UV rays and pollution are the worst.
They don’t just give you wrinkles. They also aggravate breakouts, trigger dark spots, and make literally every skin condition worse.
The best defense? Double defense: sunscreen + Vitamin C serum. I always wear both in the morning to make sure I’m safe from skin damage.
To make things easier for you, Skinceuticals has created the perfect pairing for every skin type:
- Dry skin: CE Ferulic + Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF 50
- Oily skin: Silymarin CF + Oil Shield Defense SPF 50
- Hyperpigmented skin: Phloretin CF + Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50
Since I’ve moved to London, my skin is on the dry side so I got to try a skincare cult: CF Ferulic + Utra Facial UV Defense SPF 50.
Here’s why they MUST go together:
How Do UV Rays And Pollution Cause Premature Aging?
Blame it on free radicals.
Both UV rays and pollution trigger a cascade of free radicals, highly unstable molecules caused by something called “oxidization process”.
Here’s the simple version: a healthy molecule turns into a free radical when it loses one its electrons. Without it, it goes crazy. It must get it back and become whole again.
When it spots a healthy molecule, the free radical attacks it and robs it of its electron. The robbed molecule is now a free radicals. Now, it’s its turn to become a thief.
It’s the beginning of chain reaction that destroys anything in its path, including vital proteins such as collagen and elastin and even cellular DNA.
Related: How Do Antioxidants Work?
Struggling to put together an anti-aging skincare routine that really reduces the look of wrinkles and gives your skin a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
How Can You Protect Your Skin From UV Rays And Pollution?
- Sunscreen: UV rays do most of the damage here. When I say most, I mean it. They’re responsible for up to 90% of premature aging! A good sunscreen blocks between 95% and 97% of them, so they never get to initiate the free radicals cascade in the first place.
- Antioxidant Serum: Antioxidants are free radicals’ #1 enemy. They patrol your body looking for free radicals. When they spot one, they neutralise it before it can cause too much damage. Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid is your best bet. Studies show that, when used together, they double their own sun protection properties and enhance the sun protection of your sunscreen.
Related: How Pollution Damages Skin (And 2 Ways To Fight It)
First Layer Of Defense: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is what I call expensive-but-worth-every-cent. This stuff is pricey, but it DOES work (that’s something you can’t say about most Vitamin C serums on the market *cough cough*).
Its secret? A proven formula:
- 15% L-Ascorbic Acid: The pure form of Vitamin C, it fights free radicals, boosts collagen, and brightens the complexion.
- 1% Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant that also hydrates skin.
- 0.5% Ferulic Acid: An antioxidant on steroids that neutralises three types of free radicals.
Used together, they boost one another effectiveness as well as the sun protection of your sunscreen.
Packaged in a dark bottle with a dropper applicator, the liquid formula sinks quickly into your skin without leaving a greasy residue behind.
It’s fragrance-free, so suitable even for the most sensitive of skin types. The catch? The natural smell of the ingredients isn’t the best, but I don’t mind. I can put up with a bad smell for a minute or so if this stuff works.
And that, it does. The serum adds a welcome burst of hydration to my skin and gives it a subtle glow. If you have dark spots, this will help them fade away faster.
What about its antioxidant properties? The science here is solid, so this baby does help you neutralise free radicals and slow down premature aging.
But, like all antioxidant serums, its action is preventative. You’ll have to wait a few years to realise you’re aging better than your friends!
Related: My Fave Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Dupe
Second Layer Of Defense: Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 is a hybrid.
Why? It uses a mix of mineral (Titanium Dioxide) and new generation of chemical (including Mexoryl) UV filters to provide broad spectrum protection against UV rays.
The creamy texture is much lighter than that of most sunscreens, so you can easily layer it on without turning your face into a greasy, white mess. At least, it doesn’t have that effect on my pale skin. If you’re darker than me, a little bit of a white cast may still show through.
The sunscreen dries down to a shiny finish. Doesn’t bother me, but if you have oily skin, this isn’t the best choice for you.
Instead, it’s a godsend for dry skin. The addition of glycerin, a moisture magnet that attracts and binds water to the skin, makes the formula moisturising. That doesn’t mean you can skip moisturiser, but it does help to keep your skin hydrated for longer.
We didn’t have much of a summer here in London this year, but this sunscreen made me feel safe to go out on the sunniest days. As long as you reapply it, it does provide adequate sun protection.
The grey tube is small and has a pointed tip that prevents too much product coming out all at once (don’t you hate it when that happens?).
Related: 6 Things To Look For When Buying Sunscreen
Price & Availability
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166.00/£145.00): Available at Blue Mercury, Dermstore, Feel Unique, and Look Fantastic
Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 (£41.00): Available at Feel Unique and Look Fantastic
The Bottom Line
A Vitamin C serum + sunscreen is your best defence against sun damage, pollution, and the premature aging they cause. Always use them together!