Glancing at the ingredients list on any anti-aging product is a confusing experience for most of us. The list is long, often written in impossibly small print, and seemingly requires a chemistry PhD to be able to decipher it.
It's worth looking at the label though, even if it can be tough to read. Understanding which ingredients have sound scientific backing for their anti-aging efficacy is essential. If you don't learn the ingredients you need, you could waste a lot of time and money on products that won't work. To try and cut through the fine print, here's a simple guide to three ingredients with anti-aging properties.
Retinol is a beneficial anti-aging ingredient to look out for. It's a natural form of Vitamin A that is often described as the answer to all aging concerns. While beneficial, it's not the complete anti-aging miracle ingredient it's often touted to be.
Once applied to the skin, retinol has to be converted by enzymes to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is actually what will get to work on your fine lines and crow's feet. The rate at which your skin enzymes convert retinol to retinoic acid varies from person to person, so it may take awhile to see results.
While it might not be the miracle, overnight cure it is often claimed to be, the presence of retinol in a skincare product is definitely a positive. You just have to remember to be patient when it comes to waiting for improvement on fine lines and wrinkles.
Usage Guidance: If you're using retinol, you should always wear facial SPF sunscreen during the day; retinol can make skin more photosensitive, so be wary of this.
What Products Should Contain Retinol? Look for retinol in serums and moisturizers. You want to see it in products that are left on your face, not washed away. Overnight creams are the best choice.
You may be more likely to associate vitamin C with the contents of fruit, but research has shown this compound does have a place in your skincare regime.
There are many forms of vitamin C. You can't just take an orange and rub it on your face, hoping to wake up the next day looking 10 years younger. The form of vitamin C that is helpful for anti-aging is called ascorbic acid - so this is what you're going to want to see on the ingredients list. Other forms (such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate) can be beneficial also, but ascorbic acid is the gold standard to aim for.
Ascorbic acid helps to improve skin texture, decrease signs of aging, lighten dark spots and improve overall tone. All of that may sound too good to be true, and there is a price to pay for it. Users often find ascorbic acid formulations gritty in texture or sticky when applied. It's up to you if the potential benefits are worth these minor inconveniences.
Usage Guidance: Ascorbic acid formulations should be applied to clean skin, directly after cleansing. Use products containing this ingredient two to three times per week to begin with, though this can be increased as your skin adapts.
What Products Contain Ascorbic Acid? Primarily serums. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, so while any products containing a high level of water - such as cleansers - may contain ascorbic acid, it's of little benefit. Look for serums and moisturizers instead.
AHA is a broad term that encompasses a number of different compounds which all fall under the umbrella of alpha hydroxy acids. The three names for different AHA forms are:
As well as the benefits for different skin types listed above, all three of these AHAs offer great assistance with anti-aging. They help to lift dead skin cells, encouraging skin repair and revealing brighter, more youthful skin beneath.
Usage Guidance: AHAs can be potent. You should always build your usage up slowly, beginning with one per week and only progressing when you're confident your skin is not going to react.
What Products Contain AHAs? You can find AHAs in two forms. The strongest solutions tend to be found in pads, which you apply to the face. You then wait for around five minutes and wash clean. This method will produce the fastest results. You can also find AHAs as part of a toner, which you use after moisturizing and which can be left on the skin. The toner-based AHAs are still useful, but may take longer to produce visible results than the pads.
In conclusion, while the ingredients lists may be long and arduous to read, they are still worth studying. If anti-aging is your primary concern, then buying a product with one of the aforementioned three compounds will be of great benefit in your efforts to hold back the years.
One of the most important reasons to use vitamin C serum is that it can aid in protecting the skin against the damage created by environmental pollutants and in neutralizing free radicals. As a result, it enhances protection against exposure to UVA and UVB rays, two of Mother Nature's biggest villains.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA rays are able to reach the skin's thickest layer of skin. If the skin is left unprotected, UVA rays can cause premature wrinkling and aging of the skin. They can also lead to the suppression of the body's immune system.