Top 10 Ingredients to Look for in Anti-Aging Products

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I often encounter patients eager to preserve their youthful appearance and delay the onset of visible skin aging. With a plethora of skincare products available, it can indeed be challenging to discern which contain effective anti-aging components and which are merely cosmetic.

In my career, I have reviewed numerous studies and can affirm that certain ingredients, notably retinol and sunscreen, are supported by robust scientific evidence for their anti-aging benefits.

However, these are not the sole elements to incorporate into a comprehensive skincare regimen designed to maintain skin’s elasticity, firmness, and radiance.

Below, I will outline other vital ingredients endorsed by dermatologists to support your skin’s health over the long term.

10. Exosomes

Exosomes For Skincare

Exosomes are growth factors from stem cells that enhance skin health and rejuvenation, diminishing aging signs. Natalie M. Curcio, M.D., M.P.H., founder of Curcio Dermatology, highlights their emergence in products by Angela Caglia and Dr. Barbara Sturm.

She recommends the ELEVAI enfinity, for twice-daily use. This product uses exosomes from human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells to reduce stubborn pigmentation, redness, fine lines, and wrinkles. It also includes hyaluronic acid, four types of Vitamin C, niacinamide, ceramides, and copper peptides.

9. Vitamin E Reverses Damage and Rejuvenating Skin

Vitamin E Reverses Damage and Rejuvenating Skin

Vitamin E is crucial for protecting skin from damage that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.

It effectively neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals caused by environmental factors like sun exposure, as noted by the Linus Pauling Institute.

“Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant for rejuvenating skin creams and aids in wound healing by strengthening the skin barrier”.

Consequently, pure vitamin E oil is widely used as an affordable treatment for cracked cuticles and scars from cuts, burns, and surgery. Applying vitamins C and E together provides maximum benefits, enhancing collagen preservation and production, based on research reviews.[1]

8. Hydroxy Acids: Exfoliating Dead Cells and Fighting Wrinkles

Hydroxy Acids Exfoliating Dead Cells and Fighting Wrinkles

Hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, are key for exfoliating dead cells from the skin’s surface, as noted by the AAD.

“They have also been proven to stimulate collagen and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles,” states Waqas Muhammad.

Available in various strengths, hydroxy acids are incorporated into peels, serums, and creams. It is essential to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine the most suitable type for your skin needs.

7. Copper is Preventing Sagging and Filling Wrinkles

Copper is Preventing Sagging and Filling Wrinkles

Copper, an essential trace element in skin cells, binds proteins together, supporting collagen formation and preventing sagging and wrinkle formation.

Gadi Borkow’s highlights copper’s role in clearing and renewing damaged collagen, making it beneficial for sun-damaged skin and scar improvement according to his research.[2]

Clinical studies have demonstrated that using copper-infused pillowcases for one to two months can reduce the depth of crow’s-feet lines compared to controls.

Howard I Maibach says Copper is nonirritating, making it a suitable option for those with sensitive skin who might not tolerate retinoids.[3]

6. Green Tea

Green Tea For Skincare

Green tea, derived from an ancient plant, is rich in nutrients that recharge your skin, particularly polyphenols as highlighted in a review in “Nutrients.”[4]

These phytochemicals offer antioxidant properties that prevent and repair oxidative damage, which can break down skin cells.

The stimulant qualities of green tea also provide an energizing effect on aging skin.

For enhanced benefits, incorporate green tea-based creams or serums into your skincare routine and enjoy drinking the brew for its additional health advantages.

5. Coenzyme Q10: Protecting Collagen for Younger-Looking Skin

Coenzyme Q10 Protecting Collagen for Younger-Looking Skin

Coenzyme Q10, also known as vitamin Q, is a potent antioxidant that supports the foundation for younger-looking skin, according to various studies and research.

Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, notes that Coenzyme Q10 helps protect the elastic tissue and collagen that shape your skin.

As age increases, natural levels of coenzyme Q10 decrease, potentially slowing the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and protect itself from damage, as reported by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

To enhance coenzyme Q10 levels, many people find that combining dietary supplements with topical creams offers the best results.

Katja Žmitek says that including a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study funded by a supplement maker, shows that daily supplementation of CoQ10 for 12 weeks can improve the appearance of wrinkles and smooth the skin. [5]

4. B Vitamins Are Essential for Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails

B Vitamins Are Essential for Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails

B vitamins, crucial in various forms and complexes, are integrated into skin-care products to convert food into energy.

This process supports vital body functions that maintain healthy, firm skin.

