If there’s one expert on skin care, it’s Emma Hobson, Education Manager at the International Dermal Institute. We chat with Emma on which skin care and beauty products she can’t live without, how to really cleanse and moisturise your skin, and what the best anti-ageing ingredients out there are.

Which 3 skin care products can’t you live without?

I can’t live without age reversal eye complex. This is an awesome, eye care saver containing highly active cosmeceutical product containing retinol and ARG-LYS Poleptide , stabalized Vitamin C, Niacinamide and a UGL complex. Which reverses the multiple signs of ageing around my eye area (fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles and dehydration).

I simply can’t live without is Power Rich™ ; this is the ultimate multi-functional product that packs an incredible punch of Dermalogica cosmeceutical active ingredients to address my ageing skin needs. It’s the ultimate restructuring cream, and one of Dermalogica’s premium super performers.

C-12 Concentrate is my third can’t-live-without product. After way to many years in the sun when I was younger, I suffer from hyperpigmentation on my neck and face. Since skin discolouration/uneven skin tone is the number 1 sign of premature ageing on the skin I need to ensure I keep my pigmentation at bay.  C-12 Concentrate does this,  it’s a high potency treatment  containing a proprietary peptide called Oligopeptide-34, Zinc Glycinate, Phytic Acid, and various botanicals and mineral amino acids that all targeting the pigmentation. This product keeps my skin looking luminous and improves its clarity.

And which 3 makeup products can’t you live without?

1. My Lancôme Dolls Eye Mascara- just the best for defining my lashes, creating length without clogging or smearing.

2. My MAC eye shadows, I have way too many, the ease of application, the variety and depth of colour they offer and the colour lasts all day.

3. Dermalogica’s skinperfect primer SPF30, this provides a great canvas for my foundation making it easy to apply, I need less foundation which lasts day to night on my skin. It heightens and improves the colour of the foundation I am wearing, it has an SPF30 to help protect my skin, AND since it is a skin care product too it is packed full of cosmeceutical age fighting ingredients.

What are your best tips for cleansing and moisturising your skin?

To get a really squeaky clean skin I would recommend the use of a pre-cleanse oil. Cleansing oils are a fantastic new type of product that you use ideally for your first cleanse, they deliver a level of cleansing traditionally experienced in the professional treatment room. They work on the principle that like attracts like. The oil in the product attracts the oil as well as the dirt, make-up and debris on the skin surface. These are simply massaged into the skin with light fingertips. They help liquefy sebum without stripping the skin or compromising the barrier function. Therefore, when you wash off the cleansing oil you will thoroughly wash away all the dirt, surface oil and debris. This ensures your second cleanse with your normal cleanser, really cleans the skin so it is squeaky clean.

The great thing about these types of product is that they are excellent at removing sun screens off the skin surface. A sun screen can often sit on the skin and result in skin congestion or sensitivity. They are also fantastic at removing waterproof mascara and long-wearing lipstick.

One of the secrets to effective cleansing, is to cleanse the skin twice (morning and evening),that’s right double cleanse!

You follow the pre cleanse oil with a good cleanser which needs to match your skin type for your second cleanse. If you have oily skin, you need a cleanser with a stronger surfactant (degreasing agent) and one that does not strip the skin of oils (i.e. soap or products containing S.D alcohol) these normally come in the form of clay based cleanser or a gel facial wash. Equally if you have an oil dry skin you will need to use a milder cleanser with less surfactant, they often come in the form of a milky/ creamy cleanser. For a combination skin the cleanser sits in the middle of the cleansing spectrum (re surfactant) and can be a light milky cleanser or a gel facial wash. If you have a some sensitivity, choose a cleanser ensuring it has no know skin irritants (free from artificial colours and fragrance) and has calming and soothing ingredients. If you have a very traumatised/sensitised skin choose a cleanser that normally states ‘for environmentally sensitised skin’. These come in milky/creamy formulas or cleansing gels.

There is no need to change your cleanser during the seasons as your skin type does not change winter to summer, what does change is your skin condition, being perhaps more sensitive and dehydrated. If your skin is environmentally sensitised (disregarding your skin type) you may want to choose a cleanser specifically for this skin condition. These cleansers are formulated to be gentle and help repair the barrier function of the skin. And are great for people who are so sensitised they can’t even tolerate water on their skin, as they can be completely removed with soft  tissues instead.

