When it comes to a well-rounded diet, certain things are a given. Fresh fruit and veg are preferable to cupcakes and chips. Nuts and seeds are way more nutritious than a box of Charbonnel et Walker (although there’s nothing wrong with everything in moderation, of course).
So, what do most good foods have in common and the less nutritious stuff lack? Vitamins.
Absolutely essential for your body to function, vitamins perform hundreds of important roles, from fuelling your immune system and repairing cellular damage to converting food into energy and helping you maintain strong bones. Without them, you would simply not survive. A bold statement, but a true one.
Surely it figures, therefore, that when you apply vitamin-enhanced skincare, your skin will similarly benefit from all that goodness. Yes and no. Topical vitamins are a slightly different ball game and they’re not all created equally. Some are pretty incredible, for sure… but others? Meh.
Not sure where to start when it comes to choosing the best vits for your skin type and concerns? Then you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve rounded up three of the most effective and clinically-proven topical vitamins out there…
Vitamin A is seen as the gold-standard of anti-ageing skincare ingredients. Hold on, you thought that was retinol, right? Gotcha, they’re the same thing!
Retinol is the topical form of vitamin A that gets converted into retinoic acid when applied to the skin. Super smart and extremely effective, retinoic acid is one of those extra special compounds that’s able to ‘communicate’ with your skin to activate collagen production, stimulate cell turnover, neutralise damaging free radicals and boost tissue regeneration.
This makes it hard to beat when it comes to fading dark spots, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, controlling breakouts and dealing with enlarged pores.
Is there a catch? Always. Retinol is a powerful little beast and can be way too strong for some skin types, causing dryness, redness, itching and inflammation. Not good, granted, but not the end of the world.
You just need to tread carefully when introducing it to your regime by applying it just once or twice a week until your skin acclimatises. Try our Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum which contains a gentle form of retinol called retinyl palmitate – one of the best retinoids for sensitive skin.
Oh, and contrary to popular belief retinol does not make your skin more sensitive to the sun. But… and it’s a BIG but, it does thin the very top layer of your skin which makes it less able to protect itself.
Furthermore, sunlight decreases retinol’s efficacy, so you must always protect your skin with a broad-spectrum moisturiser every day of the year. Good news, our Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25 has you totally covered there. Literally!
Without doubt one of the most popular topical vitamins in skincare, vitamin C is another hard one to beat. It’s been used in various creams, cleansers, serums and oils for decades… because it works.
Often seen on your ingredients list as ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate, vitamin C is the wonder-child of antioxidants. Antioxidants are vital for your skin because they banish damaging free radicals caused by environmental stressors like pollution, UV radiation and cigarette smoke.
Free radicals like to ruin all the good stuff in your skin (think collagen and elastin) so by keeping them at bay, antioxidants help your skin stay healthy, soft, supple and strong.
Vitamin C is not just a one-trick antioxidant pony, however. It’s also mildly exfoliating and helps inhibit wayward melanin production which reduces the chances of your skin becoming patchy and uneven-looking after too much time in the sun. This makes it a fantastic choice for ageing, sun-worn skin or for anyone looking to get their glow on.
Last, but not least, studies show that vitamin C can also boost the effectiveness of your sun cream, offering your skin even more protection from that delicious but oh-so-damaging big ball of fire in the sky.
To get your C fix, apply Imperial Moisturiser twice daily to clean, dry skin. Not only does Imperial Moisturiser contain vitamin C in its purest form – ascorbic acid – but it’s also chock full of botanicals like rosehip seed oil and goji berry fruit extract which are both high in natural vitamin C. Two big thumbs up.
As skincare ingredients go, vitamin E has stood the test of time longer than most. Why? Because, like vitamin C and retinol, it does a fantastic job.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s naturally produced by your skin to protect cell membranes and help give it strength and support. So, why do you need extras in your skincare? Because your natural levels severely fade as you get older. Surprise, surprise.
There are around eight different forms of vitamin E including tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate and alpha-tocopheryl acetate and, similar to most topical vitamins, vitamin E is an effective antioxidant. On top of this it has incredible emollient properties.
Emollients are vital for helping your skin stay hydrated and moisturised. They work by helping to repair cracks in the uppermost layers of your skin, which would otherwise allow moisture to escape – a process called transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
By creating a smoother surface area and reducing TEWL, emollients strengthen your skin’s barrier function and help your skin naturally repair itself. This makes vitamin E a fabulous choice not only for moisturising your skin, but for helping to heal scars, burns and sun damage.
You’ll also find it in our awesome Night Elixir moisturising cream. For the best results, apply this to cleansed skin every evening before bed – especially in winter when dry cold air outside and central heating inside depletes your skin of natural moisture.