Most people aren’t aware yet of most effective anti-aging ingredients available. Unfortunately, most consumers up purchasing a variety of products designed to help their skin look younger without even knowing what the ingredients in the product are used for and what they do for their skin.
The fact is, they should know, because when it comes to something as important as making skin look its very best, each ingredient plays an integral role. And having the right combination of ingredients can make a huge impact on whether the product works or it doesn’t.
This is especially true when it comes to using products that claim to have ingredients with anti-aging properties. After all, what could be more important than ensuring that the ingredients in the product that they’re using play a significant role in making their skin look younger, more radiant, and more beautiful?
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the most effective anti-aging ingredients to know about. That way, when you look at the ingredients label on a product you’ll be able to use it with confidence, knowing that what it contains will benefit your skin.
Before we get into specific ingredients and what they do, it’s important to give just a little background on the skin aging process. It’ll provide good background perspective when you start learning about ingredients and how they help in their anti-aging efforts.
During your 20s and 30s, your skin is taut, radiant, smooth and beautiful. As you get older, you skin starts losing its ability to replenish collagen (that’s what gives your skin its elasticity and firmness), and skin begins to show lines and wrinkles. It also begins sagging due to the loss of elasticity.
But age isn’t he only culprit here. If you want to know what can really play havoc with your skin, just look up. Yes, the sun. Skin damage from UVA and UVB rays can prematurely age your skin, cause wrinkles and lines to form, and can damage the DNA within your skin cells. That’s why it’s critically important to always use sunscreen, as well as products that contain natural sunlight blockers.
Many antioxidants help provide protection and work to reverse collagen degradation, and actually are used to reverse the damage caused by sunburn. Avocado oil is one example of an ingredient that is used to soothe sunburned skin and reduce inflammation.
Just remember that old adage of, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is extremely important when it comes to preventing the sun’s damage to your skin. Always protect your skin from the harmful effects of sunlight by using a sunscreen and wearing hats and clothing that protects your skin from direct exposure to UV radiation.
One of the key theories of skin aging and the basis for many anti-aging products is that skin damage is caused by free radicals. So - what is a free radical? It’s an atom or a group of atoms that have an odd number of electrons, formed when oxygen comes in contact with certain molecules.
The reason they’re dangerous is that they tend to do damage when reacting with different cellular components, like DNA or the cell’s mitochondria. The reaction can cause cells to function poorly, or even die off. This is what causes premature aging, sagging skin, and other harmful effects on the body.
That’s why it’s critical that cosmetic product formulations have antioxidants in order to fight the damage caused by free radicals. But, as you’ll soon understand, antioxidants are only part of the equation.
If a cosmetic product you’re considering doesn’t have ingredients that provide vitamins, put it back on the shelf and move on! Vitamins play a key role in all cosmetic products, as they help the skin in the fight against aging in a variety of ways.
Let’s look at vitamin A. Research has shown that it helps in the fight against decreased cell growth and helps to stimulate collagen in skin that is damaged due to age as well as due to the sun’s light. That’s what makes it a key ingredient in cosmetic products.
Vitamin C, B1, and E are extremely important antioxidants because they are able to fully penetrate the skin due to their small molecular weight. Vitamin C is also well-known to help increase the skin’s density. This is in addition to its ability to help boost the production of collagen.
Note: Make sure that the product you’re using has the stable form of vitamin C that doesn’t degrade quickly. And avoid ascorbic acid (in a vitamin C serum) as it only stays stable in powder form.
Since dry skin looks more wrinkled than highly moisturized skin, you need some help to keep your skin moist. That’s where vitamin E comes into play. It’s moisturizing benefits help skin look more radiant and youthful. It is also helps minimize the appearance of scars. It is also used as an adjunct to help with eczema and psoriasis.
Vitamin B1, or thiamine, also helps with moisturizing and provides a healthy skin appearance, helping to relieve dryness, acne, wrinkles and an uneven complexion. By helping skin retain moisture, vitamin B1 and other B complex vitamins help heal damaged skin. It is also an excellent antioxidant, and has been shown to fight free radical damage as well.
Other B complex vitamins include vitamin B3, which has been shown to boost collagen production, which helps with damaged skin cells. It also helps reduce dark spots on the skin, one of the benchmarks of aging. Vitamin B12 helps reduce inflammation and redness on the skin, and if applied directly may help with psoriasis and eczema.
Vitamin B5 is used to help prevent oil formation on the skin, and as a hydrator helps to keep skin looking healthy and plump. B9, also called folate or folic acid, helps prevent skin cancer. A deficiency in B9 can cause DNA damage to skin cells, which can ultimately lead to melanoma.
Vitamin K is another of the vitamins tied to smoother skin, thanks to the role it plays in helping skin retain its elasticity. It not only helps decrease fine lines, it also helps minimize the dark patches often found in the skin located under the eyes.
Vitamins aren’t used in a vacuum. Instead, they work with complementary ingredients to help boost their effectiveness. Plant-based oils and extracts (that hold many different type of antioxidants) are another main category to look for.
