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  • Published

    August 4, 2021

  • Written by

    Dr Garth Dicker


As well as lifestyle measures that can help slow skin ageing there are other things that can be done as well. As a medical skin clinic 3 more things we consider are topicals that can be applied to the skin, supplements that can be taken and any skin treatments that might help. It needs to be stressed that no one can apply a cream, take a supplement, or have a skin treatment and expect it will reverse the consequences of poor lifestyle choices. The best results in slowing skin ageing are achieved when other measures are used in combination with a healthy lifestyle.


Whilst Cosmetics sit on the surface of the skin, Cosmeceuticals are topical creams or serums with higher concentrations of active ingredients designed to penetrate deeper and improve skin cell function. It is important to appreciate that it is actually very difficult to have products applied to the surface of the skin that penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin to be effective. Cosmeceuticals are usually quite expensive so professional advice is recommended before buying and applying as the choice of formulation and delivery system of these products dictates how effective they can be. Four groups of cosmeceuticals that have been shown to help improve the skin’s appearance and slow the rate of skin ageing are:

  • Vitamin A: There is good evidence that topical vitamin A (Retinoids) can reverse some of the signs of skin ageing and sun damage. Retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production and can also fade age spots and soften rough areas of skin. Remember Vitamin A products come in different forms and strengths. Retinol and Retinaldehyde are available over the counter and the strongest form of Vitamin A is Retinoic acid, and a 0.05% cream requires a medical prescription. Vitamin A is applied at night as it can make your skin sun sensitive, and it takes at least 3-6 months of regular use to see improvements.
  • Vitamin C: Is a strong antioxidant and even high oral intake does not greatly increase skin levels which is why topical Vitamin C is used. Possible benefits include sun protection, anti-ageing and reducing pigmentation. Many available products are ineffective as L-ascorbic acid is the most common form but is unstable when exposed to oxygen. A correctly formulated topical Vitamin C is a costly process, so a cheap Vitamin C serum is probably useless. Optimal concentration depends on formulation but needs to be above 8% to be effective but over 20% has no added benefit and can cause skin irritation. Vitamin C is worth considering if you have significant sun damage as it adds to the sun protective benefit of sunscreens or if pigmentation is a problem and you can’t use other products like Hydroquinone.
  • Vitamin B3: Topical Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) has been found to help in acne but also can have anti-ageing benefits by improving fine lines, pigmentation, and red blotchiness. Vitamin B3 is often added to other products but best anti-ageing results are achieved if using 4-5% strength. It is a good option to consider using for anti-ageing if your skin cannot tolerate topical vitamin A.
  • Hydroxy Acids: These work by exfoliating the outer layer of skin and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) can have anti-ageing effects in treating fine lines and pigmentation. Are sometimes combined with Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA’s).

MESSAGE: Cosmeceuticals can be beneficial combined with Basic Skincare and lifestyle measures. Professional advice is recommended to avoid skin irritation and wasting your money.


There is a lot of misinformation about supplements. Some say they are a waste of time and only result in expensive urine whereas others claim they are needed as modern diets are susceptible to a lack of vitamins and minerals due to factors such as soil depletion. There is a lot of misinformation and unsubstantiated claims around supplements so informed advice is needed. The reality is certain supplements can help, but any benefits from supplements are over the long term rather than in the short term.

  • Multi-Supplement. Whilst there is no specific evidence that a Multivitamin and mineral supplement will help slow skin ageing there is very good evidence that a regular multivitamin-mineral supplement can have significant overall health benefits, particularly in reducing cardiovascular disease. The thing is the benefits only start to be measurable in the long term, that is after 5 years, and only in people who follow other healthy lifestyle principles. For overall health consider a daily high-quality multivitamin/mineral such as Swisse or Blackmores.
  • Vitamin D. If someone is using daily sunscreen and avoiding excess sun exposure to slow skin ageing the flip side is that this can leave them vulnerable to a low Vitamin D level. This is particularly so as you get older as the ability of your body to make Vitamin D reduces with age. Recent findings indicate Vitamin D is not only involved in immune function but also the regulation of ageing including the skin. It is recommended that if you are avoiding sun exposure and especially if you are over 50 you take 1000IU (one tablet) a day and 2 in winter and get your blood level checked in case you need a higher dose.
  • Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) taken as a supplement has been shown to reduce the recurrence of skin cancers by about 25%. If you have had skin cancers it is recommended you take 500mg twice daily. More is not better and intakes over 3g/day will cause side effects like nausea. There is recent research suggesting Vitamin B3 also has anti-ageing effects and can improve energy levels.
  • Antioxidants. Many advocate the use of antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and E, Beta Carotene and Selenium to negate the effects of skin damage from free radicals. The evidence of proven benefits in slowing skin ageing is not that strong and excess amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins A and E and Selenium can cause adverse effects. Antioxidants are all included in a multivitamin/mineral but specific advice should be sought before taking antioxidants at higher doses as specific supplements.
  • Probiotics. There is a growing body of evidence of the benefits of Probiotics in slowing skin ageing through reducing oxidative stress, restoring skin pH, and improving skin barrier function. For more information on Probiotics see
  • Collagen Powder. A 2019 review of current research concluded oral Collagen supplements showed promise in slowing skin ageing by improving skin elasticity and dermal collagen density. Marine sources absorbed better than animal and most studies suggest you need 3-10g per day of a collagen protein powder supplement. Further studies are needed to determine optimal amounts.

MESSAGE: Certain supplements have been shown to have anti-ageing benefits, but it is recommended you seek professional advice as more is not always better.

3.    BBL

There are many skin treatments that can be performed to improve the signs of skin ageing, in particular lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, and redness. At the Collins Cosmetic Clinic, we have a large range of proven dermal treatments, lasers, radiofrequency devices, needling techniques and injectables to help correct age and sun related skin damage. Once the appearance of the skin has been improved it is then worth considering if there is anything that can be done to help maintain the health of your skin.

The answer is YES and the most effective and popular treatment in our clinic to maintain skin health is the BBL. There is well credentialled medical research out of Stanford University in the USA that regular BBL treatments can increase skin elasticity, collagen structure and improve fine wrinkles, pigmentation, and redness. At the cellular level the researchers found improvements in the gene expression profile. Patients having regular BBL treatments have been found to look as much as 10 years younger than their actual age!

MESSAGE: For patients wanting to have a treatment to maintain their skin health and slow skin ageing the BBL is highly recommended.

There are many things claimed to slow skin ageing but not many are supported by scientific evidence. Before wasting your time and money on unproven measures it is highly recommended seeking professional advice. At the Collins Cosmetic Clinic we recommend a skin analysis and consultation with one of our dermal therapists to discuss what actually works and best suits your individual skin, lifestyle and budget.  If you have any questions about anti-ageing skin treatments or would like to make an appointment with one of our dermal therapists feel free to contact our rooms on 03 96545720 or email us on

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