How to Read the Ingredients In Your Anti-Aging Beauty Products
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Do anti-aging products actually work or not? Kind of. It’s important to realize that no wrinkle cream or moisturizing lotion can ever totally reverse the natural aging process of your skin. Sure, you can avail of creams with estrogen in them in order to marginally reduce wrinkles.
However, they don’t work on most facial wrinkles because those are usually caused by sun damage. You can also use Botox but that only lasts temporarily. Surgery is more permanent, but costly. With that disclaimer out of the way, there’s something to be said about anti-aging creams and lotions that at the very least moisturize dry skin and help keep wrinkles from worsening.
With that said, here’s how you should go about reading the ingredients at the back of your anti-aging products.
What You Will Need
You’ll need the follow to check the ingredients list of any given product.
- Anti-Aging Products: This typically ranges from soaps to creams to lotions and so forth. This doesn’t include surgical procedures and injections though. These are more over-the-counter (OTC) type of products.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen prevents UV rays from penetrating your skin and drying it out, resulting in wrinkles.
- Peptides: Fragments of proteins made up of amino acids that can serve as the building blocks for collagen and protein.
- Argireline: This is a sort of face relaxant. Relaxing the face prevents the formation of fine lines and deeper wrinkles.
- Retinol: This anti-aging product ingredient gets rid of brown spots, pore infections, and fine lines.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants fight against free radicals that weaken skin and make it more susceptible to drying out and wrinkling.
- Vitamin A, C, and Selenium: These are known as the antioxidant vitamins. Although there are pills and diets available for them, they’re also found in topical anti-aging lotions.
- Coenzyme Q10: This is an antioxidant you’ll regularly see in anti-aging creams and lotions that is a lipid-like agent found in all the body’s cells.
- AHAs and BHAs: These acids are found in chemical peels and in lower doses in certain anti-aging creams to help slough old skin away and let new skin flourish.
- EGF: This agent (available in topical form) is a 6-kDa human protein that has 53 amino acid residues. It reduces fine lines, sagging skin, wrinkling, and inflammation. It can even heal burns and wounds.
Different anti-aging creams have different ingredients and formulations. With that said, here are the things to keep in mind about these supposed anti-aging ingredients and their efficacy.
Reading the Ingredients List
The ingredients list of a given topical OTC anti-aging product (be it a cream or a lotion) is typically listed at the back of the packaging, canister, or tube. If it doesn’t list it down and claims that it’s a super-secret propriety formula (a la Coca-Cola or the seven herbs and spices of KFC) that’s a “trade secret”, then that really should raise your skepticism alarms right there. A self-respecting anti-aging product won’t do that. On the flip side, the Internet can help you find what
Even if the FDA lists all OTC anti-aging products as having zero medical value, they should still be honest with the ingredients they contain for the sake of truthful advertising (and to make sure they’re not just overpriced moisturizers). At any rate, search for the following ingredients outlined below. They more or less offer some sort of reprieve against fine lines and also provide wrinkle prevention (even though if the wrinkles are already there, your best bet is something like Botox or surgery).
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The number one cause of photoaging or accelerated aging among adults is sun exposure and ultraviolet irradiation. This is why if you want to avoid getting prematurely old skin then you should put on sun block or sunscreen lotion. Although reversing the skin aging process is as futile as trying to make spoiled food fresh again, putting on sunscreen can be considered a way of preserving your youth (like a refrigerator keeping fresh milk from spoiling).
This is because limiting your UV exposure with sunscreen can lead to you maintaining your soft, supple skin as long as possible without resorting to Botox injections and facelifts to get rid of your fine lines and deep creases. Sunscreen blocks UV rays from entering the skin, drying it out, and making it less elastic. As for senior citizens with wrinkled skin, the sunscreen can protect their skin from worsening even further even though they can’t undo the wrinkles that already formed.
There are snake oil salesmen out there that claim that topical peptides found in anti-aging lotions and creams can replace surgical cosmetic procedures to stretch skin and reduce looseness. This is false advertising or, as the president would say, fake news. It’s better to keep your expectations realistic than needlessly disappoint yourself into thinking this is cosmetic surgery in a bottle. Peptides do serve as a means to revitalize skin to a certain point.
The idea behind peptides is that they can in their own way help boost production of protein and collagen for your skin so that it can become smoother, suppler, moisturized, and free of fine lines in order to prevent them from becoming deeper wrinkles. The younger you are when you put this ingredient on your face, the better it’ll work since it’s more of a means to make your skin more resilient. The most common peptides you can get from anti-aging products are Matryxil and copper peptides.
Argireline (Acetyle Hexapeptide-3)
This is a common ingredient found in many anti-aging products that’s capable of relaxing the face. The idea behind it is that the more you animatedly move your face, the more fine lines and creases will appear like in the case of a crumpled piece of paper. By taking in a topical ingredient that’s capable of making your skin more relaxed and flexible, you can prevent wear and tear to cause wrinkles to form.
