Are you overusing your anti-ageing skincare?

You might be. I definitely have some friends who are thrashing their AHAs and retinol products, and need to pump the brakes. Otherwise they risk over-exfoliating their skin and ending up with thin, shiny texture, not to mention potential redness, flaking and long-term sensitivity. No good. These ingredients are Power Ingredients, and should be used with care and treated with reverence, not slapped on like your antioxidants and hyaluronic acids.

For instance, if you use a glycolic acid cleanser, then a full-strength brightening serum with lactic acid, and then a retinol based night cream before bed, you’re doing the equivalent of a mini-chemical peel every night. And don’t even get me started on people who don’t use a dedicated broad spectrum sunscreen each and every day when they’re on the Power Ingredients.

Ideally, you should have these ingredients – especially the cosmeceutical type – prescribed by a skin professional, so you know exactly how much to use, and when.

Anyway, watch this informative little piece I did for A Current Affair last night for the full story.

Mini glossary

AHAs: Alpha Hydroxy Acids, natural acids used in the bulk of anti-ageing/acne skin care. I fondly refer to them as the “ics”… Glycolic, citric, lactic acid. They dissolve the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, giving your a fresher, more glowing complexion, they moisturise, they tighten pores, they even out skin tone and reduce pigmentation, they reduce fine lines, the help  fade acne scars… they are magnificent. BUT. Using them a couple of times a week, (or for a program, and then a break) is generally enough for the skin to get the benefits. Lactic is the more gentle of the bunch, start with him.

Olay Regenerist’s Renewal Elixir with glycolic acid is a bloody good, bloody well-priced bedtime serum.

Retinol: The lower strength version of prescription only retinoids (best saved until after you’ve had all your babies), both are Vitamin A derivatives, and are seen as the holy grail of youthful skin by all beauty experts. Because retinol works. It’s wildly effective at cell-turnover, unclogging pores, reducing fine lines, evening out skin tone, smoothing and softening the skin, and making you look rather fantastic, and very young (in as little as four weeks.)

SkinMedica’s Tri-Retinol Complex is (STRONG!) and said to give results as good as OTC retinoids.

Uh oh. Miss the bit where I told you to watch the video? Here’s that link again.

Responses to this drivel: 20 Comments
Responses to this drivel ( 20 )
  • Bea

    There is totally something to be said for overusing all your lovely beauty prods !! Thanks for sharing Zoe. I am only 22 but a total junky and used to do exactly what you said above (re glycolic cleanser followed by c serums etc etc) and now my skin is so sensitive I can only use aqueous cream and gentle cleanser, heart breaking as all I want to do is use my lovely creams and serums.

  • janine

    Very informative whats your opinion on rosehip oil or argan oil l’m 56 and l have been using skin care since l was a teenager it has really made a difference

  • Olga

    Very informative Zoe thanks

  • Kiss & Make-up

    The only anti-aging products I use are eyecream, serum and night cream and I don’t think I am overdoing it. I use a normal amount of product.

  • Tess

    Hey Zo, does this go for salicylic acid too? I’m 20 and that’s in my daily foundation and cream cleanser (the Olay one for acne prone skin, it’s fab) xx

    • Megan

      I have used salicylic acid in my cleanser every day and it’s made my skin so thin. It makes any acne i get more red and noticeable, my skin gets really red whenever i pick at it and stays red all day. I can’t get my eyebrows done because I’m scared my skins too thin that it will get damaged. Please use in moderation. It is a miracle product but don’t use it too much.

  • Susan

    Hi Zoe, could you please tell me who the Dermatologist was that appeared on your ACA segment? Thank you.

  • Nadine

    Zoe, you mention sunscreen….

    I have tried Invisible Zinc (the worst of them all -only for days when I am in these without makeup), Sunsense, Hamilton (plus a few other brands) but I find many too heavy, too oily, to shiny or the tinted variety to dark (I am very pale). I like my sunscreen to be just sunscreen, not part of a moisturizer.

    As you can get sunscreen reasonable priced I don’t want to pay $60 for a small bottle.

    Can anyone suggest a great sunscreen that isn’t oily, heavy or yuck?

    My face and its delayed wrinkles thank you.

    Just an interesting point: A friend recently went to a factory as part of her degree.
    There was a large vat filled with sunscreen. The sunscreen from this vat filled containers that belonged to a variety of brands – from the cheapest no name brand to expensive name brands (from$10 up to $30 +).

    • Sarah

      Clinique City Block 30+ sunscreen is nice, light and easy to apply. Comes in a white or tinted version too.

    • Steph

      I use Olay Total Effects moisturiser which has SPF 15. It is a moisturiser, but as I find it quite light I apply liberally (so would get a good amount of protection). I saw there was an Olay Complete moisturiser that is SPF 30 – haven’t tried it yet but I will due to the higher SPF. Also, my philosophy is that if I use an SPF 15 everyday and properly, that’s better than not consistently or properly using a higher SPF.

    • Ishia

      Zoe did something on Ultraceuticals a while back.. I’m like you, I hate oily, heavy sunscreen’s for daily use. I bought some the other day and love it. It doesn’t feel like sunscreen at all and has a beautiful non-sunscreeny fragrance. I think it was about $60 for a 100ml tube! Would highly recommend 🙂

  • Amy

    NADINE! Nivea Daily Face Veil – $10. Is is very lightweight and SPF30. It is my combination-palepalepale-skinned hero!

    (I cannot highlight how pale I am)

  • kat

    Great story, but cannot find video cheers… thanks

  • a little worried!

    Am I using my Peter Thomas Roth cleansing pads too much? I use the pads nightly, after cleaning my face first, then apply a Jurlique night cream and in the morning I use a Jurlique face oil and moisturiser. The ingredients list says that the main ingredient is a potent mix of AHA’s salic acid 5%. The lovely lady who sold me the pads actually suggested that I could use the pads morning and night. Should I maybe back of the pads a little?

    • Miranda

      I use the Dr Dennis Gross 1-2 step pads, the lovely ladies at Mecca told me that you could build up to daily use gradually. Well, I did build up to daily use and that was too much. My skin looked awesome for about a week, then got dry and flaky. I have generally very oily skin so this was a first for me! I dropped back to 2-3 times per week and the benefits remained. They just want you to use them more so that you have to go and buy more. Just saying 🙂

  • Sarah

    I’m so confused Zoe!! We’re making the switch from chemical to physical sunscreen to avoid all the nasty chemicals seeping into our bloodstream…..so, isn’t it the same with all these anti-ageing products, moisturisers in general and make-up? Aren’t they all full of nasty chemicals too? What do we do? 🙁

  • www.rebelmouse.com

    Good information. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon).

    I’ve book marked it for later!

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  • Jill

    Hey Zoe! 
    I remembered you’d written a piece on retinols and AHAs, so I googled it an came across this article. Problem is that now that link is to a Kangaroo eating something, which while endearing, is not quite what I’m after (I watched a vid of puppies playing this morning. CUTE!) 
    Anyhoo, I have retinol and an alpha A night cream and wondered if you might be able to tell me how often I should use them? Alternate nights? Twice a week each? Thank you very much I really appreciate your wisdom!

  • Cocoona

    Well many of dermatologist suggest that not to use too much anti aging cream it can damage your skin tissue and not to use local and not verified cream it can be serious damage to your skin..


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