Ageless Skincare: Benefits & Ingredients for Anti-Aging
The term “anti-aging” in the skincare industry has always been a loaded one, to say the least. We live in a world that puts a high value on keeping a youthful-looking appearance, which has led to a booming anti-aging cosmetics market that, according to Fortune Business Insights, is estimated to be valued at more than $60 billion by 2026.
As we age and our skin visibly changes, we tend to start demanding the impossible from our skincare. While anti-aging products cannot rewind the clock, they can help achieve healthy-looking skin reminiscent of a youthful glow.
In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly anti-aging skincare is, which ingredients have anti-aging effects, as well as some tips for formulating your own anti-aging skincare line.
What Is Anti-Aging In Skincare?
Anti-aging skincare products are aimed at helping the consumer achieve youthful-looking skin by using ingredients that prevent or reduce the signs of skin aging. The rate at which your skin shows age depends on many different factors, such as your genetics, your environment, and your skincare habits (details below).
In reality, there’s no magic product out there that can completely halt or reverse your skin from aging. It’s a normal and natural process that we all go through, and, luckily, “anti-aging” has been a term that’s been under much scrutiny over the last few years. For that reason, many skincare professionals use the term “ageless” skincare instead.
Ageless skincare can serve the same purpose as anti-aging skincare, but it's backed by the idea of helping consumers achieve their best skin no matter their age. For the sake of this article, we will use the two terms interchangeably.
Why Does Our Skin Change as We Age?
There are many influences that can determine the visible changes that begin to appear as you age. Here are the five factors that cause skin aging:
- Intrinsic: This refers to the normal aging process that happens with the passage of time and can appear as fine lines, dry skin, and a loss of elastin. How these changes take shape on your skin is often associated with genetics.
- Extrinsic: This is how your skin ages based on external factors such as exposure to the sun, pollution, and blue light. Oxidative stress (an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body) plays a major role in extrinsic aging, which will be handy to know when we discuss different ingredients below! Photoaged skin (skin aged by the sun) may have deep-set wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and appear thicker than normal.
- Hormonal: Estrogen plays a big role in collagen production and in controlling hydration. So when someone goes through menopause, that drop in estrogen production can cause faster skin aging and appear as sagging skin.
- Lifestyle: Your day-to-day life can greatly affect your skin! Stress, smoking, diet, and exercise can play a huge role in aging skin faster.
- Catabolic: Lastly, some skin aging is caused by chronic diseases, such as hypothyroidism, cancer, or diabetes.
Benefits of Ageless Skincare
As you can see, there are many factors that can affect the look and feel of your skin. Fortunately, in response to that, there are many different types of ageless skincare that can tackle specific aspects of skin aging. Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits consumers look for when purchasing ageless skincare.
Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles
Crow’s feet, fine lines–what have you. When you think of the main signs of skin aging, most people think of wrinkles. These creases in our skin are a very natural part of aging, and yet it’s what most consumers want to reduce on their faces.
Our skin is composed of elastin and collagen fibers, which offer support and elasticity (smoothness and firmness). As collagen diminishes, our skin loses this firmness and begins to sag. As a result, jowls, frown lines, and/or deep-set wrinkles (wrinkles that are there even when you’re not smiling or squinting) may appear.
Studies show that people who menstruate have the sharpest decline of collagen, with their skin losing around 30% of its collagen supply during the first five years of menopause.
Ageless skincare uses clinically proven ingredients to boost collagen and elastin with the aim to thicken the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It also uses ingredients that defend against extrinsic factors that speed up the process of wrinkle formation.
Reduce Inflammation In the Skin
Inflammation is a lesser-known concept to consumers when they go searching for ageless skincare. Inflammation is your skin’s natural defense mechanism to help protect and repair your skin–such as a pimple, swelling, or sunburn.
When inflammation happens over and over again, it accelerates the aging process of your skin and leads to oxidative stress (which, in turn, accelerates the aging process). This is often referred to as “inflammaging.” Many topical anti-aging products you see on the shelves include antioxidants that combat oxidative stress, further reducing inflammation. There’s a diverse range of antioxidants to choose from and while they all technically perform the same function of protecting your skin from oxidative stress, your choice can depend on the goal of the skincare products. Vitamin C is a popular choice among many and it works well with fellow antioxidants such as vitamin E and ferulic acid.
However, it’s important to note that inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. Some anti-aging treatments–such as peels, lasers, micro-needling, and retinoids–actually cause an inflammatory response in order to get the skin to send those signals to protect and repair your skin—like a controlled fire in forest management.
Protecting your skin in this way is ageless skincare for the long term. If you can prevent oxidative stress throughout the years, you have a better chance of preventing wrinkles and other signs of skin aging from forming down the line–or at the very least, minimizing their appearance as the years go by.
Improve Skin Tone & Prevent Discoloration
If you’ve been a fan of the sunshine your whole life but rarely use sunscreen, your skin will likely develop age spots, discoloration, and hyperpigmentation as you get older.
Age spots are also referred to as liver spots or sunspots, and they are small dark areas on your skin that vary in size. They can appear all over the face or body and typically appear in adults over the age of 50.