To explain a bit on why antioxidants are important, they help the body prevent free radicals from forming. Amazingly, they also have the ability to help repair damaged skin cells.
While the body does have its own defense mechanisms, external antioxidants applied topically help the body handle oxidative stress - the damage that free radicals to do skin cells.
One of the more potent antioxidants found in cosmetic formulations is green tea. It has many skin healing properties that are found within the chemical makeup of the green tea. It is also high in polyphenols, which are extremely powerful antioxidants that go after free radicals with a vengeance.
While using antioxidants like green tea topically is a key to providing anti-aging effects, it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. That’s why many cosmetic formulations use green tea.
In addition, green tea is loaded with vitamin B2, which is helpful in maintaining the skin’s collagen levels. It also is high in vitamin E, which helps skin appear firmer and more youthful.
Another powerful antioxidant is aloe vera. As an antioxidant, aloe vera has a multitude of active enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and more. That includes the key vitamins of A, C, and E, which help to mitigate the damaging effects of free radicals to skin cells. It’s also packed with B complex vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, and B12.
In addition, aloe vera helps improve collagen production and skin elasticity. This is what helps with wrinkle reduction and provides a more youthful, more radiant skin tone. Aloe vera has been shown to actually help rebuild skin collagen, preventing sagging, wrinkled skin.
It also works to improve damage caused by UV radiation from sunlight. It’s significant healing properties are why it’s used to speed up wound healing.
Many skin care products contain oils, as they have been shown to help restore and improve skin elasticity and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
One of the key oils in use is prickly pear seed oil, which comes from the prickly pear cactus. The cactus produces hundreds of seeds that are placed in a machine, which extracts its oils. It’s expensive because of how many plants are required to generate one liter of the oil, but it offers many benefits for skin.
It has many anti-aging properties, including helping skin regenerate after being damaged by free radicals. It’s an anti-oxidant, but contains many other moisturizing and helpful ingredients that keep skin youthful looking.
These ingredients include vitamin E that stimulates collagen production, essential fatty acids that help to keep skin hydrated, amino acids that are critical for repairing damaged skin, polyphenols that help repair sun damaged skin and many others. The oil is also high in omega 6 and 9 that work together to keep the skin moisturized and the overall complexion radiant.
Another key oil used in quality cosmetic formulations is jojoba oil. It is a natural moisturizer and is perfect for use on the face, as it mimics the skin’s sebum. It doesn’t clog pores, and thanks to its iodine content helps to curb harmful bacteria growth on the skin’s surface.
Another key benefit is its antioxidant properties, helping to boost collagen and elastin in the skin, which is a boost to any anti-aging regimen.
Squalane oil is yet another powerful anti-aging oil. It can be used on all skin types as a moisturizing oil, and leaves skin hydrated, soft, and plump. Several studies in recent years show that squalane penetrates deep into the skin, and is an effective anti-aging component of cosmetic formulations.
It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and works to fight the aging process by battling free radicals while helping to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
No, not the butter you use to spread on toast. We’re talking about exotic butters like mango, shea, cocoa, and mowrah. They all have great hydrating benefits to the skin, and are combined with other ingredients in high-quality cosmetic formulations.
Each one of the butters has unique properties:
Shea butter, for example, is rich in key vitamins like A and E along with fatty acids that help boost the skin’s natural healing ability.
Mango butter is rich in vitamin C and helps with the skin’s collagen production. It also provides moisture and key nutrients to the skin.
Mowrah butter contains fatty acids that give skin its soft feel. It also works to decrease fine lines and wrinkles.
One other moisturizing ingredient to watch for is hyaluronic acid. It is a popular ingredient in cosmetics due to its ability to retain moisture. It’s been called a “super moisturizer” because hyaluronic acid can help retain up to 370% more moisture in the skin, reducing fine lines that occur due to dehydration. The acid has been shown to be a key molecule with regard to skin aging, especially skin damaged by UV radiation.
Certainly, there are many other ingredients that help fight the aging process of skin, and the damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. These include minerals like zinc and magnesium, which play a key role in cellular regeneration.
Calcium is also plays a key role in moisturizing the skin. Too little calcium in the skin’s outer layer can lead to perpetually dry skin. That’s why it’s often used in cosmetic products.
In order to keep your skin looking young, healthy and soft, you need to have a plan in place to fight the impact of aging and environmental forces. The biggest cause of damage to skin is sunlight, so start with a commitment to protect your skin whenever it’s exposed to UV radiation.
Use sunscreen every time you plan to be outdoors. You’d be surprised how much better your skin will look as you get older if you take that one step for protection!
But sunscreen is just the beginning. Develop a regular regimen that incorporates skin care products with the proper ingredients to keep skin hydrated and free from oil and other environmental toxins.
The other part of the equation is using products with antioxidants to help hold off the damaging effects of free radicals - which cause the most damage to the mitochondria within the skin’s DNA. Hopefully this guide to the most effective anti-aging ingredients will help you keep your skin youthful, firm, and radiant.