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Your complete guide to solving your dermatological skin concerns

Your complete guide to solving your dermatological skin concerns
Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert2 months ago
View Hannah Pourhady's profile

When it comes to beauty, you may have noticed the term ‘dermatological’ pop up more frequently. But how do dermatological formulas differ from regular skincare? Put simply, dermatological skincare products are formulas that have been developed, tested or recommended by... you guessed it, expert dermatologists! They’re designed with specific skin concerns in mind, such as dry spots, fine lines, pigmentation and more.

However, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of information online, which can make it difficult to understand which results-driven formula is the right one for you. So, we’re breaking down the facts and revealing the top tips from the experts on how to combat your dermatological skin concerns.

Your guide to solving dermatological skin concerns

Dryness & Flaking

While dry, flaky skin can be a result of many factors, it's also an extremely common concern. Every day, our body naturally sheds thousands of dead skin cells as it renews and replaces them. While the cycle repeats, the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis) produces natural oils that help to hydrate. If the epidermis is damaged, it’s common to see the symptoms of dry, flaky skin.

Jessie Vogel, brand manager for First Aid Beauty, tells us, “There are many factors that can cause dryness and flaking of the skin. Some examples are certain skin conditions, the use of harsh products, changes in temperature or humidity – the list goes on!”

To combat these concerns, try to add as much moisture to dry skin as possible to help support the natural skin barrier. The brand’s bestselling Ultra Repair Cream formula provides 24 hours of hydration, while helping to reduce visible redness and relieve the look and feel of dry, flaky skin. Jessie explains, “[The cream] is formulated with colloidal oatmeal, shea butter and allantoin. It provides immediate relief and visible improvement for parched skin, and is clinically proven to increase hydration immediately upon application.”

No matter what age, Ultra Repair Cream works to leave skin feeling hydrated and calm. Jessie affirms, “Those with mature skin love the formula because of its rich, whipped texture that intensely hydrates, helping skin look more supple!”

Dark Spots & Pigmentation

Pigmentation and dark spots on your complexion are a common occurrence for many as we age, but what causes them?

"Dark spots, aka hyperpigmentation, occur when your skin produces too much melanin (your skin’s pigment), resulting in darker patches in various sizes and shapes,” explains Victoria Evans, education manager at Dermalogica.

“The top causes of hyperpigmentation are exposure to UV light, hormone imbalances (i.e. during pregnancy and high stress levels) and inflammation: when skin is injured or damaged and inflammation occurs, the skin darkens as part of the immune and healing response.”

Our favourite formula for minimising the appearance of dark spots? Dermalogica’s Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum. Formulated with a 3.5% retinoid complex with booster technology, it features multiple retinoids that work at different speeds, helping to transform and unify uneven tone.

The time-released, encapsulated retinol helps to improve the look of dark spots in particular, as vitamin A supports healthy cell turnover. The multi-beneficial serum not only works to improve the look pigmentation, but also offers a smoother skin tone and minimises the appearance of wrinkles.

For the best results, Victoria recommends: “If you are brand new to retinoids, introduce it slowly. It’s important to understand that your skin needs time to build its retinoid receptors within the skin cells, so going too strong, too fast will likely result in dry, irritated skin.”

“[Use] twice a week, a few days apart, for the first 2 weeks. Then, increase to alternate nights for another 2 weeks, building to nightly use.”

Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Speaking of retinol, this little wonder ingredient is also great at fighting signs of ageing – like fine lines and wrinkles!

“It may be surprising to learn that skin ageing begins in our mid-twenties, with skin collagen and elastin synthesis decreasing by 1% each year,” says Tracey Wilmot, international education director for Murad Skincare. “This depletion of collagen and elastin causes the development of wrinkles in the dermis."

In addition, hormonal changes in the years leading up to menopause can also cause signs of ageing to show. “Studies have shown that women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of the menopause. After that, the decline is more gradual,” explains Tracey.

For taking rapid action against early fine lines from forming, we love the Retinol Youth Renewal Serum from Murad. It boasts a firming effect which helps to smoothen and refine skin – but what are the key ingredients that target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles?

"While many retinol formulas rely on a single form of retinol and may take several weeks to deliver results, [this serum] overcomes these traditional drawbacks with our breakthrough Retinol Tri-Active Technology: a fast-acting retinoid that increases cell turnover, a time release retinol, and a retinol booster that increases skins receptivity to retinol.”