If you’ve visited a dermatologist to rule out that any of the age spots are cancerous or precancerous, you can reduce the appearance of these age spots through creams and serums formulated to even skin tone.
Prevent the Need for Dermal Procedures
It should be shouted from the rooftops that prevention is the best way to prolong a youthful complexion and healthy skin. Using sunscreens, creams, serums and other anti-aging skincare items before the signs of skin aging appear is not only a long-term solution but also a less expensive approach to achieving the glowing skin of your dreams throughout the years.
It’s the less expensive route because dermal procedures (also known as minimally invasive produces, such as lip or cheek fillers) tend to be “needed” (or better: desired) when the signs have already appeared and cannot be undone or reduced with topical creams. The average cost of dermal fillers ranges anywhere from $700 to $1000+.
That’s why an anti-aging skincare line is great for all ages in adults.
8 Best Anti-Aging Skincare Ingredients
There are so many “miracle elixirs” sold on the market with promises to banish wrinkles and reverse time. But the truth is, there are a limited number of ingredients that have been clinically proven to produce an anti-aging effect (i.e., produce the anti-aging benefits listed above). So, there’s no need to purchase diamond-encrusted peels or have a helicopter fly in the rarest flowers on planet earth–the best anti-aging skincare ingredients are already at your fingertips! Let’s take a look.
It’s been said that prevention is key to achieving that anti-aging effect. That begins with sunscreen. Photoaged skin (skin aged by the sun), as mentioned, can cause age spots, hyperpigmentation, and can break down collagen, as well as lead to more serious effects such as skin cancer. Regular use of sunscreen will help prevent those issues, protecting your skin for years to come. That’s why any morning anti-aging skincare regimen should always include sunscreen. Whether you want to create or use a chemical sunscreen, a tinted sunscreen, or a different type of sunscreen is up to you–but you can reach for ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.
Peptides are strings of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins in your body needed for not only new collagen but also elastin fibers. Without these proteins, our skin is prone to wrinkles. That’s why peptides have been proven to be effective at producing an anti-aging or anti-wrinkle effect.
Retinoid was mentioned under the “inflammation” section, but there’s a natural over-the-counter type of retinoid that’s very popular in anti-aging skincare: retinol. This ingredient converts to retinoic acid—an active form of vitamin A—in the skin.
This powerhouse ingredient has been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone, and increase collagen production–all the anti-aging must-have benefits listed above.
The key to using this ingredient lies in the formulation in order to make it consumer-friendly. It’s important to find retinol that incorporates antioxidants (such as vitamin C, silymarin, or bakuchiol) and soothing ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid), so it doesn’t irritate the skin.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, works to brighten and smooth the skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, and calm inflammation. In fact, one study published in 2004 in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science shows that when 50 women applied a moisturizer containing 5% niacinamide to one half of their face and a placebo moisturizer to the other half for 12 weeks, the halves of their faces receiving niacinamide had significant improvements in hyperpigmentation spots, fine lines, and wrinkles compared to the control side.
How the skin is formed is often compared to brick and mortar–with skin cells being the bricks and ceramides as the mortar. That’s to say that ceramides are a key player in healthy, robust skin! Ceramides hold the skin together in a protective layer to help defend against environmental stressors such as pollution, UV rays, and much more.
In your youth, your skin has loads of ceramides to keep the skin healthy and supple. But, as you age, as we saw with collagen, the quantity of ceramides drops, leading to drier, rougher skin. Adding ceramides to skincare can help replenish ceramides in the skin and keep it hydrated, firm, and supple!
6. Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is a popular alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that works as a chemical exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and reveal youthful skin underneath. Originating from sugar cane, it’s the smallest AHA, so it's the most effective at getting into the skin.
Glycolic acid is helpful for reducing hyperpigmentation but can also be used in skincare for combatting fine lines and wrinkles. When formulating with this ingredient, it’s good to know that over-the-counter products typically contain 5% to 7% and can be used a few times a week.
7. Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is another AHA but is sometimes referred to as a gentler version compared to other chemical exfoliants on the market. An isolate from the compound from sour milk, it dates back to Ancient Egypt when Cleopatra bathed in milk for softer skin. More recently (in 1996), researchers found that formulations with 12% lactic acid resulted in fewer fine lines and wrinkles.
8. Hyaluronic Acid
A holy grail ingredient, hyaluronic acid (also commonly known as “HA”), is naturally occurring in the human body. It acts as a magnet for moisture, pulling it into the skin and helping your cells retain as much of it as possible.
When skin is more hydrated and moisturized, it may look fuller and plumper! Many people love reaching for HA-infused skincare products to give them the fresh, youthful look they seek. In addition to topical creams and serums, it’s also used in anti-aging treatments such as hyaluronic acid fillers, which are used to fill in areas of the skin like the undereye area.
Formulate Anti-Aging Skincare Products With Beauty Ingredients
Whether you refer to these products as “anti-aging,” “ageless,” or another term altogether, you can create your own formulations with these proven ingredients when you partner with Beauty Ingredients by Univar Solutions.
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