'Sunscreen is the most powerful anti-ageing skincare' — Professor Caitriona Ryan

In 2018, the global skincare market was worth over €121 billion. As beauty halls, pharmacies and savvy social media-driven brands become ever more crowded and complex, Professor Caitriona Ryan, consultant dermatologist, Institute of Dermatologists and Blackrock Clinic, and associate clinical professor, University College Dublin tells how many steps we really need in our routines.

A good skincare routine is incredibly important – in the short-term to produce a glowing complexion, but more importantly, in the long-term to reduce the signs of ageing and photodamage. We all need an individualised regimen, but the basic steps can be used by almost everyone. The cornerstones of good skincare in your twenties are a physical/mineral sunscreen every morning and a retinoid-based product (retinol or tretinoin) at night-time – these help prevent skin ageing, discolouration and produce a radiant, even complexion.

Clinical studies show that up to 80 per cent of an individual’s lifetime UV damage occurs before the age of 18. Sunscreen is the single most powerful anti-ageing skincare product a person can use. I use every opportunity to counsel my teenage patients (and their parents) to commence regular sunscreen use. Apart from the obvious reduction in skin cancer risk, sunscreen prevents premature skin-ageing, blotchy discolouration of the face, and the development of broken veins. Physical sunscreens containing zinc are best – they block UVA more efficiently, which is the major culprit in causing photo ageing and pigmentation, and they are much better for those with rosacea or sensitive skin. For those who suffer from melasma or abnormal pigmentation, a tinted physical sunblock can give additional benefit, as the iron oxide helps to block out the possible effects of visible light. My favourite zinc-containing SPFs are Revision TruPhysical, €68, EltaMD Clear, €59, Image SPF 50, €49.50, and Avene Tinted Mineral Fluid, €17.50. Where possible, a retinoid should be introduced to an anti-ageing skincare regimen from the twenties onward. These vitamin A derivatives increase collagen production and normalise skin cell differentiation with a reduction in fine lines, discolouration, enlarged pores, blackheads and acne.


This article originally appeared in the Volume 1 (January/February) 2020 issue of IMAGE Magazine.

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