Unfortunately at this time there is not enough evidence to show that these products actually work. However, there are certain active ingredients currently being used in anti-aging products that have proven to be safe and effective. The goal is to find the right ingredients that will work well with your skin.
So what are these ingredients that promise to deliver positive results from the anti-aging process? Understanding these ingredients can be overwhelming, let alone knowing what will work. There are five generally listed active ingredients that play a role in decreasing the signs of aging.
1) Antioxidants – help fight cell damage from molecules that could injure cells and increase the risk of inflammation, including the risk of cancer. Items that contain antioxidant properties include beta-carotene, lycopene, selenium and vitamins A, C and E. These antioxidants can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, some meats and various other foods. There are also supplements available for many of these antioxidants. It's the formulation of these antioxidants that determine their effectiveness.
2) Alpha-hydroxy acids – are natural ingredients that come from fruits and milk sugars, such as, lactic, glycolic and citrus acids. These are most frequently used since they work as an exfoliant by getting rid of dead skin cells, so allowing new cells to grow. By allowing the deer layer of the skin to come to the surface faster this speeds up the cycle of skin turnover. Each acid has its own marginally different effect.
a) Lactic acid – comes from sour milk and helps to remove dead skin cells. This has a brightening reaction on the skin.
b) Glycolic acid – comes from sugar cane and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This causes the skin to appear smoother and tighter.
Using a sunscreen every day is recommended as these ingredients can cause sun sensitivity and stinging.
3) Peptides – are small proteins that help revitalize new cells to grow and aids skin cells to heal. The aging process causes our skin to become thinner and lose fat because resulting in sagging and the development of fine lines. Our body begins to produce less collagen and elastin which empowers the skin to maintain its smooth, plump and youthful appearance. Peptides are found in a number of products and which formulation may work is still unknown by experts. Peptides stimulate the replacement of collagen, elastin, and other components that the skin endures during the aging process. Depending on their formulation and the skin surface these peptides may not be able to penetrate deeply enough to achieve their effect. Peptides are good in moisturizers and aid in hydrating skin making lines less noticeable.
4) Resveratrol – is a plant compound found in red wine and available as a supplement. This compound has been claimed to reverse or prevent chronic health problems such as heart disease or diabetes. Drinking wine in moderation is known to have some health benefits; however, there is not enough evidence of the metabolic benefits gained.
5) Retinol – is an ingredient found in several over-the-counter skin creams. Retinol, a natural form of vitamin A is proclaimed as an effective method for reducing the signs of aging, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and boosting the thickness and elasticity of the skin. Prescription strength retinol products are available but may cause burning, warmth, stinging and tingling. Newer formulas of the prescription strength are available that are more tolerable and still as effective.
There is no true method for determining which one of these ingredients will work best for each of us. The best effective way is to one ingredient for several weeks to see if the desired results are achieved.