPF, it leaves their skin too sensitive to the sun’s rays. Sound familiar? In which case, autumn is the time to use this anti-ageing wonder ingredient. ‘Retinol is a great collagen inducer,’ says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams. ‘Plus, it exfoliates the skin and can help even out the appearance of irregular pigmentation.’ So who should use it? ‘Anyone from the age of 30 can benefit, but if the appearance of your skin has prematurely aged or you spent your childhood in a hot climate, it makes sense to begin in your 20s,’ adds Dr Williams.

Try: La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Overnight Treatment (30ml), which contains a well-tolerated 0.3% retinol and is suitable for sensitive skin. Dr Williams suggests applying it twice a week (at night) to start and gradually increasing to every night. If you’re using products containing retinol, still slather on the SPF, or stay out of the sun.

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Try the new hydration hit

‘Not everyone needs to use multiple products, but if you have extremely dry skin you could benefit from adding another moisturising step,’ says Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible. To improve hydration, try an essence (a new-gen oil-free serum made popular by the Asian market) between cleansing and moisturising. ‘Just pour a few drops into the palms of your hands and press into the skin where needed,’ Dr Mahto explains.

Try: Origins Original Skin Essence Lotion With Dual Ferment Complex (150ml) provides oil-free hydration and contains willowherb and Persian silk tree. Pat onto dry skin after cleansing, then follow with a moisturiser.

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Double-dose your eye cream

‘Our skin has a protective barrier, but when it becomes dehydrated, say, from too much exposure to central heating, the barrier may lose its efficacy and, consequently, the skin becomes even more dehydrated,’ explains dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus. It’s a vicious circle, which can result in lines around the eyes appearing more obvious. ‘Flooding the area with moisture can help plump skin and make lines appear shallower,’ she adds.

Try: No7 Youthful Eye Serum (15ml) EXCLUSIVE combines skin-plumping moisturisers with brightening and protecting vitamin C. Pat a pea-sized amount around the eye area on clean skin, twice daily.

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Don’t retire the SPF

‘It’s important to guard skin against UV all year round, as proper protection reduces the risk of skin cancer and can help prevent premature ageing and pigmentation,’ says Dr Justine Kluk, consultant dermatologist for Garnier. So what’s her advice? ‘Apply broad-spectrum (5*) sun protection to your face every morning before putting on your make-up,’ she says. ‘I suggest a minimum SPF of 30 for fair complexions.’

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Invest in skin-friendly make-up

If you’re wearing make-up every day, doesn’t it make sense to choose formulations that care for your complexion? The good news is that the latest slew of foundations and primers contain ingredients that you might expect to see in your daily moisturiser or serum. ‘Make-up containing hyaluronic acid temporarily plumps the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles,’ explains Dr Mahto. While vitamin C, for example, can help in the fight against ageing and also has proven benefits for hyperpigmentation.

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Take the 24-hr approach

Evening temperatures drop as we move into autumn. It's good news for shut-eye – because a cool bedroom is conducive to a good night’s sleep – but bad news for skin, as it encourages moisture loss. ‘This results in dehydrated skin cells and, in turn, lines and wrinkles appear more prominent,’ explains Dr Haus. ‘So an overnight moisturiser is a must.’

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Go bespoke with exfoliator

If autumn equals drier skin that’s lost its glow, you might be tempted to try to buff your way to brightness with an exfoliating scrub. Hold it! ‘The right exfoliator depends on your skin type,’ explains Dr Kluk. ‘Scrubs can help with oily skin and blackheads, but if you get spots, they can increase inflammation. In this case, a chemical exfoliator containing AHAs or BHAs, such as glycolic and salicylic acid, is preferable.’ Applied with a cotton pad once or twice a week, they gently nibble away at dead skin and unclog pores without physically scraping the skin.

Try: Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Scrub (30-pack) contains just the right amount of exfoliating glycolic acid (2%) to gently refine the skin’s surface and reveal a brighter, smoother-looking complexion.

*Available in selected stores only.
Photography: Camera Press/Peter Pedonomou, Pixeleyes