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According to experts, these skincare actives work best when paired

Want to get the most out of your skincare? Then it’s time to tag-team your favourite youth-boosting ingredients to up their potency

Like Jay Z and Beyonce, strawberries and cream, and Tom and Jerry, some things just work better together – and the same goes for our skincare actives. By cleverly choosing what youth-boosters you layer on together can increase how effectively they work – leaving you with the best skin you’ve ever had.

But where should you begin? Read on for the answers…

Power couple: Hyaluronic acid and Ceramides 

Hyaluronic acid can hold 1000 times its weight in water, which makes it a great ingredient for getting plump-looking skin. However, because it’s a water-retaining molecule and not a water-generating one, application technique is important here.

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that attracts and binds moisture, applying it to a damp, post cleansed skin means you’ll get more value from it,” says Louise Thomas-Minns, celebrity skin therapist and founder of Louis Thomas Skin Therapy.

“To sustain the longevity of a topical hyaluronic acid, apply a moisturiser on top too,” adds EV expert Balsam Alabassi, founder of Dermrefine Skin Clinic in London’s Mayfair.

For the best mosituriser, look for one high in ceramides – a type of fatty acid. “Ceramides make up part of our lipid barrier and prevents trans-epidermal water loss from the skin so they also help keep moisture and nutrients in.” adds Louise.

Power couple: Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide 

If you've got acne prone skin, then this pairing needs to be a part of your beauty routine. Salicylic acid, a gentle exfoliator that is part of the BHA (beta hydroxy acid) family, not only removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to prevent clogged pores, but also banishes blackheads and excess oil that can further block pores resulting in more spots.

Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) meanwhile, reduces sebum production and pore size to improve overall skin texture, but it also soothes redness and irritation. Meaning that using these two together is highly beneficial for spot-prone skin.

Power couple: Retinol and SPF 

Disclaimer – you need SPF for everything else to work better and as a result should be applying it generously everyday according to both our experts. But SPF is even more vital when you’re using retinol.

But unlike other pairings that should be used together, this isn’t the case here, as your retinol (which can degrade and deactivate in sunlight) goes on at night and your SPF should only be worn during the day.

Retinoids are the gold standard in youth-boosting skincare. They increase cellular turnover, increasing the production of collagen to maintain skin firmness, fight free-radical damage and increase production of glycosaminoglycans AKA hyaluronic acid,” says Alabassi. “But because retinol facilitates cellular turn over, it can leave your skin more exposed and at risk to UV radiation. This is why sun protection is paramount.”

It’s also worth noting that SPF isn’t just for sunny days either. UV rays can penetrate your skin even on a cloudy day and through a window if you’re indoors, so make sure you apply it every day.

If you do want to pair your retinol with something at point of application, then add a few drops of ferulic acid to your bedtime routine.

“Ferulic acid enhances the delivery of retinol enabling it to be absorbed deeper into the skin and therefore increase its effectiveness,” adds Alabassi.

Power Couple: Vitamin C and Vitamin E 

A wonder ingredient loved by beauty junkies the world over, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that aids collagen production to keep skin firm, combats free-radical damage, whilst brightening skin and lessening the appearance of dark spots. While vitamin e is essential for strengthening the skin’s barrier function. But when used together, you ramp up the benefits in a big way.

“Vitamin e and c are a match made in heaven because vitamin e replenishes the effects of vitamin c too increase its longevity, plus they are both great antioxidants,” says Thomas-Minns.

“Also, because vitamin c is a water-soluble molecule whilst vitamin e is a lipid soluble molecule, they penetrate into the skin at different stages and this is a more effective way to neutralise free radicals,” adds Alabassi.

Balsam Alabassi, Owner and Founder of Dermrefine Skin Clinic

I am an Independent Prescriber and hold level 7 in Aesthetic Medicine. I adopt a personalised approach to provide you...

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