The Anti-Aging Ingredients You Should Look For In Skin Care Products
Ingredients in today’s skin care products include alpha-hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, hydroquinone, retinol, kojic acid, copper peptide and more. Learn their effects on wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and other skin problems.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆’𝘀 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗱𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗻?
There are a lot of skin care products on the market. This article will help you understand the latest ingredients in skin care products that may benefit your skin. If you’re still unsure which skin care products are right for you, ask your dermatologist or consult with a skin expert at your local salon or beauty counter.
𝗔𝗹𝗽𝗵𝗮-𝗵𝘆𝗱𝗿𝗼𝘅𝘆 𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗱𝘀 (𝗔𝗛𝗔𝘀)
Over-the-counter skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids) have become increasingly popular in recent years. Creams and lotions with alpha-hydroxy acids may help with fine lines and wrinkles, irregular pigmentation and age spots, and may help shrink enlarged pores. Side effects of alpha-hydroxy acids include mild irritation and sun sensitivity. To avoid burning, sunscreen should be applied in the morning. To help avoid skin irritation, start with a product with a maximum concentration of 10% to 15% AHA. To allow your skin to get used to alpha-hydroxy acids, you should only initially apply the skin care product every other day, gradually working up to daily application.
These have similar effects to alpha-hydroxy acids but are less likely to cause stinging or burning, so they may be a better option for those with sensitive skin.
𝗕𝗲𝘁𝗮-𝗵𝘆𝗱𝗿𝗼𝘅𝘆 𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗱 (𝘀𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘆𝗹𝗶𝗰 𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗱)
Salicylic acid removes dead skin and can improve the texture and color of sun-damaged skin. It penetrates oil-laden hair follicle openings and, as a result, also helps with acne. There are many skin care products available that contain salicylic acid. Some are available over-the-counter and others need a doctor’s prescription. Studies have shown that salicylic acid is less irritating than skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids, while providing similar improvement in skin texture and color.
Skin care products containing hydroquinone are often called bleaching creams or lightening agents. These skin care products are used to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and dark spots related to pregnancy or hormone therapy (melasma or chloasma). Over-the-counter skin care products such as AMBI®Fade cream contain hydroquinone. Your doctor can also prescribe a cream with a higher concentration of hydroquinone if your skin doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments. Hydroquinone is also sometimes combined with sunscreen because sun exposure causes skin hyperpigmentation. It is best to test hydroquinone-containing products in a small area as some people are allergic to it. If you are allergic to hydroquinones, you may benefit from use of products containing kojic acid instead.
Kojic acid is also is a remedy for the treatment of pigment problems and age spots. Discovered in 1989, kojic acid works similarly to hydroquinone. Kojic acid is derived from a fungus, and studies have shown that it is effective as a lightening agent, slowing production of melanin (brown pigment). With continued use, Kojic acid may make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.
Examples of retinoids include retinol, retinal aldehyde, and retinyl esters. They are used to improve acne and acne scarring, mottled pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, skin tone and color, and your skin’s hydration levels.
Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is found in many over-the-counter “anti-aging” skin care products. Tretinoin, which is the active ingredient in prescription Retin-A® and Renova® creams, is a stronger version of retinol. If your skin is too sensitive to use Retin-A®, over-the-counter retinol is an excellent alternative. Here’s why skin responds to skin care products with retinol: vitamin A has a molecular structure that’s tiny enough to get into the lower layers of skin, where it finds collagen and elastin. Retinol is proven to improve mottled pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, skin tone and color, and your skin’s hydration levels. Retinyl palmitate is another ingredient related to retinol, but is less potent.
𝗟-𝗮𝘀𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗯𝗶𝗰 𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗱 (𝘃𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗖)
This is the only form of vitamin C that you should look for in your skin care products. There are many skin care products on the market today that boast vitamin C derivatives as an ingredient (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate, for example), but L-ascorbic acid is the only useful form of vitamin C in skin care products. With age and sun exposure, collagen synthesis in the skin decreases, leading to wrinkles. Vitamin C is the only antioxidant proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, minimizing fine lines, scars, and wrinkles. . Data suggests that L-ascorbic acid may better the appearance of photodamaged skin. Initial use of vitamin C containing creams can cause stinging or redness, but these side effects generally go away with continued use.
