Heard the buzzwords touted to turn back the clock on aging skin? ”Acai,” “alpha-lipoic acid,” and ”alpha hydroxy acid’ are some of them.
But can they actually erase wrinkles, repair sun damage, or diminish age spots?
You’ll want to do your homework first, so you’re informed. Advanced DermaCare can also help you sort out what works, what’s hype, and what might help your skin.
Antioxidants for Sun Damage and Wrinkles
Antioxidants are natural substances made up of vitamins and minerals which are found in most plants in varying amounts. They can counter “free radicals” that damage DNA. Damaged skin cells can speed up aging with wrinkles, dry skin, dark circles under eyes, dull skin, and more.
Eating foods rich in antioxidants is key, not just for your skin but for your overall health. Antioxidants are also used on the skin. The antioxidants most shown to repair damage and slow the aging process include:
•Green tea extract
•CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Other plant-based or natural treatments for aging skin found in skin-care products include:
Acai berries, which are native to Central and South America, are rich in antioxidants, more than those found in other berries. Cold-pressing acai berries extracts the oil, which may fight aging by healing sun damage and smoothing wrinkles. Antioxidant levels in acai oil remain high, even after it’s stored.
Though studies have yet to confirm the benefits of acai oil on the skin, it is being used in masks, creams, cleansers, exfoliating scrubs, body butters, and serums.
Alpha-lipoic acid is made by the body and is found in every cell. As an antioxidant, it attacks free radicals throughout the body — it can penetrate skin-cell membranes to destroy them. Alpha-lipoic acid is touted commercially as a substance that can erase fine lines and wrinkles, diminish pores, and give skin a healthy glow.
Green Tea Extract
Tea is loaded with nutrients called polyphenols, which have been shown to fight free radicals.
Early studies have found the ingredients in tea can reduce sun damage and may protect skin from skin cancer when applied topically. Using green tea extract under sunscreen may yield a double dose of protection. Polyphenols in creams and lotions may also slow signs of aging and reduce sagging skin and wrinkles.
Retinol is made from vitamin A and goes on your skin. It boosts collagen production and plumps out skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone and color, and reduces mottled patches on the skin.
Many dermatologists prescribe retinol’s stronger counterpart, tretinoin, or similar products to slow skin aging, improve irregular pigmentation, and clear up acne. Over-the-counter products containing retinols may be weaker, but are still effective in improving skin appearance.
Using a retinol-based product may cause the skin’s top layer (the epidermis) to become dry and flaky. Be sure to wear moisturizer and sunscreen when using it or speak to your dermatologist about alternatives.
Choosing Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients
As you age, your body slows down its production of collagen and elastin, which keep skin strong, flexible, and resilient. The antioxidants found in vitamin C may stimulate the production of collagen and minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and scars. Vitamin C is being added to skin care products such as creams and lotions. If you want to use a topical vitamin C-based product, ask Advanced DermaCare which one would be right for you.
CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Your body naturally makes CoQ-10 to neutralize free radicals in cells. As you age, you make less CoQ-10. That may make skin cells more vulnerable to damage by free radicals. That’s the reasoning behind the use of the antioxidant in skin care products such as toners, gels, and creams to be used alone or with a moisturizer. One study shows that CoQ-10 helps reduce wrinkles around the eyes known as crow’s feet.CoQ-10 is bright orange, so products containing it will be orange or yellow.
Caffeine is also an antioxidant, but whether it can be used on the skin to reverse aging isn’t known. Still, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams based on evidence that shows caffeine can inhibit the growth of skin cancer and, when applied to the skin, may make wrinkles less deep, especially ”crow’s feet” around the eyes.
Other Popular Ingredients
Skin-care and cosmetics companies are adding natural ingredients to their products, such as the following:
Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
This group of natural-based acids found in a vast number of skin-care products includes glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids. Glycolic acid was the original AHA and remains popular for its ability to remove dead skin cells and leave skin smoother, softer, and more radiant.
AHAs are used to exfoliate the skin, reducing fine lines, age spots, acne scars, and irregular pigmentation. Peels with high concentrations of AHAs are usually administered by a beauty specialist (esthetician) or dermatologist, but you can use lower concentrations — between 5% and 10% — in creams or lotions on a daily basis.
To help avoid irritated skin, start with a low concentration and apply every other day gradually increasing frequency to every day.
Even at lower doses, however, the acids may irritate and dry skin as well as increase sensitivity to the sun. Advanced DermaCare recommends using moisturizer and sunscreen when using any products that contain AHAs.
Salicylic acid is used in many over-the-counter and prescription products to treat acne. It penetrates pores and reduces blackheads and whiteheads with less irritation than may occur with alpha-hydroxy acids. Like AHAs, salicylic acid in certain amounts exfoliates the skin, which can reduce signs of aging.
If you are allergic to salicylates (found in aspirin), you shouldn’t use salicylic acid. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should ask your doctor before using any product with salicylic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is included in skin care products to reduce the signs of aging. Your body produces hyaluronic acid naturally, keeping tissues cushioned and lubricated. It’s found in skin, joint fluid, and connective tissues. Age, smoking, and an unhealthy diet cause you to make less of it over time.
Products containing hyaluronic acid may help smooth out skin. It’s especially effective when combined with vitamin C products.