• Lauren Hughes

Top 5 Skincare Ingredients

Updated: May 28, 2018

The amount of different skincare products on the market can be baffling (I'm not the only one who has spent hours wandering the aisles of Boots and browsing Cult Beauty in a state of confusion right?) and it seems impossible to incorporate all of the different active ingredients into a daily skincare routine. In this post, I outline my top five skincare ingredients that I think give the best results. I try to use these as consistently as I can and I will be going into more detail on the specific products I use for each category in future posts (coming very soon!)


No surprises number one skincare product is SPF. It has been well documented that UV rays from the sun are the main cause of premature wrinkles, pigmentation, sun spots and a breakdown of elasticity in the skin.

UVB rays are responsible for sunburn whereas UVA rays reach deeper into the skin, contributing to skin damage, particularly premature ageing. It is key to find a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. From April to October, I wear a broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen every day to protect my skin. In the winter months, the sun rarely makes an appearance in the UK so I tend to rely on the SPF that is present in the CC creams I use daily (I alternate between the IT Cosmetics and Bourjois CC Creams.)


Along with SPF, retinol is one of the very few ingredients that has actually been scientifically proven to work on preventing premature ageing. Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, stimulates the production of new skin cells, which helps to reduce fine lines, firm the skin and help with skin discolouration.

Prescription retinoids, such as Retin-A, are far more potent than over-the-counter retinol products but are hard to get hold of in the UK and they can also cause extreme irritation and dryness in the first few months of use. I'm currently using strong retinol products from cosmeceutical companies such as Neostrata and Skinceuticals. I have slightly sensitive skin so I'm currently using the retinol two or three times a week and would like to eventually bump it up to five times a week.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties and can also boost collagen. I have found it great at brightening my skin and evening out my skin tone. L ascorbic acid is considered the best form to use, however it can be highly unstable when exposed to air and light. When looking for Vitamin C products, it is best to avoid jars and instead go for tubes and pumps where possible.

I currently like to use Vitamin C products with higher percentages of L Ascorbic acid, like the Indeed Labs Vitamin C24, in the evening. This really tingles on application. Over summer I will switch to a lower percentage, such as the Kiehl's 12.5%, and use it under my SPF to give extra antioxidant protection against the sun.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHA products, specifically glycolic acid and lactic acid, have made a huge difference in my skin over the past five years. AHAs work on the skin's surface by dissolving the glue-like lipids holding cells together. This helps skin to gently exfoliate the buildup of dead skin, revealing the brighter, smoother skin underneath.

I currently like to use a Lactic acid mask once a week and a glycolic toner once a week. If you have spots or mild acne, BHA (in the form of salicylic acid) should also be incorporated into your routine too.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is essential for keeping the skin hydrated, as just one molecule can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water. As we age our body's natural production of hyaluronic acid slows down so including an HA product is very beneficial for keeping the skin hydrated and happy.

Hyaluronic acid can be found in moisturisers, serums and face masks and I like to use a combination of all three as often as I can.

Check out my Instagram for products I'm currently using and subscribe to be alerted when I publish a new post!

Lauren x



© 2023 by Salt & Pepper. Proudly created with