Best Anti-Wrinkle Cosmetic Ingredients and How They Work.
A Definitive Guide
Don't Buy Any Cosmetic Product Before Reading This
How many times have you stood in front of a mirror just checking fine lines & wrinkles on your face to see whether new ones popped up?
As you age, those fine lines keep forming together with deeper wrinkles too.
Unfortunately, there is no youth elixir or magic pill that would make us youthful forever and it’s impossible to stop the aging process.
Fight wrinkles & signs of premature aging but embrace aging.
Keep Reading... Good Stuff Ahead!
In Kenya and most of Africa, almost every woman over age 25 has noticeable signs of skin aging.
Most of skin aging signs in early to mid 20's are caused by sun ultraviolet rays, something called photoaging.
At Western Cosmetics, we understand that aging is a normal biological process and cannot be stopped or reversed.
Premature skin aging is not.
We believe that beauty starts from inside - out.
We can reduce wrinkles or premature aging by proper nutrition, science and evidence-based practices that work.
All is Not Lost
Not all is lost, though. A proper strategy can minimize fine lines and wrinkles while delaying the formation of new ones.
This strategy includes healthy lifestyle indicated by a well-balanced diet and regular exercise combined with regular skincare routine.
For maximum effects, it is important to get informed about anti-aging ingredients found in most products; which happens to be the purpose of this post.
Scroll down to see common anti-aging ingredients and learn more about their efficacy.
1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a fatty acid present in mitochondria.
More precisely, ALA is a naturally occurring dithiol (compounds with two thiols i.e. organic chemical substances similar to alcohol) compound synthesized enzymatically in the mitochondrion from octanoic acid.
ALA is absorbed intact from dietary sources and it transiently accumulates in many tissues[i].
Supplementation with ALA can amaze you how better your skin would become, in as little as one month.
Benefits of ALA are numerous including the amazing anti-aging potential.
British Journal of Dermatology published a study which found that regular use of cream with ALA decreased skin roughness by 50.8%.
Twelve weeks of treatment exhibit significant improvement in skin characteristics related to photoaging[ii].
The reason I have put the above line in bold is to remind you that it takes time. There is no magic fast solution unless you want to use dangerous chemicals or plastic surgery.
The anti-aging benefits of ALA stem from its antioxidant potential.
A growing body of evidence confirms that topical application of alpha-lipoic acid potentiates skin antioxidant protection [iii].
A little reminder; antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage which would lead to fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin.
Thanks to its ability to improve cellular energy and function as an antioxidant, ALA relieves inflammation, contributes to a healthy glow, and minimizes the appearance of signs of aging.
Expert Tip: Consider taking ALA orally than topically. The effect on the skin will be the same (or better) plus so many other organ systems will benefit. If you can afford, do both :-)
Ceramides are lipid molecules found naturally in the skin so it comes as no wonder why they are present in anti-aging products too.
These molecules play a crucial role in structuring and maintaining the water permeability barrier function of the skin.
Formulations containing ceramides have the potential to improve disturbed skin conditions[iv].
In other words, ceramides are vital components of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) and they allow your skin to capture and bind water to stay hydrated.
It is a well-known fact that skin dryness speeds up the aging process.
It’s also important to mention that ceramide-containing moisturizers are an effective complementary tool to acne treatment[V].
3.Green Tea Extract
Green tea is considered the healthiest beverage in the world, right after water.
For thousands of years the tea has been used for medicinal purposes, but it is widely included in anti-aging products too.
Green tea is abundant in polyphenols which have an amazing antioxidant potential[vi].
It is the polyphenol content in green tea that makes it so good for your skin.
Both human and animal studies have confirmed that oral and topical use of green tea exhibits significant protective effects against UV-induced skin damage and immunosuppression[vii].
This is particularly important if we bear in mind that sun exposure i.e. UV damage is responsible for 80% of facial wrinkles [viii].
Not only does green tea protect your skin from free radicals, but it can also promote the anti-wrinkling process and increase the moisture capacity of the skin [ix].
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that helps convert food into energy.
The coenzyme is found in almost every cell in the human body and it acts as a powerful antioxidant[x], but it is usually known as a major ingredient in anti-aging creams and other products.
When topically applied, coenzyme Q10 penetrates the skin and is metabolically transformed, exerts antioxidant effects, and supports the maintenance of cellular energy levels[xi].
