3 key skincare products backed by science
Last updated on 20 Jun, 2021

There are thousands of skincare products on the market. Knowing which ones have genuine, scientifically proven benefits is incredibly difficult without doing proper research. They all claim to achieve similar results.

However, there are a few products that are most effective, and most proven to have a positive impact on your skin.

These are the 3 most studied skin care interventions and the wealth of positive data is overwhelming.⁠

My 3 key products for your skincare regime:⁠

✅ Sunscreen⁠

✅ Retinoids⁠

✅ Antioxidants⁠

I have researched all of these products and spend a lot of time speaking, presenting and researching about scientifically proven skincare products.


The first of my 3 key skincare products backed by science is sunscreen ☀️⁠

🧬 First, some sun science: ⁠

Ultra-violet radiation (UVR) is the skin-damaging wavelength of sunlight.⁠

The two types we need to be concerned with are UVA and UVB:

Over-exposure to UVB causes sunburn. 🥵⁠

Repeated sunburn is highly associated with skin malignancies (related to direct DNA damage and the subsequent formation of carcinogenic agents within the skin).⁠

UVA wavelengths are longer and penetrate deeper. They cause both direct and indirect DNA damage through the generation of reactive oxygen species (tune in to our future post on Friday about antioxidants).⁠

Chronic exposure to UVR, over time, causes photo-ageing. 👵🏻⁠

Avoiding sun-exposure, seeking shade and wearing sun-protective clothing are the best ways to prevent sun related dyspigmentation, photo-ageing and skin malignancies.⁠

This is not always practical, especially for sun-exposed areas (e.g. the face). The single most important intervention that we can take is the application of adequate sunscreen.⁠

🧴 Sunscreen contains active ingredients in creams and lotions intended to protect skin from the sun. It should be applied before sun exposure (>20 mins) and reapplied regularly.⁠

We know that most people don’t apply enough to achieve the protection promised by the label (usually < half).⁠

⚠️ The biggest determinant of the success of a sunscreen is the way it is used. ⁠

There are three very important aspects of sunscreen labelling that you should be aware of: ⁠

➡️ SPF – the ability to protect against UVR. Should be at least 30⁠

➡️ Spectrum Protection – only broad spectrum protects against both UVA and UVB⁠

➡️ Water Resistance – efficacy is affected by activity, perspiration and swimming.⁠

Sunscreens can be chemical (absorb UVR and re-emit as heat) or physical (scatter and reflect UVR with some semi-conductor ability). ⁠

👩🏼‍⚕️ I usually recommend a physical sunscreen. Check the ingredient list for zinc & titanium.⁠


Everyone who comes to see me knows about my obsession with retinoids.⁠

The retinoid category describes vitamin A and its derivatives.⁠

These compounds are naturally occurring, but good quality synthetic versions have been developed. ⁠

First prescribed almost 50 years ago to treat acne, dermatologists soon noticed that treated patients were exhibiting brighter, smoother, less lined skin.⁠

In my practice, patients are usually offered 2 options…⁠

1. Over-the-counter retinol: This can be bought without a prescription. It is great for younger skin or as an entry point to the world of retinoids.⁠

2. Prescription Retinoic Acid: This is 20 times more effective than OTC Retinol.⁠

The bottom line is that this group of agents has more evidence of skin benefits (along with sunscreen) than any other intervention ⁠

I love Retinoids because they…⁠

💛 Increase collagen synthesis⁠

💜 Inhibit breakdown of existing collagen⁠

💙 Normalize elastic tissue⁠

💚 Increase cell turnover⁠

❤️ Encourage shedding of dead skin cells⁠

🧡 Improve blood flow to the skin⁠

🖤 Decrease melanin content⁠

You will love Retinoids because…⁠

💛 Your coarse wrinkling will improve⁠

💜 Your skin will be smoother & less rough⁠

💙 Skin discolouration will improve and become more even⁠

💚 Your complexion and radiance will improve⁠

❤️ If you suffer from acne breakouts, it is the treatment of choice⁠

🧡 You will protect your skin from future damage⁠

⚠️ ⁠


🍋 It’s time for Antioxidants!⁠

First, what actually causes us to age?⁠

The free radical theory of ageing proposes that ageing is caused by years of oxidative damage to the cells and tissues of the body.⁠

Unstable molecules produced within our bodies, called free radicals, cause this damage. 😱⁠

Free radicals are formed naturally during normal cellular functions, but our innate free radical defences diminish with age. ⁠

Importantly, there are also external factors that contribute to increased free radical production:⁠

☀️ Ultra-violet radiation⁠

💨 Air pollution⁠

🚬 Smoking⁠

🍷 Alcohol use⁠

😩 Stress⁠

💊 Drugs⁠

🍔 Diet⁠

Increased free radical production, results in excess oxidative damage and contributes to the ageing process.⁠

🤗 Antioxidants protect cells from free radicals!⁠

So, if we want to manage the visible signs of ageing, antioxidants will help to repair existing damage and reduce future insult.⁠

When choosing antioxidant products, it’s important to be able to evaluate the ingredients. ⁠

We need to be wary of the difference between marketing speak and genuine, clinically proven benefits.⁠

I’ll be going into specific antioxidants in future posts, but for now, the key factors of an effective skincare antioxidant product are:⁠

👉 Must be able to penetrate the skin⁠

👉 Must be in high enough concentration to have a positive effect on the cells⁠

👉 Must have been proven effective in published, peer-reviewed clinical trials.⁠

So when you’re considering antioxidant products for your skin, do your homework, or better yet, let me do it for you! ⁠

Still unsure? Get a bespoke skincare consultation

If you’re interested in specific skincare advice and would like a bespoke skincare routine put together, you might consider booking an initial consultation with me.

After an in-depth consultation, Dr Gribbin can put together a personalised skincare regime to help your skin look its very best.

Bespoke skincare approaches can also be used to treat specific conditions, such as rosacea and acne.

You can get in touch here.

Written by Charlotte Gribbin

Dr Charlotte Gribbin is an award-winning aesthetic & regenerative medicine physician. Dr Gribbin offers a wide range of bespoke, minimally-invasive aesthetic treatments that patients can feel confident are safe, subtle and right for them. She is dedicated to researching the best available medical evidence, honing the range of cosmetic treatments she offers, and taking time to understand who her patients are and how they want to feel.