Skin care products containing this substance are often used with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration. Hyaluronic acid (also known as a glycosaminoglycan) is often touted for its ability to “reverse” or stop aging. In news reports, you might have heard of hyaluronic acid as the “key to the fountain of youth.” This is because the substance occurs naturally (and quite abundantly) in humans and animals, and is found in young skin, other tissues, and joint fluid. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the body’s connective tissues, and is known to cushion and lubricate. As you age, however, the forces of nature destroy hyaluronic acid. Diet and smoking can also affect your body’s level of hyaluronic acid over time. Skin care products with hyaluronic acid are most frequently used to treat wrinkled skin and may help with skin hydration and firmness.
Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, even though it’s only been on the market since 1997. Here’s why: Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production, acts as an antioxidant, and promotes production of glycosaminoglycans (think hyaluronic acid, as an example). Studies have also shown that copper-dependent enzymes increase the benefits of the body’s natural tissue-building processes. The substance helps to firm, smooth, and soften skin, doing it in less time than most other anti-aging skin care products. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin’s system responsible for those functions.
You may have heard of alpha-lipoic acid as “the miracle in a jar” for its anti-aging effects. It’s a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage. Alpha-lipoic acid has been referred to as a “universal antioxidant” because it’s soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, gives skin a healthy glow, and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.
If you’ve heard of fish referred to as brain food, you can thank DMAE. This substance is naturally produced in the brain, but DMAE is also present in anchovies, salmon, and sardines. DMAE boosts the production of acetylcholine, which is important for proper mental functions. DMAE in skin care products shows remarkable effects when applied topically to skin, resulting in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
𝗖𝗼𝗲𝗻𝘇𝘆𝗺𝗲 𝗤-𝟭𝟬 (𝗖𝗼𝗤-𝟭𝟬)
Your body naturally makes this antioxidant to zap free radicals in cells. As you age, you make less. That may make skin cells more vulnerable to damage. That’s the reason it’s in skin care products such as toners, gels, and creams, which you can use on their own or with a moisturizer. One study shows that CoQ10 helps reduce “crow’s feet,” the wrinkles around the eyes.
Because of the promising results of clinical research, such as a study published in December 2018 in the International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, peptides are becoming increasingly popular anti-aging skin-care ingredients. Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Most peptide creams are designed to stimulate collagen to improve the appearance of wrinkles, explains Dr. Zeichner. But not all peptide creams are created equal, so you should stick to products that have gone through clinical testing, he notes.
Don’t look for products that contain most or all of these ingredients… they don’t exist. Rather, look for a product that contains one or two of the above ingredients that best target your area of need and stick with it for at least a month. If you’re not seeing the results you hoped for, try another product with a different formulation. If the products are causing irritation or redness that doesn’t go away with regular use, try using them every other day or switch to something different.
There are no absolute best ingredients for everybody, although products containing hyaluronic acid, Retinol and L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) have been widely acknowledged for years for their ability to combat wrinkles and stimulate collagen production.
Some of the relative newcomers on the anti-aging scene have shown very promising results and may provide even better results for you than the old standbys. Everybody’s skin reacts somewhat differently to these popular ingredients so consider trying samples of these ingredients first to see if they agree with your skin before making an investment in a particular product. Don’t look for noticeable skin improvement using samples— it generally takes longer than 3 or 4 days to see results from any of these ingredients. Samples should generally be used only to detect issues with irritation or excessive redness. Longer term use will determine effectiveness in treating your particular need or condition.
Lastly, cost isn’t always the best indicator of quality. For example, 𝗦𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗖𝗲𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗖 𝗘 𝗙𝗲𝗿𝘂𝗹𝗶𝗰 is a universally highly recommended product by dermatologists, and for very good reason— it works, but it comes with a premium cost. Very similar, less expensive products exist that are every bit as good. Do a little research and you can likely save yourself 50% or more with other comparable products.
Source: much of the information contained herein was sourced from the Cleveland Clinic (medically reviewed 10/10/19)
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