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Key ingredients within the best anti-ageing creams

At Waterhouse Young we believe that a consistent skincare routine provides the foundation for healthy skin, and that by choosing the best anti-ageing creams products for you, it is possible to optimise your skin’s health. Since many of the most common skin concerns are related to ageing, it is understandable that anti-ageing products are a priority for many. A good anti-ageing cream will promote rejuvenation whilst protecting the skin and preventing future damage. However not all products offer the same efficacy.

The skincare products we stock at Waterhouse Young are what is known as ‘cosmeceutical,’ which means they are both a cosmetic and a pharmaceutical product. These are highly researched, clinically tested products that contain biologically-active compounds in high concentrations, proven to have a pharmaceutical effect on the skin. These products may look and feel similar to other skincare products, but tend to be of a slightly higher price than many high street skincare lines. However, their results make them a wise investment and over time, their higher concentration of active ingredients usually makes them more economical than cheaper, less effective brands. 

The most important consideration when choosing an anti-ageing cream is to ensure its active ingredients are targeted to treat your specific skin type and concerns. There are several ways in which ageing affects the skin, and to varying degrees. Individuals will have different areas of concern, such as fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity, or hyperpigmentation

Dr Alexa Croffey, Aesthetic Doctor at Waterhouse Young says: “Everyone’s skincare needs are unique and with so many different products out there it can seem a little overwhelming when choosing which products are best for you. At Waterhouse Young we are able to do an in detail assessment of your skin concerns through face to face consultation as well as using our Visia machine to look below the surface. This enables us to tailor a bespoke skincare plan that suits your specific needs and ensure that it fits into your lifestyle too.”

We’ve put together a glossary of the most potent and effective key ingredients to look out for in an anti-ageing cream. By choosing a product with the active components that best suit your skin type and concerns you’ll find the best anti-ageing cream for you, and thus achieve the best outcome.


Perhaps the most talked about anti-ageing ingredient in recent years is retinol, also known as retinoids. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol has been proven in a number of studies to stimulate the growth of new skin cells and collagen production, and improve collagen density. This makes the ingredient very effective in smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, plumping skin to reduce the appearance of sagging, and diminishing scars and pigmentation to generally refine the overall tone of the skin. Furthermore, retinol has been shown to unclog pores to promote a fresher, brighter complexion, and treating inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. This is however a potent ingredient which promotes exfoliation, so it’s important to begin with a suitable concentration with an appropriate formula for your skin type, to avoid adverse effects such as stinging or redness.

Waterhouse Young recommends:

ZO Retinol skin brightener 0.25%

This high potency retinol is specially encapsulated to deliver a targeted, controlled release for maximum brightening and improved skin smoothness. This product also contains a proven skin conditioner to soothe and calm the skin to provide a balanced treatment. 

ZO wrinkle & texture repair

This product features a micro-emulsion formula that enables the rapid release of retinol and penetration right into the deeper layers of the skin. A 12 week study of this product showed a significant improvement in all expert-graded skin attributes, with no significant adverse effects. 98% of participants demonstrated a reduction in the appearance of crow’s feet and facial fine lines by week 12. 

Allskin Med R Restore Cream

This hydrating cream combines two types of retinoids: one which is delivered immediately, and one which is delayed via micro-sponges. This is effective at creating cellular renewal whilst deeply hydrating and protecting the skin.

Growth factors

Growth factors are present throughout the body, and inform our cells how to behave, promoting the repair of damaged skin and the formation of new collagen. As we age, the natural production of these large proteins slows, so the elasticity and firmness in our skin that they provide diminishes. Growth factors were discovered in the 1950s by a developmental biologist and a biochemist, eventually earning them a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, since their characterisation would contribute to the development of new therapeutic agents and improved treatment in various clinical diseases. Growth factors have only recently become a cornerstone ingredient of advanced anti-ageing formulas, but similar to retinol they have shown to promote collagen production to reduce wrinkles and sagging, as well as refining pores to increase luminosity.

Waterhouse Young recommends:

Allskin Med Regenerating Growth Factor Ampoules

This intensive anti-ageing treatment is rich in growth factors with regenerating properties that improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The formula also contains antioxidant ingredients to help protect the skin from environmental damage, and is ideal for stimulating rapid skin recovery following aesthetic treatments, whilst also improving results.

ZO growth factor serum

This lightweight gel strengthens skin and protects against future signs of ageing.The formula contains a combination of plant and enzymatically derived growth factors, clinically proven to restore skin firmness and elasticity, and improve hydration. 93% of participants in a study reported reduction of fine lines and wrinkles after 12 weeks of use. 

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs within the skin, regulating cell growth and hydration, and acting as a cushion for other cells. Playing a crucial role in dermal health, hyaluronic acid is part of what makes our skin smooth and plump when we’re young. However, we are born with only a limited amount of hyaluronic acid in our bodies, and we’re unable to produce more as we age. Thankfully, scientists have been able to extract hyaluronic acid from other sources and recreate it synthetically, to be used in medical and aesthetic treatments. Boasting remarkable hydrating and lubricating properties, hyaluronic acid is a powerful ingredient which deeply rejuvenates the skin. 


Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide, and has become an increasingly popular cosmeceutical ingredient. Although perhaps best known for its ability to reduce enlarged pores and improve uneven skin tone, it also possesses powerful anti-ageing benefits. Niacinamide effectively enhances the skin’s barrier function by increasing the production of proteins such as keratin that are important in the formation and maintenance of the outermost layer of the skin. This helps to protect against future damage and promote radiance and luminosity. 


Peptides, also called polypeptides, are short chains of amino acids that make up proteins such as collagen, elastin and keratin. These proteins are essential to our skin health, responsible for its firmness, texture and tone. The addition of peptides to skincare products can contribute to the stimulation of collagen and therefore the smoothing of wrinkles and improved plumpness, when used alongside ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.


Antioxidants are found in many fruits and vegetables and can help protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. We can deliver antioxidants such as vitamins E and C topically though to really boost our skin’s defences, to protect against environmental factors such as UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke and other chemicals. This can help reduce the future development of lines and wrinkles, as well as hyperpigmentation. 

Stem Cells

Stem cells are the human body’s raw materials, and have the ability to develop into many different cell types, from muscle cells to brain cells. This gives them the potential to stimulate collagen and elastin, which are essential to skin health and promote a more youthful complexion. Some skincare products contain stem cells from plants, which can have similar benefits to peptides, but cannot truly emulate human stem cells. There have however been recent developments using a snail raised on farms in Spain for its mucinous secretions and eggs. The extract is thought to stimulate the skin’s epidermal follicular stem cells that would otherwise lay dormant, only activating during wound healing. The formulation, which includes retinol in addition to the mollusk egg extract, improves skin elasticity and brightness, and reduces hyperpigmentation.

At Waterhouse Young, our team of skincare experts hand select the best-performing products on the market, using the most effective active ingredients, recommending these to you based on your skin type and concerns, to ensure best results. Our skincare products are available as standalone treatments or as part of a wider treatment plan, and all the above products can be ordered from us. Why not book a consultation with us so that we can put together your bespoke skincare plan?

Waterhouse Young is one of London’s first medical aesthetic clinics, founded by renowned cosmetic surgeon, Norman Waterhouse – former President of the BAAPS. Based in the Harley Street medical district, WY contributes regularly to the media, from Vogue, Tatler, Vanity Fair and Elle to The Times. WY’s longstanding team offers advice and  non-surgical treatments to maintain optimum skin and overall health. 

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