You will notice if you have chosen the incorrect cleanser as you will not be getting the results you should expect such as clearing the skin from congestion,  helping prevent breakouts form reoccurring. You may find it has to strong a degreasing agent and the skin becomes dehydrated or your skin can become sensitised to the cleanser.

The correct cleansing routine would be to firstly ensure you have your hair back from the perimeters of your face, this will enable you to clean the often neglected hair line and around the ears. Then apply the correct amount of product (check product instructions) to the skin with clean hands. With a facial brush or your fingers work the cleanser into your skin in light circular motions from top to bottom or vice versa. Pay special attention to the areas where you have congestion such as the nose, forehead, neck or chin.  Ensure you take your cleanser right up to your hair line and around to the back of your ears and under your jaw line and down the neck as these are common areas for congestion, often due to poor cleansing. It should take about one minute to cleanse your skin; research at the International Dermal Institute found that most people spend less than 10 seconds on cleansing!  It is essential to use  the correct amount of product , and if it is a gel to mix it with sufficient water otherwise the gel remains too concentrated and can result in irritation, dehydration or poor results.  Most cleansers these days can be used in the shower as they are easily washed off.  There are some cleansers which have been developed for environmentally sensitised skin, these are for people who can’t tolerate water on their skin so they can be completely removed with tissues instead.

For your moisturiser, ideally this will be applied over your toner. By applying a hydrating spritz toner it will boost the hydration levels of the skin and prevents dry skin patches (which soak up heaps of moisturiser) you will then only need about half the quantity of moisturiser than if you hadn’t spritzed, that would need about the size of a pea. If your moisturiser is also your sun protection you will need to apply about half a teaspoon for the SPF to be effective.

To combat dry skin think  PROTECTION, HYDRATION AND MOISTURISATION. Choose a moisturiser with lots of hydrating and soothing ingredients and one that acts as a protectant (may contain silicones that form a protective barrier over the skin),there are many ranges now that have products designed specifically for harsh/extreme weather conditions. You may want to choose a moisturiser with a slightly higher oil content but note ‘only slightly’ if you feel your skin is more flaky, dry and dehydrated. If the skin is oil dry, then it needs additional nourishment which can be easily found in a good moisturiser.

It is no longer necessary to use a ‘thick, greasy’ moisturiser as there are now such fantastic ingredients and formulations available that can be really effective without being too heavy or sticky on the skin. Look for moisturisers that contain a complex of vitamins A,C,E, Panthenol (B5), as well as essential fatty acids found in many vegetable oils such as Evening Primrose oil Borage Seed oil, Shea butter, Jojoba oil,  a great ingredient to combat dry skin is Betaglucan derived from Oates. It is important not confuse (as so many people do) a dry skin (skin lacking oil) with that of dehydration (a skin lacking moisture). If your skin feels dry solely from dehydration, you will need a lightweight moisture rich, moisturiser which may have little to no oil content.

What are some of the key ingredients we should be looking for in skincare products as we get older?

  • Arginine/Lysine Polypeptide: A peptide that acts as a sugar trap, binding free sugar that would react with proteins to form AGEs.  Provides an anti-glycation effect
  • Palmitoyl Pentapeptide & Olgiopentapeptide:  for deeper fortification of collagen structure. They stimulates collagen & works similarly to retinol & vitamin C.  Helps skin re-structure the extracellular matrix
  • Glucosamine HCl : Helps stimulate collagen production, fights AGEs, inhibits melanin formation, inhibits MMPs, stimulates Hyaluronic Acid, defends against ROS and inhibits AGE formation
  • Glycine Soya Protein (Soy)
  • Genestein
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate being a non-acidic, stable form of Vitamin C that stimulates collagen formation in the skin while providing antioxidant protection, inhibiting melanin formation and inhibiting MMP enzymes that contribute to collagen degradation.
  • Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract protects against Reactive Oxygen Species (free radicals), fights the formation of AGEs in skin and inhibits MMPs.
  • Vitamin A, E and Beta Glucan
  • Hyaluronic Acid & Cross Linked Hyaluronic Acid provides intense skin hydration.
  • Yeast Extract helps stimulate wound healing, collagen formation and increases oxygen utilisation in skin.

What’s your favourite Dermalogica product and why do you love it so much?

My favourite of the three above would have to be…ohhh this is very hard……Power Rich. It is such an amazing multi-functional skin performer, the results I get from it are fabulous especially as I am so concerned with trying to inhibit the ageing process!

What are your can’t-live-without skin care products? Tell us in the comments below!