Hardest working anti-aging ingredients

With so many bottles and jars lining the skin care aisle, it can be overwhelming when it comes to actually making a purchase – especially where anti-aging products are concerned. Not to mention the plethora of
ingredients purported to tighten this and smooth out that. With so many options, how do you know what anti-aging skin care product best? To help quell confusion, we got some expert input into what the best anti-aging ingredients are.

Woman applying anti-aging cream

We asked Dr. Paul M. Friedman, board certified dermatologist and director of The Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center in Houston, Texas, to fill us in on the must-have ingredients to look for in anti-aging skin care products. See you later, lines!


Retinol is a fine line fighting powerhouse. This important anti-aging ingredient has been proven to soften fine lines, increase skin turnover and stimulate the production of collagen – all of which lead to firmer, younger-looking skin. When it comes to increasing skin turnover, retinol is an especially big help. Our skin is constantly exfoliating but retinol increases the rate of exfoliation, which brings brighter skin cells to the surface. It’s these new, brighter cells that give skin that smooth look we covet.

Vitamin C

The power-packed nutrient is an antioxidant and protects skin from free radicals. Free radicals wreak havoc on cells by destroying normal proteins, cell membranes and other structures at the cellular level, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and rough texture. “Vitamin C scavenges free radicals,” Friedman explains. Vitamin C and other antioxidants neutralize free radicals rendering them incapable of causing damage. It also plays an important role in collagen synthesis.

Vitamin E

This skin-saving ingredient is found in many skin care products – for good reason. Vitamin E combats skin aging and hyperpigmentation and recent studies show that vitamin E also inhibits inflammation, Friedman says. “Used in combination with vitamin C, these ingredients increase collagen formation and help with the improvement of photo damage.” In addition, clinical studies have shown that vitamins C and E provide significant protection against short-term and long-term UV induced skin damage.

Growth factors

Growth factors exist naturally in the skin and help give skin its structure. As we age, the level of growth factors decrease, which can result in fine lines and wrinkles. “The right combination of growth factors can help improve the skin barrier and hydration, increase skin turn-over and inhibit melanin production which will help with pigment regulation,” Friedman explains. Applying a topical growth factor can also help contour skin and reverse the visible signs of aging.

Zinc or titanium dioxide

Protecting your skin from the sun is extremely important when it comes to maintaining healthy, youthful skin. “These sunscreen ingredients block both UVA and UVB rays, which will protect the skin against sun damage and skin cancer,” Friedman says. Even in the winter, it’s important to make sure you wear sunscreen or that your moisturizer contains adequate sun protection.

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