Expert Advice: It is better to take CoQ10 orally than applying it to the skin. This will give your immunity a boost and also support healthy heart & blood pressure levels while giving you the young looking skin you are looking for.
Thanks to the antioxidant effect, coenzyme Q10 prevents the breakdown of collagen and elastin, thus keeping your skin youthful.
Moreover, the coenzyme inhibits the production of an inflammatory cytokine called IL-6 which stimulates fibroblasts (cells that synthesize collagen) in the dermis to up-regulate MMP (enzymes responsible for degradation of collagen) production.
Due to the ability to inhibit this action, coenzyme Q10 rejuvenates wrinkled skin[xii].
Expert Tip: In the human body, think of collagen as "cement" that holds cells and organs together.
Collagen supplements by mouth will not only give you a young looking skin but also helps in arthritis, back pain, and maintenance of healthy connective tissues.
5. Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid belongs to the group of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and it is considered the holy grail of skin exfoliating.
Derived from cane sugar, glycolic acid has the smallest molecules among AHAs and it is able to penetrate deep into the skin to address numerous concerns affecting the largest organ in your body - YOUR SKIN.
Glycolic acid provides a photoprotective effect yielding an SPF of about 2.4.
When applied to irritated skin, this compound alleviates skin reddening or discoloration.
Plus, glycolic acid like many other anti-wrinkle ingredients acts as an antioxidant [xiii]. .
This type of AHAs elevates collagen production in the fibroblasts[xiv], thus keeping your skin firm and youthful.
Expert Tip: Besides being a potent anti-wrinkle ingredient, the fact that glycolic acid is among the best exfoliators, it makes it a good ingredient for treating acne, acne scars, and black-heads.
6. Hyaluronic Acid
It is rare to find any anti-wrinkle skin product without Hyaluronic acid & Vitamin C.
Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating, clear substance naturally occurring in your body.
It is found in your skin, eye sockets, joints, connective tissue, and other places.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most common ingredients in anti-aging products due to its moisturizing properties.
Expert Tip: Hyaluronic acid supplements (taken orally) helps lubricate joints, relieves joint pain and dry eyes.
The primary mechanism of action of hyaluronic acid is a hydrating skin for supple, nourished appearance [xv].
For better absorption, Japanese scientists reduced the size of the hyaluronic acid molecule.
The new, nano-hyaluronic acid can decrease wrinkle depth by 40%, increase skin hydration by 96%, and improve skin firmness and elasticity by 55% in eight weeks [xvi].
Anti-Wrinkle Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and it’s considered the most popular anti-aging ingredient.
Like many other anti-aging compounds, retinol exhibits antioxidant effects to neutralize free radicals and reduce signs of aging.
Topical application of retinol has anti-inflammatory properties that prove to be effective in the management of psoriasis, wrinkles, and acne.
In addition, this anti-aging ingredient prevents collagen degradation or damage[xv].
Retinol improves fine lines and wrinkles associated with the natural aging process while increasing glycosaminoglycans known for retaining water.
This popular anti-aging ingredient improves collagen production and overall appearance.
Combination of 0.15% retinol, B5, and antioxidants reduced the darkness of brown spots in one study.
Hyperpigmentation or dark patches are quite common as we get older and are usually a result of sun exposure (photoaging).
Glutathione is "The mother of all antioxidants in the world".
Glutathione is a small, low-molecular-weight, water-soluble thiol-tripeptide formed by three amino acids (glutamate, cysteine, and glycine), that plays a prominent role in maintaining intracellular redox (antioxidant) balance.
Extensive research in various specialties has shown that many human diseases are associated with low glutathione levels.
These conditions and causes include emphysema, asthma, allergic disorders, drug toxicity, metabolic disorders, cancer, chemotherapy and human immunodeficiency virus-acquired immune deficiency syndrome, among others.
Small doses of reduced glutathione (500mg daily) help the skin stay younger and healthy.
Higher doses of reduced glutathione can lighten the skin without bleaching (killing of melanin), by limiting the activity of tyrosine, the enzyme that is responsible for the production of dark skin pigment.
Expert Tip: Regardless what your skin concern is, you should consider taking reduced glutathione orally for prevention and treatment of many diseases. Glutathione is the mother of all anti-oxidants.
9. Topical Vitamin C
Vitamin C is well-known for its immune system-boosting properties that fend off viruses and flu, but it does so much more.
