When it comes to anti-aging products, it’s important to know what active ingredients are really at hand. Here are seven product-oriented ingredients that are truly changing skin today.
What to look for in an anti-aging product
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can be synthesized in an infinite order of different combinations. Fatty ends are added to enhance their penetration into the skin (lipo-peptides). Not all peptides are created equal however. These peptides “signal” or “communicate” with fibroblasts and skin cells and either exert a positive anti-aging influence, no influence at all, or a negative influence!
Various peptides can:
- Stimulate collagen production by dermal fibroblasts
- Down regulate or up regulate fibroblast collagenase production (breaks down collagen)
- Stimulate growth factors
- Stimulate antioxidant enzymes
- Enhance matrix proteins
- Enhance wound healing and cell repair
- Modulate pigmentation
- Provide antimicrobial activity
Technology such as DNA Micro array assay can be used to predetermine the effect on gene expression by various peptides. Unfortunately, some products contain just enough peptides to make label claims for marketing reasons. Some products also have peptides that exert a negative influence by increasing the collagenase production that breaks down collagen.
A valuable high performing peptide can be simulative and proliferative and offer many or all of the antiaging benefits listed above. This translates to more rapid turnover of skincells andhealthier looking skin!
- Mass – Olay Regenerist
- D2C (direct to consumer)- CellCeuticals® CellGenesis Regenerative Skin Treatment/ Avon Anew
- Prestige– Estee Lauder Time Zone
Retinol continues to be a critical benchmark for promoting skin renewal. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that acts on DNA to promote healthy keratinocytes. Administration causes epidermal thickening (dose related), increases production of collagen and elastin, and decreases UV induced collagenase. Retinol is great for photo damaged skin for treatment of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
Recommended anti-aging products with retinol:
- Mass– ROC Retinol Correxion Night Cream
- D2C- CellCeuticals® CellGenesis Regenerative Skin Treatment
- Prestige- Dr. Brandt “A” Cream
Vitamin C is the most plentiful antioxidant in our skin to neutralize free radicals! It is necessary for stimulation and effective cross linking during collagen synthesis. Vitamin C exerts photo protective effects and works synergistically with Vitamin E on cells. Topical Vitamin C improves fine and course wrinkling, improves smoothness, tone, laxity and can lighten hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin E is the predominant antioxidant at the skin barrier (Stratum Corneum). As noted above, Vitamin E works synergistically with Vitamin C to help protect the skin barrier and upper dermis from the oxidative damage from UV exposure. Topical administration of Vitamin E before UV exposure can reduce skin responses such as erythema, edema, and sunburn cell formation.
Recommended anti-aging products with antioxidants:
- Mass– L’Oreal Age Perfect/ Olay Professional
- D2C– CellCeuticals® Extreme Defense Anti-Cell Damage Skin Treatment/ Avon Clinical
- Prestige– Estee Lauder DayWear Plus
Sunscreen is perhaps the most important antiaging product to have. Although modest amounts of UV exposure is healthy and promotes Vitamin D production, too much is detrimental. UV light creates free radicals and depletes our skin of antioxidants.
The skins fibroblasts become chronically injured and decrease the production of collagen and elastin. UV light also stimulates an increase in the production of mmp1 collagenase which breaks down our tissue matrix. This results in skin which is less dense, robust, and elastic, and with more wrinkles and pigmentation! It is critical to find a sunscreen that is protective of UVA and UVB and is photo stable. UVB rays cause short tem sunburn and skin cancer. UVA rays are responsible for wrinkling as well as a playing a role in skin cancer too.
Recommended sunscreen-enhanced anti-aging products:
- Mass– Neutrogena with Helioplex
- D2C (direct to consumer) CellCeuticals® PhotoDefense Anti-PhotoAging Daily Skin Protector SPF 55+ with Photoplex
- Professional- La Roche Possay Anthelios with Mexoryl
Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE)
A connection has been made between glycation and disease and aging. Glycation is an abnormal process of non enzymatic joining of sugars to fats and proteins in our body which advances slowly over a lifetime and influences cellular metabolism. The sugars bind to these proteins such as collagen, elastin, and cell membranes. This creates damage to cellular structures, free radicals, and formation of Advanced Glycation End-products.
This may further contribute to advanced cellular aging and diminished repair capabilities. Some skin care products promote the ability to help protect the skins natural collagen from this.
Recommended Advanced Glycation End-products:
- Prestige– Clinique Youth Surge SPF 15
- Dr. Brandt Lineless Anti-Glycation
Sirtuins are cellular proteins felt to be the prime central regulators of aging. On a cellular level, they promote cell repair and production of protective antioxidants. Some products promote the ability to up regulate or turn on these “longevity genes” which helps to maintain the healthy equilibrium of skin cells.
Recommended products with sirtunins:
- Mass– Avon Anew
- Prestige– Clinique Youth Surge SPF 15
- Lancôme Genifique
Ceramides are cellular fats (lipids) that are found in between skin cells which seal them together. They are critical components of our skin barrier to not only keep pathogens out, but also to keep moisture in. This hydration is necessary to allow cellular turnover and keep our skin healthy and looking vibrant.
As we age and are exposed to the environment, the ceramides levels are reduced which leads to loss of hydration, poorer skin turnover, and dryer more damaged skin. Moisturizers should contain these vital barrier enhancers to maintain healthy skin!
Recommended products with ceramides:
- Mass– CeraVe Moisture Lotion
- D2C-CellCeuticals® CerActive Barrier Repair Skin Treatment
- Prestige– Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Time Capsules