It is that time of year when you need to smooth things over ...

A Generic Photo of an older lady. See PA Feature BEAUTY Ageing. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature BEAUTY Ageing.
A Generic Photo of an older lady. See PA Feature BEAUTY Ageing. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature BEAUTY Ageing.
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A smooth, wrinkle-free complexion is top of everyone’s wish list when it comes to skincare, but with so many products out there promising miracle results, it can be hard to know where to start.

It helps to understand what causes ageing to begin with.

“Both intrinsic [chronological] and extrinsic [environmental] ageing impact our appearance, including what we eat, drink and inhale,” says Dr Geoff Genesky, head of research and innovation at Kiehl’s Laboratory.

“Though it is difficult to quantify what portion of our ageing comes from these two distinct pathways.”

That means smoking, alcohol, sugar, pollution and the sun are all culprits. And while it’s difficult to control all of these factors - and, of course, the ageing process can’t be stopped completely - there are three key steps you can take to mitigate the effects, and they involve using a serum, moisturiser and sun block.

Skincare pros talk us through the superstar products that should be in every anti-ageing arsenal...

SERIOUS SERUMS

“Serums provide an opportunity to deliver concentrated and fast-absorbing treatments,” says Dr Genesky. “Consumers should look for products that are well-validated by clinical studies on the parameters that are most important to them, whether that be wrinkles, smoothness, firmness or anything else.”

Usually thinner in consistency than a face cream, an anti-ageing serum should be applied to the face and neck morning and night, after cleansing but before moisturising, so that the active ingredients can penetrate where they’re needed most.

What should be on an ideal ingredient list?

“Look for serums containing peptides that will aid natural collagen and hyaluronic acid production, which is important for deep hydration,” advises Claire Vero, founder of Aurelia Probiotic Skincare.

Antioxidants like vitamins C and E are important too. “Seaweed is rich in moisturising and restructuring essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E, and free radical scavengers which help to eliminate the toxic layer that causes cell degeneration,” says Noella Gabriel, director of product and treatment development at Elemis.

lCaudalie Vinexpert Firming Serum, £36.

lAurelia Probiotic Skincare Revitalise & Glow Serum, £47.

lElemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Serum, £99.

MAGIC MOISTURISERS

“Well-hydrated skin is plumped and resilient, which diminishes the appearance of surface flaws but, more importantly, hydration is critical to maintain a strong, healthy skin barrier and minimise the effects of photo ageing [changes to skin caused by sun damage],” says Barbara Hayes, vice president at PhotoMedex. “Moisturisers should always be applied after serums and before sunscreens, sealing in the concentrated effects of treatment products and protecting moisture levels.”

So hyaluronic acid and antioxidants are handy in a moisturiser too, but finding one that suits your skin is just as important.

“Choose a moisturiser based on your skin type, because no matter how many superstar ingredients it contains, if it isn’t a match for your skin then it isn’t right for you,” advises Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare.

“For example, if you have oily or combination skin, look for a water-light moisturiser that won’t feel heavy or greasy. Likewise, if you have dry skin, you’ll likely love a cream packed with antioxidant-rich plant oils.”

lSuperdrug Optimum PhytoGlyc-Age Day Cream, £6.49

lAnne Semonin Oligo Protect Cream SPF 15, approx. £62

lJurlique Nutri-Define Multi-Correcting Day Cream, £72.