It sounds good on paper, but does this peptide really work? Kind of. Did you know it’s a substrate of Botulinum toxin, which is the same toxin used on Botox injections? So in a sense it is kind of like a low-grade topical version of Botox with similar (temporary) effects in making the skin tighter yet suppler so that it won’t form facial wrinkles like crow’s feet and laugh lines.
Retynil palmitate and other forms of topical retinol (a form of retinoid) are known for their ability to reduce pore size, keep inflammation like zits at bay, and prevent fine lines from forming in various anti-aging product formulations. It even deals with removing brown discoloration of the skin or liver spots formation. Most retinol products worth their salt are of the “prescription only” variety. However, your skin needs to acclimate to them first by using it one daily.
Prior to the acclimatization of your body, beware of side effects like redness, itchiness, and photo sensitivity or sensitivity to sunlight. These dermatologist-approved retinoids can be availed of topically through the right lotions and creams for anti-aging, but you need to check the label and ingredients list to make sure they’re there. The Mayo Clinic says these retinoids are derived from Vitamin A (an important skincare antioxidant) and they’re available commercially as ReTrieve, Retinova, and Retin-A.
Antioxidants allegedly fight the signs of aging by keeping oxidation from happening and preventing the unstable molecules known as free radicals from doing a number on your skin, resulting in saggy, dry, leathery, and wrinkly skin. However, the studies on antioxidant capabilities when it comes to its anti-aging properties remain inconclusive. In short, it’s doubtful that it can really reverse aging.
Nothing on earth so far short of temporary procedures like Botox injections or plastic surgery can make your skin smoother and wrinkle-free after it has already started to showcase its wear and tear. However, the value of antioxidants when it comes to preserving the integrity of your skin so that it doesn’t worsen into an even more wrinkly mess cannot be overstated. This is particularly true of the specific antioxidant examples below.
Vitamin A, C, and Selenium
As noted above, retinol is derived from Vitamin A, which in turn has fine line removal properties. As for Vitamin C, it’s one of the most included ingredients in skincare regimens and rejuvenation products. It assists in skin healing like in the case of EGF. You can use it to regenerate younger and newer skin, especially after getting an acid peel treatment to slough off old skin with AHA and BHA.
While you can easily buy Vitamin C supplements or eat loads of citrus fruits containing the ingredient, in the context of this article you should find topical Vitamin C from your anti-aging cream or lotion. Finally, selenium is another antioxidant available also in pill form but can be availed of in topical creams as part of a propriety formulation or as a standalone active ingredient. It specifically makes Vitamin E more effective in destroying free radicals.
Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)
While not as famous as Vitamin A, C, and even selenium, Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone is still noteworthy ingredient in and of itself. It’s another antioxidant that fights off free radical formation. This time around, it’s more of a lipid-like substance that’s naturally found in all of your body’s cells. It’s needed by your cells to make energy from nutrients and oxygen.
Back in 1958, Dr. Karl Folkers first identified CoQ10 benefits. Later studies show a link between slowed aging and taking in this particular antioxidant. Ubiquinone works by being turned into ubiquinol by the body. It’s suggested that ubiquinol can slow down your aging process, strengthen your cardiovascular health, and have healthier bronchial, gingiva, and optical health. However, this is not drastic and at best topical CoQ10 can maybe reduce fine lines.
AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)
AHAs and BHAs are found in acid chemical peels in order to dissolve the glue holding dead cells together on your skin, resulting in a sloughing process reminiscent of when you get a tan and then your skin starts peeling off. After the peel is over, new skin should come out from under the old one.
However, here’s another disclaimer. To remind you, anti-aging cream success is limited and even with AHAs and BHAs, it’s the same thing. It’s at best a booster of epidermis exfoliation and works best with other ingredients that encourage skin healing and production of new skin. But when skin ages, it tends to be permanent. Also, it has side effects like redness and flaking if the acids just happen to irritate your skin.
EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor)
This is yet another promising agent that even let its discoverers win a Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. Both Stanley Cohen and Rita Levi-Montalcini ended up sharing the prize for learning about EGF, a 6-kDa human protein containing 53 amino acid residues and is available in many, many topical products as part of their formula.
The studies done on EGF suggest that, unlike some other ingredients on this list, it supposedly stimulates the production of collagen and boosts cell renewal. It’s also been claimed to reduce the appearance and occurrence of fine lines, sagging, and wrinkling (although like all other ingredients, it can’t undo deep wrinkles when it’s already there). It can allgedly heal wounds, burns, and inflammation too.
Is this tutorial regarding label and ingredients list checking enjoyable for you? It’s something that’s been compiled based on research on countless anti-aging products and their most common active ingredients. As per usual, the FDA denies medical value or permanent signs of aging reversal from any anti-aging product. However, their value to moisturize and prolong what youthfulness you have left has merit.
As long as you have realistic expectations in regards to the capabilities of these anti-aging creams and active ingredients, you should be able to find a favorable anti-aging cream that can for all intents and purposes preserve your youth and slow down its inevitable wrinkling for as long as possible, before Botox and surgery become your only real options.