We can’t avoid aging, no matter how hard we try — but with the staggering amount of anti-aging skin care products out there, we may be able to delay it or at least age more gracefully. Mitigation of the effects of aging is indeed possible — it’s enough to look at celebrities to conclude that. However, their routines often involve surgical procedures which may not be an option for everyone. Let’s have a closer look at skincare products, active ingredients that help counter the effects of aging, and whether their efficiency has been proved:
The Goal of Anti-Aging Skin Care
Science now knows enough about our skin to determine what kind of substances would benefit it, and, in theory, delay aging. And as the building block of our skin, as well as muscles, teeth, bones and other connective tissues, collagen is the holy grail of skin care and a structural protein that we should all strive to have more of. As we age, we lose collagen in the skin, causing it to sag and appear more wrinkly. Therefore, skin care products that boost the production of collagen in our skin should be beneficial anti-aging solutions.
However, the efficiency of topical application of collagen is yet to be proven to work, at least to the extent that is advertised on skin care products that contain it. Taking collagen as an oral supplement may work better, according to some findings. However, since that’s outside of the scope of topical skin care products, we’ll focus on other ingredients that are said to have anti-aging benefits.
Antioxidants can often be found in anti-aging moisturizers or other products that claim to protect the skin against inflammation. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and coffee berry are among the antioxidants that are often used in skin care products, and they’re supposed to protect the skin from damage caused by exposure to the sun, smoking, or other types of stress. It creates the formation of free radicals, which speed up the breaking of the skin and loss of elastin and collagen. Antioxidants slow down this process, but they can’t stop or reverse it, which means their effects are more visible over time, especially in comparison to skin that hasn’t experienced the protective benefits of antioxidants. Overall, antioxidants work at maintaining a youthful appearance longer.
Hydroxy acids work on the principle of exfoliation. They include glycolic acids, salicylic acids, as well as alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids. Using hydroxy acids removes the upper layer of dead skin, which allows for new, fresh skin to come through. Hydroxy acids are good at improving the appearance of wrinkles and lines and keeping the skin clean, but they don’t have any protective or anti-aging effects.
Retinal is the most prominent of retinoids, which are all derivatives of Vitamin A. They act directly on the DNA of skin cells and boost the production of collagen and elastin. Retinal especially targets hyperpigmentation and combats the signs of aging. Retinoids can be bought at prescription as well as over-the-counter strength, and are good at improving the texture of the skin, eliminating discoloration and filling out fine wrinkles. They also help the skin retain more water, which helps with maintaining a youthful appearance.
Our skin is most damaged by UV rays, which means that any skin care products we use won’t have the best possible effects without sunscreen. Protection from the sun is critical to skin health and vitality, and it boosts the effectiveness of other skin care products that you routinely use.
Tea extracts may seem unconventional, but it’s their high concentration of polyphenols that make them valuable for the skin. They function similarly to antioxidants, as they decrease inflammation and the formation of free radicals. Polyphenols from tea extracts help prevent the natural damage to the skin that occurs over time, so as a result of using them, the skin texture, tone, and color is improved.
Coenzyme Q10 is an ingredient you can frequently find in many skin care products, and it does play a role in skin protection and revitalization. It has a similar effect to antioxidants, preventing the formation of free radicals, but it’s a vitamin-like substance which is antioxidant-free.
Different types of peptides will impact your skin differently, but these short-chain amino acids can be found in skin care products, boasting specialized functions that benefit the skin. They stimulate the skin healing processes, along with the production of elastin and collagen.
Application and Use
Knowing that any product can cause allergic reactions can be a lifesaver in some cases — and in less severe instances, it can save you from uncomfortable skin rashes and breakouts. Make sure to test every new product before fully applying it on a small patch of skin. Keep in mind that anti-aging skin care products can cause increased sun sensitivity, which is why using them with sunscreen is a must. An example of a combination anti-aging skin care routine would be using antioxidants in the morning along with a sunscreen, and then a retinol-based cream at night.
Keeping Your Goals Realistic
Unfortunately, no miracle cream that can erase the effects of aging and keep our skin firm and fresh has been invented yet. With that said, it’s certainly possible to find a skin care product that will work well for your skin. It will take time and persistence before you notice a difference, and if you start early enough, even skin care products at a lower price point could help alleviate the formation of fine lines and battle the signs of aging.
There are many products to try out in the effort to keep appearing young, but there’s more to skin care than gels, creams, and serums. A stress-free lifestyle, [proper diet, and sun protection can account for just as many benefits as the most expensive skin care products, so keep that in mind as well.
Author: Kirill Vesselov
Kirill Vesslov is our resident writer about health and wellness as well as our pharmacy services.