Top 10 Anti-Aging Ingredients Revealed
The Good, The Bad and The Useless
Have you been thinking about spending some money on a really good anti-aging serum or moisturizer but don’t know what to look for?
You’re definitely not alone.
Every product claims to be the best, but which one’s telling the truth? We’re going to review the top anti-aging ingredients, tell you how (and if) they work, and then offer some product suggestions for you.
Ready to get started?
Good. Here goes, in no particular order:
Retinol: Long used for it’s anti-wrinkle properties, retinol is the purest form of the antioxidant vitamin A. Though it’s effectiveness has been proven, many people can’t use it because it causes redness and irritation. ROC claims that they have resolved this issue with their newest product, Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Creme.
Argireline: Touted as the needle-free alternative to Botox, argireline is a peptide that is a shortened version of the botulinum toxin in Botox, Dysport and other injectable wrinkle treatments. It also acts similarly by relaxing facial muscles, thus decreasing the appearance of wrinkles.
Since it’s relatively new, there are no long-term studies regarding effects or side effects, but the short-term reviews on it are nothing short of incredible. The product being shouted about from the rooftops is PCA Skin ExLinea Peptide Smoothing Serum. It has an entire anti-aging arsenal in it including argireline, vitamins A and E, and aloe.
Hyaluronic Acid: With the ability to hold up to 1000x it’s weight in water, this is the ingredient that you want to look for in your moisturizers and other creams. It’s actually naturally produced and used in you joints, connective tissue, and eyes as a lubricant.
In addition to its amazing ability to latch onto and retain moisture, it’s also prescribed by doctors as an anti-scarring and healing aid. Look for it in your moisturizer, your sunscreen, or anything else that you slather on! Give Derma e’s Hyaluronic Acid Night Creme Intensive Rehydrating Formula a shot. It’s affordable and contains your hyaluronic acid, plus vitamins A and C. This is an excellent cream to use if you’re also incorporating a serum with the big-dog ingredients in it.
Matrixyl: This mighty little ingredient is actually scientifically proven to stimulate both collagen and hyaluronic acid production in your skin. It’s a lipopeptide (fatty acid mixed with amino acids) and its active ingredient is Micro-Collagen, another peptide. It stimulates the lower layers of your skin cells to heal themselves, so it’s good for healing as well as anti-aging.
The best part is that it acts relatively quickly. Women noticed that deep wrinkles were decreased by as much as half and fine lines faded, sometimes completely, within 2 weeks. A product that’s receiving rave reviews is Peter Thomas Roth’s Unwrinkle Nightcreme.
Haloxyl: Another relative newcomer to the anti-aging scene, this tetrapeptide is making a huge splash because of its ability to reduce and even eliminate under-eye circles and puffiness. It works by increasing lymphatic drainage while you sleep.
The blood and fluid that normally builds up under your eyes overnight is what causes both the puffiness and the circles so Haloxyl doesn’t just cover up your circles and bags, it actually prevents them from occurring to begin with. To get rid of your bags and under-eye circles, try EmerginC’s Lighten-Up Under-Eye Circle Fighter
We’ve made it through the first 5 top anti-aging ingredients, but we’re not done yet. Continue reading to find out what other products made the list. I’ll give you a clue: there are actually SIX more! That’s right. I couldn’t narrow it down to just 10, because the last one may just be the most important. Read on!
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant and is unusual in that it is both water- and fat-soluble. This means that it can fight damage caused by free radicals both inside and outside the cell. It also is a “recycling” agent for other antioxidants such as the mighty CoQ10 and Vitamin C.
Because alpha-lipoic acid also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect, it’s great to use in conjunction with stronger, more irritating anti-aging products. On its own, it’s not a really big anti-aging gun but it’s an awesome little helper in your war on wrinkles. Give this one a shot: Dermaquest’s Skin Therapy cleanser. It’s packed with goodies including ALA, DMAE and Vitamin C.
Alpha Hydroxy: An acid derived from fruits, alpha hydroxy is an excellent exfoliant. It eats away the top layer of dead, dull skin so that your skin can rejuvenate with new, healthy cells. Though the name sounds fancy, you may recognize it by some of its various compounds including citric acid, glycolic acid, malic acid, lactic acid and tartaric acid.
If you’ve been looking at anti-aging products including wrinkle reducers and peels, some of these are probably familiar. Both glycolic and lactic acid are frequently found in facial peels and of course citric acid is just old fashioned, antioxidant vitamin C. A good toner containing alpha hydroxy is Nutragena’s Pore Refining Toner.
Tretinoin: As the first retinoid (an acidic form of vitamin A) used in aging, tretinoin remains effective as an anti-aging tool. Much like retinol, it dissolves the outer dead layers of skin so that new cells are exposed and can thrive.
Tretinoin also has a second function (as do all retinoids) that’s a little fuzzier to understand. The gist of it is that when it’s absorbed into your cells, it’s converted into retinol and acts as an antioxidant as well as a cell nutrient. Therefore, you get double your bang for your buck.
Tretinoin eats away the dead stuff, burrows into the healthy cells and then protects it from free radicals and feeds it. Unfortunately, tretinoin is extremely irritating and will often cause redness, peeling, swelling and extreme sensitivity to sunlight wherever it’s applied. That’s why you don’t see it used more frequently – people choose to use the less-irritating retinol instead.
- Copper Peptide: Used primarily as a healing agent for wounds and ulcers, copper peptide’s usefulness as an anti-wrinkle tool is questionable. It does have anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates collagen production, so combined with its healing properties copper peptides may be useful as a tool to use after a chemical peel to help prevent the creation of free radicals caused by the irritation that many chemicals such as retinoids cause. Used as a stand-alone anti-aging tool, however, its effectiveness is unproven.
Coenzyme Q10: This little protein/vitamin combination is a veritable powerhouse of good things for your body. It’s disease fighting abilities are becoming legendary, it’s a free radical’s worst nightmare, and its importance in many bodily chemical functions is proven. For more on this, check out our Coenzyme Q10 article.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been many studies focusing on its topical effectiveness. Until that happens, you might want to stick with using the proven bad boys of topical anti-aging as your main ingredients until more research is done on the external effectiveness of CoQ10.
DMAE: OK, so I said 10 at the beginning of the article but I just had to throw this one in, too. DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol, is an ingredient that actually has some scientific backing supporting its claim to reducing facial sagging which is probably an even bigger indicator of age. After all, young people can get wrinkles, but they surely don’t get saggy faces or bodies.
How it works exactly is unclear even to scientists but they suspect that it destroys the garbage that accumulates in your cells as you age, thus preventing sagging. An awesome product that contains DMAE along with several of our other top picks here is Pericone MD’s Face Finishing Moisturizer.
If you’ve had any experience with these ingredients or would like to mention one that’s not listed, please tell us about it in the comments section below.