The truth about skin products and how they work for anti-ageing

May 29, 2017

These days, I'm far more interested in skincare. Maybe it's because I'm seeing more signs of ageing on my skin and therefore trying to treat it better. As part of my "skinucation", I'm starting to turn to skincare experts I trust, or brands that I think could help me, for the answer.

One of the first places I've turned to is Skinceuticals. I've used two of their products already (CE Ferulic and Metacell Renewal B3), and I'm convinced that their products deliver on the promises.

Curious to know more about the brand and what's best for anti-ageing, I asked Christelle de Wit, Skinceuticals education and product manager some questions:

Can products really help reduce the signs of ageing, and how?

A well-designed product can make a significant improvement in skin health and appearance. Find skincare products with high concentrations of pharmaceutical-grade active ingredients that are clinically proven.

What are the must-follow skin habits for women?

The key word is “habit"! Keep up a regular routine, with the daily application of:  

AM: Topical antioxidant serum (CE Ferulic) apply on to a perfectly cleansed and dry skin, followed by your corrective moisturiser (A.G.E Interrupter)  and finally your Sunscreen (Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50)

PM: A nighttime antioxidant is strongly recommended. Apply directly after cleansing, followed by your moisturiser (A.G.E Interrupter)

At night:  initially only 1 – 2 x a week, apply a thin layer of Retinol (Retinol 0.5) directly after cleansing, carefully avoiding the eye area. Allow 20 – 30 minutes before applying the regular Resveratrol BE and AGE Interrupter.

The old skincare routine we were told to follow used to be cleanse, tone and moisturise. What is it now?

The skincare products that we each choose to use is very personal, and sometimes to change the  way we think about skin care, takes a bit of time. 

I've been fortunate enough to study the skin in college (N.Dip Somatology) and make professional skincare my career. Because of this I can easily assess a product (based on ingredients), and know off the bat if it makes sense, or not. Marketing has a huge impact on how we assume a skincare routine “should” be i.e. cleanse, tone, moisturise.

However, it does not necessarily make sense. Products have evolved so much, they are now multi-tasking, and in some cases, rendering certain elements like “tone or moisturise” useless.

Yes, one of my first rules is keep it clean. Don’t bother using key actives if you haven’t perfectly prepped your skin for their application.  

If you chose to tone, by all means: go ahead (especially if you’re not confident in you cleansing skills), but choose a toner that is mild, and hydrating, rather than drying. Equalizing toner is perfect, and ticks all the right boxes.

My 3 steps:

  1. PREVENT: Daily Antioxidant, CE Ferulic (not optional – apply daily, don’t skip a day!)
  2. CORRECT: Rather than a regular moisturiser  K , rather use a Supercharged Corrective as your moisturiser (A.G.E. Interrupter)
  3. PROTECT: SPF 50 (Physical Fusion UV Defense)

What role does sunscreen play in anti-ageing?

Unfortunately the sun is the skin's worst enemy, and the effects of the sun are being magnified by:  thinning ozone layer, air pollution (visible and invisible) and even heat exposure

It’s easy to see the damaging effects of the sun on your skin over time, but often when we notice this damage, it’s already too late – aesthetically, sun damage or age accelerating UV-induced photodamage (mainly hyperpigmentation) is one of the hardest condition to treat, but ironically the easiest to avoid!

All you need to do is wear a sunscreen daily.  Simple.  Summer, winter, snow, sun, office or beach -> DAILY!

Even though you don’t “tan” in winter, doesn’t mean you’re not exposed to age-accelerating rays:  UVA.  UVA is a longer wavelength, and goes straight through the epidermis, no evidence of burn or tan – it’s invisible and chronic. I believe that there is as much UVA radiation in winter and summer, at the north pole, and the equator. 

Your SPF does not tell you how much it protects against UVA (it only tells you how well it protects against sunburn = UVB)

Fortunately, L’Oreal has developed a way to measure UVA induced Permanent Pigment Darkening (PPD) so we know all of our SPF 50s protect against UVB, and are also effective at protecting against UVA.

Prevention is always better than cure. The trick is to find the right sunscreen for you! (often people are put off with greasy, pasty, clogging, creams and sprays that burn their eyes, leave them ashy or cause congestion and breakouts, and they hate it!).

What are the bestselling Skinceuticals products?

The top five in South Africa are:

    1. CE Ferulic (most famous SkinCeuticals product) (I wrote about it here)
    2. Hydrating B5 (indicated as a supplementing serum for all dehydrated skin)
    3. Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
    4. AGE Eye Complex
    5. AGE Interrupter

Can a specific diet or drinking more water really make skin look better?

Although your skin is the largest organ of the body, it’s the last to receive its ration of nutrients from your diet. Your diet is very important,  but not sufficient to increase skin tissue levels of nutrients.

For peace of mind, use a topical supplement, in proven formulas, to assist in skin health and correction.  

How does one choose what to use on their skin, where to get started, or what products to even use?

Make up your own mind:  listen to what the experts say, but try to understand what you’re using on your skin for yourself. Do a bit of research, ask the important questions (like, "Can I see the peer-reviewed clinical study that backs up your claims?")  if this cannot be provided, maybe the claims are misleading, and this could lead to you wasting your money, and massive disappointment when you don’t achieve the results that were promised.

One tip that I feel rather strongly about is that you should manage your expectations!  Once you’ve committed, give the product some time to work, usually 2 – 3 cell turnover cycles (about 12 weeks) to see the optimal before and after effect and use it exactly as prescribed.   

See a SkinCeuticals professional, or go online to or


Feature image: Shutterstock


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