I recently had the pleasure of meeting a client who came armed with an arsenal of questions in regards to ingredients and the recent research she had done. Like most she was overwhelmed with the options and needed a little support to work through the MUST have's and MUST NOT have's. Her list included ingredients such as Vitamin C, Retinol, Squalene, Hylauronic Acid and many more. The consult also went down the avenue of which brands are best. I was quick to consider my answer - as my common thought was "MINE" the ones I live, breath and love each and ever day, however I also follow the ethos that my clients can select their own skincare ranges if they choose too - its just hard for me to work along side them when things turn a little sour in the health department of your skin. I came to think and also discuss with her the honest truth - there are a zillion products available and probably a TOP 10 of the best skincare products you could/ or should select from. When you line these all up infront of one another and break down the ingredients you will find they are almost exactly the same. Our industry has had minor growth in producing new whizz bang ingredients that prove their worth over the past 10 years so my favourites and some education are below; Niacinamide Think B for barrier: it reinforces the skin’s outermost layer, helping it to protect itself from UV damage, pollution, chemicals and other environmental stressors. If you aren’t already using it, niacinamide – also known as vitamin B3 – is set to become your skin’s new BFF. Niacinamide increases the production of the major proteins in our skin barrier (e.g. keratin) and ceramides; this lowers the risk of skin becoming irritated and increases moisture retention. You can also find B3 in tablet form - a great supplement for reducing the risk of skin cancers and a perfect hydration option for Keratosis Pilaris skin disorders. Retinol This can be a controversal one as many know this to be the best anti - ageing ingredient. I'm personally not that bigger fan! Don't get me wrong it is amazing - used correctly and with the appropriate strength suitable to the skin. Also known as vitamin A, it works by accelerating skin turnover, leading to less fine lines, wrinkles and congestion, along with improved skin texture and plumpness. Vitamin A's come in many different formulas and many have advanced in the cosmeceutical world so ensure you get some advice before you purchase. Salicylic Acid Skin prone to pimples? I'd like to introduce you to a friend salicylic acid. This blemish-buster is often at the top of ingredient lists for acne-targeting skincare products. Salicylic acid works by deep diving into pores to clear out sebum and dirt; it also neutralises acne-causing bacteria helping to reduce the size of spots and – better still – prevent them from forming in the first place. This product comes in many gel based exfoliants but can also be an in clinic prescriptive peel option too. Hyaluronic Acid In need of some hydrating, plumping and dewy skin - well look no further. Its a direct competitor to Vitamin B - however its specialty is to concentrate more on the levels of moisture rather than repair. Our HA levels start decreasing around the age of 20, contributing to age-related dehydration and loss of elasticity so its a great product to provide a boost at least 1 - 2 sessions per year. Vitamin C If you know me well you will know this is not one of my most popular selections however it is an incredible product on the correct skin. Vitamin C is lauded for its ability to brighten skin. This potent antioxidant is a powerhouse: it evens out your skin tone (great for pigmentation and melasma!) boosts hydration levels, supports collagen production, reduces inflammation and neutralises free radicals. It is most important you consider some advice when selecting a Vitamin C. As you can see these are only just a few of the commonly recommended skin care ingredients. Remember brands and skin care ingredients aren't everything you hear and know about. There are so many things to consider when selecting and recommending product. YOUR skin, YOUR history, YOUR desired results. I like to keep it simple - LESS is BEST and combine effective skincare with a 3-4 yearly skin treatment routine in clinic to ensure optimum results.