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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

A skincare lover's guide to everything you *actually* need for beautiful skin

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

At 38, I try to take the most natural approach to beauty knowing that there is a tiny level of narcissism and vanity in all of us. We all want to look good though we put different amounts of effort into the way we look and take care of ourselves. Some depend on just products and lifestyle – like me! – while some do not hesitate away from a little Botox. There is no judgment as you need to do what works best for you and makes you happy.

If you make frequent trips to stores, you know that many skincare brands come up with new products every month with the promise to transform your skin from blah to wow.

And if you are like many, you will not hesitate to spend money on products that ‘guarantee’ perfect skin, but you also want to know how many skincare products you really need for good skin and work, versus want because of marketing.

I used to think that wrinkles were the only signs of aging but thanks to Dr. Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, I learned that in addition to lines- volume loss, the color of your skin, elasticity, and your bone structure all show signs of aging. My biggest issue is hyperpigmentation.

Before buying any skincare product, I do my research and read tons of reviews. And after years of reading and trying products, I can tell you that there are five ingredients that everyone should have in their skincare routine. There are many options so you can pick the product that is within your budget. I want to remind you that more expensive products or using more products don’t always mean better.

Here is that list and what they do for your beautiful skin.

Retinol To Fight Wrinkles And Treat Acne

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and a powerhouse for its wrinkle-fighting and complexion clearing powers. Many studies have shown that retinol can decrease fine lines, improve skin texture, build collagen, and treat acne. It is best to ease into retinol and when you do make sure to moisturize a lot, use it only at night and make sure to wear extra sunscreen during the day since retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. For those who are pregnant or nursing, they should NOT use retinol and use safer alternatives like Bakuchiol. I love Roc’s Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Filler.

Vitamin C For The Glow

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production, evens out spots, and gives your skin that boost of glow. You should pick a higher concentration of Vitamin C for best results for sunspots, dullness, and discoloration which is inevitable as you age. It’s the best brightening agent for your skin. Make sure to store it away from direct sunlight and use it within six months of opening. Also, discontinue use if the color changes. The Ordinary’s Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% combines the purest form of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) with Alpha Arbutin for brightening and anti-aging properties. Another favorite is the Vitamin C serum by L’Oréal’s that comes in an opaque tube.

Hyaluronic Acid For The Most Moisture

The main function of hyaluronic acid is to retain water and keep your cells lubricated and moist. It keeps your skin plump because it is one of the world’s tiniest elements that attracts and retains water. It keeps your skin hydrated and is great for all skin types. Who doesn’t want hydrated skin? The more you moisturize your skin the more hydrated it will be and the younger it will look. My favorite is L’Oréal’s Revitalift Derm Intensive Hyaluronic Acid Serum, and a close second is Neutrogena’s Hyaluronic Acid serum.

Peptides For The Firming Action

Peptides are strings of amino acids that help make up all the proteins in our body like our hair and skin. Studies show that peptides can boost collagen production and you should start using them in your late 20s or early 30s when your skin doesn’t feel as taut as it did in your early 20s. There is no harm in adding this to your skincare routine sooner. It makes your skin firm and smooth. The Ordinary Buffet is an affordable option.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids For Silky Smooth Skin

What I love the most about Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) is that they are a great exfoliator that helps with clearing sun damage, hyperpigmentation, acne, and fine lines. Glycolic acid is one of the most popular AHAs, which promotes new skin cell production. Another popular AHA is the lactic acid that is less harsh but still chemically exfoliates your skin like magic. AHAs tend to make your skin more sensitive to the sun so use them at night and alternate them with your retinol. Pixi Glow Tonic has a cult-like following because it is gentle, and it works.

Now you are ready to be the responsible adult who loves and takes care of your skin, and trust me, it will show.


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