What separates a go-to, skin-saving moisturizer from all the rest? A well-balanced product packed with the right combination of skin-nourishing and healing ingredients that work to balance out the complexion. To help decipher the must-have skin care ingredients from all the rest, we consulted Dr. Benjamin Barankin, a Toronto-based dermatologist and medical director of Toronto Dermatology Centre, for his expert advice.
1. The must-haves. From morning to night—and all the eye cream, serum and cleansers in between—keep your routine stocked with rich and moisturizing ingredients for round-the-clock protection.
The fix: Opt for peptides (which support collagen production and act as antioxidants), Vitamin C (to brighten up a dull complexion) and glycolic acid (to remove dead skin and leave a smooth finish) and retinol (to help maintain a healthy overall complexion).
2. For the sensitive types. We’re referring to irritable skin here, but using harsh and drying ingredients can easily aggravate acne flare-ups and redness.
The fix: Barankin recommends adding in ceramides (molecules that hold in moisture) and dimethicone (a silicone-based polymer and skin protectant) to your regimen. As for face wash, “Use cleansers instead of soaps,” he adds.”
3. To keep skin hydrated and youthful looking. A lack of moisture in the skin keeps it from achieving a naturally healthy glow—no matter how much illuminator you pile on over top.
The fix: Look for products that contain a hyaluronic acid, which provides moisture to the skin and holds it there. Also look for peptides, as they contain anti-aging properties, says Barankin.
4. For on-the-spot relief. When a skin issue literally pops up the day before a big event, enlist emergency measures—and skin-repairing ingredients.
The fix: Try using a product with cortisone to quickly minimize its appearance. “It can be used for anything itchy, or to help bring down a pimple faster,” says Barankin. “Polysporin or Vaseline ointment can be used for any area that is sore or not healing.”
5. Sun protection (enough said). You probably already know what we’re going to say, but seriously, having an SPF-enriched skin care regimen is a non-negotiable.
The fix: Look for high-quality sunscreen that’s separate from your regular daily moisturizer and foundation. “Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen—and most don’t re-apply either—so applying something with sunscreen in it, followed by a sunscreen over top makes good sense,” Barankin advises. “And it will help reduce the risk of skin cancer, sunburns, wrinkles, sun spots, and cold sores.”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter