These tried and tested ingredients help you maintain a youthful complexion, writes Deepa Desa
The skincare industry reminds me of a chocolate factory. Trendy new variants and ingredients come and go at a rapid-fire pace. The Koreans still swear by snail’s mucus and one look at their porcelain complexion may reveal there’s truth and magic in that snail serum! Some companies touted breast milk for a youthful glow – really!! And while these newbies may garner a trend and temporary attention; when it comes to getting the results, the tried and tested ingredients are what always works best.
Here are my top pick of ingredients (in no particular order); to give your skin a youth boost:
The outermost layer of your skin is known as the skin barrier, and its primary role is keeping the good stuff (hydration) in and all the bad stuff (irritants) out. Ceramides are lipids that keep this barrier strong and healthy, sealing moisture into the skin. In terms of anti-aging, the more hydrated your skin is, the more youthful it will look. Because ceramides are great for helping keep irritants out, they are also a good ingredient to seek out if you’re prone to eczema. And since ceramides have basically no drawbacks, they’re an effective ingredient for any skin type. La Roche- Posay does a good cleanser, moisturiser and Elizabeth Arden Advance Ceramide Capsules are very effective. Ceramide skincare is on the steep side of the price scale.
Collagen is one of the most important proteins in your skin, and it together with elastin gives strength and firmness to the skin – like the spring underneath a mattress. Our natural collagen production slows down as we age, and adding insult to injury, all kinds of external factors (sun exposure, pollution, toxins) also contribute less strong skin. One of the best ways to stimulate collagen production is by using Vitamin C serums (Cipla does a C serum and Dr Reddy does Vitamin C ampoules, The Face Shop- Pomegranate and Collagen Volume Lifting Serum is also a good buy).
You may also have seen lots of ingestible collagen lately; various pills and powders have flooded the market, touting all kinds of skin, hair, and nail benefits. Keep in mind its difficult for oral collagen to make it to the level in the skin where it would make a visible or structural difference.
AHAs or Alpha-Hydroxy Acids xcv
Part of a group of acids known as alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid is distinct in having the smallest molecular size, so it can penetrate deepest into the skin. It features the traditional and most effective exfoliating benefits of any AHA, gently dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells to improve skin texture, tone, and pore size. It boosts levels of both collagen and elastin in the skin helping to ward off wrinkles. The caveat? Glycolic acid can be irritating for some people, especially those with super sensitive skin or when used in high concentrations.
Lactic acid is another type of AHA, this is usually derived from milk and is gentler and less irritating than glycolic acid. Plus, unlike many other exfoliating ingredients, which can be drying if not used properly, lactic acid has been shown to increase the natural moisturizing factors in the skin.
Just keep in mind that any AHA will make your skin more sensitive to the sun so you want to be extra diligent and on top of your sunscreen game when AHA’s are a part of your anti-aging arsenal.
To help avoid skin irritation with alpha-hydroxy acids, its best to start with a product with low concentrations of AHA. Also, give your skin a chance to get used to the product. Start out by applying AHA skin products every other day, gradually working up to a daily application. Don’t use too much and follow the instructions on the package. Its best to ask your dermatologist or skincare advisor before using AHA’s.
A fan favourite in the hydrating ingredient world, hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge, drawing water to and then trapping it in the skin.
Your body makes hyaluronic acid naturally, keeping tissues cushioned and lubricated. It’s found in skin, joint fluid, and connective tissues. Age, smoking, and an unhealthy diet can cause you to make less of it over time.
Products that have hyaluronic acid may help smooth out skin. They work especially well when you use them with Vitamin C products.
Just remember that in order for this anti-aging ingredient to work most effectively, there needs to be moisture present. Your best bet is to apply hyaluronic acid on either slightly damp skin. You get a range of moisturisers and serums containing hyaluronic acid sometimes formulated with other ingredients. Choose your pick online from Neutrogena, L’ Occitane, Kiehls, Clinique The Body Shop and many more.
If you’re dealing with any kind of redness or irritation, or a condition such as rosacea, niacinimide is a good pick. A form of Vitamin B3, niacinamide helps calm inflamed skin – a growing concern as we age. Plus, it has the added benefit of helping to brighten skin and target unwanted pigmentation. SkinCeuticals B3 Metacell Renewal is highly priced but considered as one of the most effective products for ageing, inflamed skin.
Vitamin A or Retinol
Because it increases the rate at which your cells turnover—aka speeding up the exfoliation process—retinol, made from Vitamin A, is a great anti-aging ingredient for targeting fine lines and sun damage. For the same reasons, it’s also good for combating blemishes. If you’re dealing with adult acne, this is the product for you.
Retinol has some big negatives, namely that it can be very irritating for many skin types. You can help minimise its unsightly side effects (redness, flaking) by working it in to your routine gradually and mixing it between layers of plain moisturiser. You also only need a pea-size amount for your entire face—more is definitely not better in this case. Because it’s rendered inactive when exposed to sunlight, be sure to save it for bedtime use only. Olay Regenerist Retinol is very popular in serum and moisturiser form, additionally, there are chemists who stock good brands too. Consult your dermatologist or skincare advisor for what suits your skin type.
The vitamin you take when you feel a cold coming on also offers a trio of benefits for your skin. Not only is it a great antioxidant, helping to neutralise the skin-damaging free radicals caused by exposure to environmental factors such as sun and pollution, but it also interferes with the production of excess pigment in the skin, helping to fade spots and discolouration. And if all that weren’t enough, it also helps to stimulate collagen production (when used either topically or ingested).
Be choosy when selecting a Vitamin C product. Vitamin C in its most commonly found forms is highly unstable when exposed to oxygen, making it useless. Choose one in a tube or a pump. Also, many topical Vitamin C preparations do not penetrate the skin enough to make a difference.
Some people can be more sensitive to Vitamin C than others and may experience some irritation, and it’s also very easily rendered inactive if exposed to sun and air. Look for vitamin C products housed in dark, opaque bottles, and store them in a cool, dark place. Cipla does a C serum and Dr Reddy does Vitamin C ampoules.
Peptides are strings of amino acids, which are the building blocks that make up proteins in our body, including collagen and elastin in our skin. Without these proteins, we will see wrinkles, brittle nails and dry hair that’s prone to breakage. When you introduce exogenous peptides onto the skin in the form of a moisturiser or serum, it stimulates our collagen-boosting processes.
Not all peptides are created equal. Most experts suggest opting for products with copper peptides, which help not only generate collagen but also maintain the collagen you generate. Mystique Earth and Mitchell’s USA offer peptide serums.
Green Tea Extract
Tea is loaded with nutrients called polyphenols, which fight free radicals. Whilst not traditionally used in anti ageing, it has picked up momentum amongst skincare manufacturers. Early studies have found the ingredients in tea can ease sun damage. Use green tea extract under sunscreen to double the protection. Polyphenols in creams and lotions may also slow signs of ageing and reduce sagging skin and wrinkles. Korean brands like Innisfree and Tony Moly are available online and offer good serums with green tea.
Your body makes this natural chemical, and it’s in every cell you have. As an antioxidant, it attacks free radicals throughout the body. Most ALA skin care products include ALA with a mix of other excellent anti -ageing ingredients ( like Dmae, CoQ10) that moisturise your skin and help prevent photo(sun and bluelight)-ageing can erase fine lines and wrinkles, diminish pores, and give skin a healthy glow. Reviva Labs is available online and offers an effective cream with ALA.
All the above anti-ageing ingredients are relatively well-tolerated by the skin, but any time you apply a new skin care product, it is a good idea to start with a small patch of skin to see how your body reacts before applying it to your face. Wait for 24 hours and if you show signs of an allergic reaction, discontinue use.
I have suggested the above products based on ease of availability in India. You will discover anti-ageing creams, serums, cleansers contain an amalgam of anti-ageing ingredients in one jar or bottle. They’re also tagged at a high cost, but it is worth your while to choose a top brand in anti-ageing; the r & d that goes into some formulations is extensive.
Remember the basic steps of healthy skin – clean, exfoliate, protect – and integrate these ingredients in your daily routine. Another key element in anti- ageing is using a targeted face serum.
Next time we will look at face serums that are the key to any effective skincare routine, plus how you can make these ingredients work best for your skin.
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org