Get a younger, fresher face instantly with these smart skincare swaps for 2021

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Do you feel like hitting refresh on your face for 2021? You can make big changes quickly just by making a few small swaps, according to skin guru Ingeborg van Lotringen.

"The number one rule for getting your skin in brilliant shape is consistency — my new book, Great Skin: Secrets the Skincare Industry Doesn’t Tell You, centres around it," she explains.

"But with skincare technology constantly improving, some products are worth rethinking your tried and trusted routine for."

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Here’s Ingeborg's expert guide on how to upgrade your regime for 2021 and take your glow to new heights.

Swap to a smart anti-ageing acid

We all know that exfoliating AHA acids such as glycolic, lactic and mandelic are a brilliant way to dislodge dead, dulling, roughening skin cells and reveal a softer texture and more even tone.

Problem is, AHAs work SO well they’re soon over-used, either by applying them too frequently or by plumping for the highest acid percentages you can find. The result is irritated, inflamed, dehydrated skin in a state of red-hot panic, and that is always ageing.

So the latest generation of "smart" polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) couldn’t be more welcome. Larger in molecular size than AHAs, they work at a slower, gentler pace, but just as efficiently. Best of all, they come with added hydrating and protective anti-oxidant benefits.

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This is one group of acids (gluconolactone and lactobionic acid being the most prevalent) you can use every day to brighten your skin, without any drawbacks.

Try: Great PHA buys include Medik8 Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA tonic, £25 here, or Alessandra Steinherr x Primark Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads, £5.

Double cleanse in one go

Skin nerds have long been devoted to double cleansing at night: an oil or balm to melt make-up and oil-soluble grime, followed by a gentle, soap-free cleansing foam or gel to lift and rinse away water-soluble skin pollutants.

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It’s still the most comprehensive way to purify your skin, but now some clever-clog brands have combined the two steps into a single product, saving you time without compromising on the mild but thorough cleanse every skin deserves.

Try: CeraVe Hydrating Cream-To-Foam cleanser, £12.50 here and Perricone MD No Makeup Easy Rinse Makeup Removing Cleanser, £32 here, both give skin a gentle but thorough all-clear.

Upgrade your face oil

Face oils are a wonderful, nourishing supplement to your skincare regime, but traditionally they’re not a substitute for potent anti-ageing serums. For those you need active ingredients which are usually water-soluble, meaning they can’t be incorporated into a pure oil base.

Until recently, that is. Skincare labs are churning out new cell-regenerating ingredients that are lipidic, or fat-soluble, clearing the way for oil-based products that can give super-serums a run for their money.

Try: Great buys using fat-soluble technology include Oio Lab Algaemania Protective Facial Oil, £64 here, brightening Garden Of Wisdom C-Deep Vitamin C Serum, £18 here, and soothing Zelens Power D Treatment Drops, £115 here.

Build your barrier

Skin has its own protective barrier, but we tend to unwittingly undermine with everything from harsh cleansing (or not cleansing at all) and a surplus of aggressive acids and retinols, to stress and pollution.

These cause the barrier to spring holes, with inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and eczema as a result.

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But strengthening your skin is really not that hard. Add essential fatty acid-rich plant oils (such as squalene), ceramides (a lipid naturally found in skin) and niacinamide (which helps skin generate its own ceramides). Also look out for skincare with pro- and prebiotics, which encourage a balanced ‘microbiome’ of protective bacteria.

Try: Lots of great new creams combine these star ingredients. Your skin will love Biossance Squalane & Probiotic Gel Moisturiser, £44 here, Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer, £32 here, and La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Crème, £16.50 here.

For more brilliant expert advice, read Great Skin: Secrets the Skincare Industry Doesn’t Tell You by Ingeborg van Lotringen, £12.99.

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