The Five Pillars You Need For Healthy Skin

five pillars of skincare

Active skincare ingredients deliver real benefits, helping to brighten, smooth and even protect skin from further damage. We take a deep dive into the five power ingredients that you need to add in to your regime.

Vitamin C

This incredible antioxidant protects your skin from damaging free radicals, which are the number one cause of wrinkles. Vitamin C also helps to fade pigmentation marks and give skin an unparalleled radiance. As Kate Somerville, skin expert and brand founder explains, “with consistent usage, you should see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and improved texture. Studies show that vitamin C may also boost collagen and brighten pigmentation over time.”

To enjoy these benefits, we recommend adding a daily serum into your routine. Smooth on after cleansing and allow the formula to sink into skin before applying moisturiser. Always finish with an SPF to protect skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Our current favourites include the bestselling Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C.

If you have dry skin, you might want to opt for a more nourishing formula, such as Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream.


Retinol, or vitamin A, is a powerhouse ingredient, but despite its fantastic benefits it once had a reputation for causing irritation. Fortunately, the latest formulas can help increase cell turnover and improve your skin’s ability to produce collagen without necessarily causing redness and flaking. The result is often smoother, plumper and firmer skin.

Dr Yannis Alexandrides of 111SKIN also recommends retinol for oily, spot-prone skin as, “it removes bacteria from pores and reduces oil production in the sebaceous glands.” It’s also great for those with pigmentation issues as it helps to reduce melanin production.

If you want to introduce retinol into your routine, start slowly. Going too fast or using the ingredient too often can cause irritation or sensitivity. “Start with once a week in the evening,” says Dr Alexandrides. As your skin begins to build up a tolerance, you can use a retinol formula every other evening. Be sure to use SPF during in the day as retinol can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

When it comes to retinol formulas, there are many different options. For those concerned with dryness, we suggest 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil. If you prefer a cream texture, look to Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream. For more sensitive skin, try Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil. With calming blue tansy and a gentler form of retinol known as trans-retinoic acid ester, it helps to minimise any irritation.


Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are naturally derived acids (usually from fruit) that break down the bonds between dead skin cells, so they easily lift away leaving newer, fresher and younger-looking skin in their wake.

Slightly different to AHAs, beta hydroxy acids (BHA) help to exfoliate individual pores and get rid of dead cells that clog pores and trap bacteria to form spots.

“I love alpha and beta hydroxy acids for clearing pores and helping rid excess oil and dirt. Ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acid are standout when it comes to clearing pores and stubborn blackheads,” says New York dermatologist and brand founder, Dr Dennis Gross.

We recommend adding an acid toner to your routine – swipe on after cleansing and before your serum both morning and evening. For the best of both worlds, try Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads. The formula “contains five acids: glycolic, citric, malic, lactic and salicylic to promote cell renewal, fight wrinkles, smooth skin, exfoliate and build collagen and elastin,” explains Dr Gross. Alternatively, if your skin is particularly dry or sensitive, try Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment. The treatment smooths bumps and refines skin texture effortlessly.

Hyaluronic Acid

The wonder ingredient that can hold over 1000 times its weight in water; in its natural form hyaluronic acid is used by our bodies to cushion and lubricate joints, eyes and heart valves. Within skincare it delivers deep hydration to skin cells, as Dr Barbara Sturm, skin expert and brand founder asserts, “hyaluronic acid is intensely hydrating and helps to fade fine lines. Studies have shown that it even stimulates collagen and assists in sun damage repair.”

A daily application of hyaluronic acid will help ensure your skin is hydrated and plump. Try Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. Formulated with long and short chain hyaluronic molecules, the lightweight serum helps to promote deep, long-lasting hydration. Apply after cleansing and toning in the morning and allow the formula to sink in before following with a vitamin C serum, moisturiser and protective SPF.

For an extra boost also try incorporating a weekly mask into your routine, such as Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask. The gel formula delivers a powerful blast of plumping hyaluronic acid to your skin.


Peptides are short chains of amino acids – the building blocks of protein. Within our skin the main proteins are collagen and elastin, which help to maintain its structure, texture and tone. There are many different types of peptides – some with the ability to tell our skin to repair and rejuvenate itself. As Kate Somerville explains, “topically applied peptides boost collagen production by leading the dermis into thinking that it’s sent a lot of collagen to the surface and should make more.”

Within skincare therefore, peptides can help smooth lines, boost firmness and ultimately increase your skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin. Peptides need time to sink into skin and start working, so it’s important to choose leave-on skin products such as serums and moisturisers. We recommend Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream. The velvety cream includes an expertly formulated blend of ceramide, peptide and oligopeptide to help combat the signs of ageing.

Apply after your serum and before SPF every morning. Combining antioxidants, peptides and vitamins Sarah Chapman Skinesis Eye Recovery helps to smooth and rejuvenate the delicate eye area – apply morning and evening before SPF.