Tracey’s top tips for the best results? “Always use an SPF 50 the next day to protect skin from environmental skin damage, pollution and blue light.” She reveals her personal favourite formula to be “City Skin SPF 50, [for] broad spectrum protection, which is a mineral sunscreen and suitable for all skin types even sensitive – great under makeup too!”

Dull, Lacklustre Skin

While we all strive for a luminous, radiant-looking complexion, it may come as a surprise to know that dull skin is a common dermatological skin concern.

“All skin types can experience a dull complexion, and it can often appear as a result of dehydration, the accumulation of dead skin cells, sun damage, and/or other environmental stressors,” explains Daniel Issacs, chief product officer and founding partner at Medik8.

Fortunately, knowing exactly which ingredients work to brighten and visibly improve the look of skin texture and clarity can help you choose the right products – and Daniel is on-hand to teach us just that!

“Proven to act 11 times faster than standard retinol*, retinal is the hero ingredient in [Medik8’s] Crystal Retinal’s formula,” Daniel explains. “This groundbreaking vitamin A molecule works by helping to speed up skin cell renewal to deliver remarkable visible improvements in the texture, brightness, clarity and firmness of the skin.”

Along with hydrating actives like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, the formula is also the perfect glow-giver, supporting that sought-after radiance in our complexion as we age.

*G. Siegenthaler et al., Retinol and retinal metabolism, Biochemical Journal, 1990, 268, pp 371-378.

Uneven Texture

Uneven skin texture can sometimes leave you feeling defeated. However, it’s a natural occurrence and everyone can experience texture, rosiness, blemishes, or pigmentation from time to time.

We spoke to Sarah Chapman herself, brand founder and product formulator, to discover the main causes of uneven texture.

“[Uneven texture] can stem from various factors,” Sarah explains, “including dehydration, damage from excessive sun exposure, common environmental stressors and a lack of proper exfoliation, with dead skin cells building up on the skin’s surface.”

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your routine effortlessly, the iconic Skinesis Overnight Facial is your answer. Especially formulated to nourish and brighten the complexion while you sleep, its key ingredients work to leave the skin looking smoother, with a healthy-looking glow. “I’ve formulated [the serum] to address concerns that lead to uneven skin texture,” says Sarah. “A combination of nourishing and softening botanical oils, peptides, and antioxidants work synergistically to rejuvenate, brighten and hydrate the skin overnight, and powerful vitamin A retinyl palmitate helps to exfoliate and smoothen.”

“Dispense a few drops of Overnight Facial into the palm of your hand and gently massage onto your face and neck using upward, circular motions.”

It’s always nice to turn your routine into a little luxury treatment – and Sarah advises the same: “Take a moment to inhale the soothing aroma and relax as the luxurious oils sink into your skin. This is your opportunity to really focus on massage movements, allowing for a boost in circulation to help plump and repair the skin. Finally, follow with your favourite moisturiser or serum if desired.”

Dryness & Dehydration

It’s very common to experience dry and dehydrated skin, especially as the seasons change. While it may seem obvious that your skin needs an extra boost of moisture, there are key ingredients to look for in skincare that are essential to help rehydrate your complexion.

Arguably the most hydrating ingredient for both skin and hair, hyaluronic acid can carry up to 1000x its weight in water. Naturally produced by our bodies, this wonder ingredient is the ultimate thirst quencher for your complexion, and features in the bestselling Vichy Mineral 89 Serum, a perfect addition to any skincare routine.

“Due to the high quality of this hyaluronic acid serum formulation, Vichy Mineral 89 benefits all skin types but particularly those with dehydrated, or aging skin, by providing intense hydration and plumping effects,” explains Dr Mary Sommerlad, consultant dermatologist for the brand.

“[The serum] uses the Vichy volcanic mineralising waters alongside hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. It effectively locks moisture into the skin leaving it appearing plumper and smoother and therefore more radiant, while supporting the skin barrier.”

Shop all dermatological skincare on LOOKFANTASTIC.

Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert
View Hannah Pourhady's profile
My large family of mainly women has made me passionate about all things beauty from a young age: from routines passed down from my grandmother, to trying the latest products and trends. After training as an MUA at MAC Cosmetics, my love for makeup has now evolved into making sure my skincare creates the perfect canvas for any look. I love anything that can make my base feel fresh & bright while accentuating my features – Bobbi Brown's Face Base is my holy grail at the moment!