There is a reason why this water-soluble micronutrient is in the formula of many anti-aging products – it can help you look youthful.
The skin has a high concentration of vitamin C which suggests it has an important role in its function.
Vitamin C acts as a factor in stabilizing the collagen molecule and it promotes collagen gene expression.
As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C can neutralize and remove oxidants such as those found after UV exposure and environmental pollution.
This property is particularly important in the epidermis which is hit by free radicals the most.
Vitamin C as an antioxidant is most effective when used in conjunction with vitamin E.
Derivates of vitamin C have been shown to decrease melanin synthesis meaning this micronutrient can address and reduce the size of age spots and other hyperpigmented areas, too.
This important vitamin has a significant impact on the prevention of skin aging mainly because a deficiency in vitamin C promotes skin fragility.
Topical application of vitamin C reduces the appearance of wrinkles and prevents the formation of new ones, but it also promotes wound healing and alleviates skin inflammation.
Expert Tip: Most anti-wrinkle cosmetics include vitamin C. Together with vitamin-E oil, these two ingredients form the entry point in the anti-wrinkle world.
Most people can’t imagine starting their day without a nice cup of coffee and although caffeine has been demonized for decades, it has numerous health benefits.
I know... I know... it dehydrates you... I agree!
Caffeine is good for the skin too, which explains why a growing number of anti-aging products include it in their formula.
A growing body of evidence confirms that caffeine has potent antioxidant properties which protect cells against UV radiation.
As a result, caffeine slows down photoaging process.
Topical caffeine can reduce the depth of wrinkles and dark circles while improving the elasticity of the skin, especially when used in combination with other ingredients such as vitamin K.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are naturally occurring or synthetic chemical compounds.
Many of them are derived from natural sugars such as the above-mentioned glycolic acid.
Besides glycolic acid, different types of AHAs include lactic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, malic and mandelic acid, and others (see this article about acid peels).
AHAs are found in creams, serums, and face washes.
They promote collagen production, address photoaging, and treat pigmentary lesions including age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by acne.
AHAs work as exfoliants, through collagen production and minimizing the appearance of dark patches, they rejuvenate damaged skin noticeably[ii].
Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are organic compounds that also function as exfoliants.
BHAs include salicylic acid, benzoic acid, and butyric acid.
These are some of the commonest ingredients in acne treatment products.
Unlike AHAs which are water-soluble, BHAs are lipid-soluble; which is their primary difference.
As a result, BHAs penetrate the skin through sebaceous follicles to exhibit their effects.
They are particularly beneficial for individuals with oily skin, the majority of acne sufferers.
BHAs exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and have a lower irritancy potential than AHAs.
Resveratrol is a natural compound found in red grape skin mainly, but it is also present in blueberries and some other berries.
The compound has a number of health benefits mainly due to a strong antioxidant potential.
Resveratrol down-regulates pathways underlying UVB-ROS induced skin aging, studies show.
These benefits are particularly important if we bear in mind that free radicals up-regulate transcription factor activator protein 1 that work to reduce collagen content in the skin and contribute to wrinkling.
Resveratrol works synergistically with other antioxidants to prevent these unwanted effects and, thereby, support anti-aging efforts.
Expert Tip: Resveratrol supplements taken orally helps in arthritis and joint pain
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble micronutrient and a widely used ingredient in anti-aging and cosmetic products.
Benefits of this vitamin are numerous including its antioxidant effects and the ability to prevent sunburn cell formation, UV lipid peroxidation, and prevention of skin cancer.
Evidence shows that its ability to tackle oxidative stress also helps delay skin aging, particularly in cases when aging is induced by exposure to sun’s harmful UV rays.
Expert Tip: If you are new to this world of anti-wrinkles, Start with Vitamin-E oil & Vitamin C serum. Include oral Glutathione. Take photos of before and after (30 days) and see the difference.
Skin aging is an inevitable process, but there is a lot we can do to slow it down.
The use of anti-aging products is a great way to minimize the appearance of signs of aging, but it is always important to learn more about the ingredients they contain.
This article provided in-depth and evidence-based info about the role of the most widely used anti-aging ingredients.
Also, know which anti-aging supplements you should be taking alongside these cosmetics for faster, better and longer lasting anti-aging results.
Which of these ingredients are you willing to try, or you have already tried and what were your results.