Aging begins before the first wrinkle even appears.
Some of us are either trying to prevent aging, or trying to correct it. Whether you have dark circles or deep wrinkles, the best way to turn back the hands of time is by choosing the right products to use for your skin.
Before you can begin that process, you have to know the Anti-Aging terms, and what they do to slow down the signs of aging. The last thing you want to do is buy a product that you do not need. Let's start with a breakdown of all the major ingredients one can find in a product that promises to reverse the clock.
- Retinol / Retinaldehyde - The term you see very often on products when you look past the puberty-aged acne scrubs and washes in the grocery aisle. Retinol aka the "Skin Rejuvenator" is a Vitamin A exfoliant which comes in cream, serum, or gel form that fades sunspots, evens skin tone, and firms skin.
- Ferulic Acid - Not commonly seen on products, but you will still come across this term when dealing with anti-aging. Ferulic Acid is an organic plant-based antioxidant added to products such as Retinol to help it penetrate into your skin. Also associated with Vit C and E to protect your skin against sun damage so these products can be used during the day.
- Hyaluronic Acid - Often seen in moisture boosting products. Hyaluronic Acid is well known for having a "filling effect" on the skin and adds a great deal of moisture to reduce lines and wrinkles. Dry skin is one of the leading causes of premature aging. Moisture is key!!
- Glycolic Acid - AKA "The Peel". Glycolic Acid is an AHA exfoliator that removes the outer layer of dead skin to reveal new skin, combats acne/blackheads, and minimizes wrinkles. The higher the percentage, the more severe the chemical peeling will be, so consult an esthetician if you wish to do an at-home treatment with 15% or more.
- Salicylic Acid - You have seen this ingredient in products ever since you hit puberty. Well-known for being the #1 acne fighter, and continues to treat breakouts by penetrating the follicles and clearing out pores that cause acne. As you get older you may not break out as often, but some people still deal with cystic acne in their mature years. If you have serious breakouts consult a doctor because the 2% that is allowed over the counter may not be strong enough for you.
- Colloidal Sulfur - You may not recognize this ingredient, but it goes hand in hand with acne fighting products. Made up of sulfur and mixed protein to help reduce enlarged pores, blackheads, and excess oil.
- Antioxidants - Associated with everything from food to chemicals. Antioxidants limit oxidation by preventing or delaying cell damage. Free Radical Theory of Aging (FRTA) states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time. If you wish to stay forever young, make sure you are eating foods and using solutions with antioxidants.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) - These natural acids act as exfoliators to remove dead skin, combat acne, firm skin, and reduce the appearance of scars. The different AHAs are: Citric Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, and Tartaric Acid. Always use a sunscreen if you use an AHA during the day.
- Amino Acids - Organic compounds made of proteins that assist the body functions.
- Peptides - Protein molecules that are short chains of amino acid monomers that add moisture.
- Algae Extract - Nourishes hair and skin with vitamins and minerals. Also hydrates the skin, and prevents wrinkles.
- Enzymes - Protein that assist (or boost) the chemical reactions in products. You can boost a clay mask or exfoliator with fruit enzymes such as: Strawberries, kiwi, papaya, and citric fruits.
- Stem Cells - A cellular organism that is capable of stimulating and regenerating new cells. Deemed a medical miracle because it can trick your skin into reproducing fresh youthful cells.
Not only should you be looking for products with the above ingredients, but you should also look for foods and supplements with the below vitamins to keep you healthy and strong.
- Vitamin B - Protein your body uses to create energy from food you eat. Also helps to form red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 is the most popular for its energy boosting capabilities, however, there are other Vit Bs: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B7 that all play key roles in the body. Foods with Vit B: Fish, Poultry, Meat, Eggs, Dairy, Green leafy veggies, Beans, and Peas.
- Vitamin C - A water-soluble antioxidant that blocks free radicals. Necessary for normal growth of tissue in your body and boost your immune system. Most products that have this ingredient also have brightening capabilities due to the citric acid associated in vitamin C solutions and foods. Foods with Vit Cs: Orange, Lemons, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Pineapples, Berries, Watermelon, Green leafy veggies, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Green/Red Peppers, and Tomatoes.
- Vitamin D - Helps with intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Also prevents rickets, treats weak bones and high blood pressure. We each get a daily dose of Vit D from the sun, however if you lack this vitamin then you can eat these foods: Cod liver oil, Oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), mushrooms, fortified cereals, milk, cheese, and eggs.
Tip: Never use salicylic acid and Retinol (or AHAs) on the same day because they are two different forms of exfoliators and can severely irritate your skin or cause it to become extremely sensitive.
Now that you have the 411 on anti-aging, you can outsmart time and choose the correct products for your skincare needs. Stay young!