Patrick Ball says that B vitamins are particularly effective when applied topically in moisturizers. [6]

Their presence in skin-care products accelerates the healing and regeneration of damaged cells, enhancing the natural anti-aging effects.

3. Retinoids and Retinols: Accelerating Cell Turnover for Youthful Skin

Retinoids and Retinols Accelerating Cell Turnover for Youthful Skin

Retinoids and over-the-counter retinols, derivatives of vitamin A like Retin-A, are essential for accelerating cell turnover and boosting collagen production, leading to smoother, younger-looking skin.

Elżbieta Budzisz Retinoids and retinols stimulate cell turnover and collagen production. [7]

These ingredients not only plump wrinkles and fine lines but also help with skin discoloration, lightening small marks and freckles, and enhancing skin texture, as supported by research.

Effects on wrinkles take several weeks or months to manifest, requiring prolonged use.

Additionally, retinoids and retinols can cause dryness and increase sun sensitivity, as noted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

It’s recommended to use these products moderately and pair them with daily sunscreen to mitigate potential side effects.

2. Vitamin C Is Good ForNeutralizing Damage and Lightening Dark Spots

Vitamin C Is Good ForNeutralizing Damage and Lightening Dark Spots

Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, plays a crucial role in neutralizing damage from free radicals and enhances the effectiveness of sunscreen.

Firas Al-Niaimi says that this vitamin also helps regulate pigment production, aiding in the lightening of dark spots. Additionally, vitamin C-rich products help preserve collagen fibers and protect the skin’s supportive structures, as noted in a review. [8]

However, when purchasing a topical vitamin C, it’s important to be aware of its instability; it can quickly lose potency if not properly formulated or if exposed to high temperatures, potentially leading to oxidation and ineffectiveness, as reported by Vichy.

If your vitamin C serum turns amber, it’s a sign of oxidation.

To ensure potency, buy from brands that perform clinical tests and store the product in a controlled environment. Some individuals even use mini-fridges to maintain the integrity of such skincare products, as highlighted by Today.

1. SPF Prevents Skin Cancer and Enhancing Appearance

SPF Prevents Skin Cancer and Enhancing Appearance

Nick Serpone says that broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is crucial not only for preventing skin cancer but also for improving the cosmetic appearance of the face. [9]

He notes that even when used alone, sunscreen can lead to significant improvements.

Leyden, James J. MD revealed that applying sunscreen solely to the face for one year improved various cosmetic measures, including skin tone, texture, and the appearance of wrinkles. [10].

References

  1. Lucy Chen, Judy Y. Hu, Steven Q. Wang, The role of antioxidants in photoprotection: A critical review, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 67, Issue 5, 2012, Pages 1013-1024, ISSN 0190-9622, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2012.02.009. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962212001314).
  2. Borkow G. Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the Skin. Curr Chem Biol. 2014 Aug;8(2):89-102. doi: 10.2174/2212796809666150227223857. PMID: 26361585; PMCID: PMC4556990.
  3. Hostynek JJ, Maibach HI. Skin irritation potential of copper compounds. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2004;14(4):205-13. doi: 10.1080/15376520490446365. PMID: 20021132.
  4. Prasanth MI, Sivamaruthi BS, Chaiyasut C, Tencomnao T. A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy. Nutrients. 2019 Feb 23;11(2):474. doi: 10.3390/nu11020474. PMID: 30813433; PMCID: PMC6412948.
  5. The effect of dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 on skin parameters and condition: Results of a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. https://doi.org/10.1002/biof.1316
  6. Elgharably, Noura & Abadie, Miriam & Abadie, Mohammed & Ball, Patrick & Morrissey, Hana. (2022). Vitamin B group levels and supplementations in dermatology: Review of the literature. Dermatology Reports. 15. 10.4081/dr.2022.9511.
  7. Zasada M, Budzisz E. Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2019 Aug;36(4):392-397. doi: 10.5114/ada.2019.87443. Epub 2019 Aug 30. PMID: 31616211; PMCID: PMC6791161.
  8. Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul;10(7):14-17. Epub 2017 Jul 1. PMID: 29104718; PMCID: PMC5605218.
  9. Serpone N. Sunscreens and their usefulness: have we made any progress in the last two decades? Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2021 Feb;20(2):189-244. doi: 10.1007/s43630-021-00013-1. Epub 2021 Feb 18. PMID: 33721254.
  10. Randhawa, Manpreet PhD*; Wang, Steven MD; Leyden, James J. MD; Cula, Gabriela O. PhD*; Pagnoni, Alessandra MD§; Southall, Michael D. PhD*. Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging. Dermatologic Surgery 42(12):p 1354-1361, December 2016. | DOI: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000879

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