Skincare Spotlight: Proven Antiaging Ingredients

Discover the top powerhouse ingredients that help reduce the signs of aging.

Antiaging. What does it mean? Many argue that we should banish the term altogether. Yet, the word is still often used in marketing, and consumers are drawn to skincare products meant for achieving more youthful-looking skin.

Let’s first define what skin aging is. There are two types: intrinsic (genetic) and extrinsic (environmental). No topical product can prevent genetic aging; it’s written in our genes and a part of life. All topical products help reverse the effects of environmental aging–the type of aging that we can control, prevent and treat. This type is caused by free radicals from the sun and pollution, which result in accelerated inflammation. Let’s take a look at today’s top antiaging ingredients that will help your customers slow down accelerated environmental aging.

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative and a precursor for the synthesis of retinal and retinoic acid. Retinol decreases fine lines and wrinkles by decreasing the activity of enzymes that break down collagen and increasing glycosaminoglycan and collagen synthesis. An increase in glycosaminoglycan synthesis contributes to enhanced firmness of the skin. Retinol also works on pigmentation irregularities and decreases hyperpigmentation, contributing to a more even complexion. Finally, retinol accelerates cellular turnover, which in turn decreases skin roughness.

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There are two challenges when using retinol. The first is its tendency to induce skin irritation, such as flaking, dryness, sensitivity and redness. Your customers can control the irritation to an extent with appropriate formulations (think time-release technology and encapsulation) or through the addition of anti-inflammatory ingredients to counteract retinol’s side effects–such as hydrators, antioxidants and soothing ingredients. The second issue is retinol’s instability, in particular the molecule’s sensitivity to oxygen and light. Products offering airless packaging will help maintain the stability and efficacy of a retinol-based topical product. It should also be noted that retinol-based products should be incorporated into one’s skincare routine for customers in their mid-30s, and not any younger. This is a corrective ingredient rather than a preventative one.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that, upon exposure to tissue-specific biochemical signals, turn into specialized cells. These cells play a significant role in tissue development and regeneration. Specifically, plants are an extremely interesting source of stem cells (versus animal or human stem cells), and products containing plant stem cells restore the quality of the skin and have significant regenerative properties.

Vitamin C is a family of compounds known for being super antioxidants. Some of the most commonly used forms of vitamin C in skin care are ascorbic acid, ascorbyl phosphate (as magnesium and sodium salts) and other ascorbate derivatives. The main challenge with vitamin C compounds, in general, is their stability (or oxygen sensitivity), particularly with ascorbic acid. Look for the most stable types of vitamin C, which are: magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl glucoside and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate.

Vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals by donating an electron to these unstable molecules, leading to the formation of the more stable ascorbate free radical. In other words, vitamin C neutralizes some of the most nefarious free radicals, including the hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion. Vitamin C plays an essential role in the formation of collagen and is known to inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the formation of melanin. So, vitamin C helps prevent brown spots.

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Scientific studies have also proven that vitamin C helps prevent sun-induced redness. One study showed that a pretreatment containing vitamin C resulted in a 40 percent reduction of sunburned cells and a 52 percent reduction in redness compared to non-treated skin.

Generally, your clients want to increase their skin’s water content to stay hydrated, improve the skin’s smoothness and decrease symptoms of itching, stinging and burning. The water content of the skin can be improved by delaying transepidermal water loss while increasing the flow of water from the dermis to the epidermis. Hyaluronic acid plays a key role in the hydration of the skin because it is a humectant–it is necessary to bind water molecules to the skin and helps the skin retain moisture, resulting in increased hydration and elasticity.

Peptides are short polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bonds, and are the building blocks of collagen. There are hundreds of peptides, composed of various combinations of amino acids. One popular peptide used in skincare formulations, for example, is palmitoyl pentapeptide. Peptides have been shown to help strengthen and enhance the skin’s natural proteins, which include collagen, elastin and keratin.

When educating customers on the pros and cons of the ingredients discussed above, it is essential to remind them that antiaging skin care should be both preventative and corrective. A healthy skincare routine should start during one’s teenage years. Antiaging ingredients should make their appearance by the time one is in their mid- to late-20s (with retinol being an exception to this rule). And, of course, no antiaging skincare routine is complete without daily SPF protection–20 or above for normal wear and 50 or above for beach days.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge about these top antiaging ingredients, recommending an effective beauty regimen for youthful, hydrated skin is well within reach.