November 7, 2013

What To Look For In Anti-Aging Products

An often-asked question amongst my late-20s, 30s, and 40-year old clients is, "What's the deal with anti-aging products, and when should I start to use them?"

Well, I'm here to tell you the Big Dirty Secret about anti-aging... 

Of all the anti-aging ingredients, there are only two that are preventative and corrective at the same time: broad-spectrum sunscreen and topical antioxidant serums. 

("Broad-spectrum" means that the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays -- and must say so on the product label.)

All other anti-aging products are corrective and not preventative, which means that if you don't have any fine lines or wrinkles yet, no corrective product will prevent them. The only thing that will prevent wrinkles, besides a broad-spectrum sunscreen, is something with multiple forms of antioxidants.  Having only one form of antioxidant in a product usually doesn't do the trick because different types of antioxidants interrupt the cascade of skin damage at different points. 

Some of the best antioxidants to look for are: 

  • L-ascorbic acid or Magnesium Ascorbal Phostphate (stabilized forms of Vitamin C)
  • Sea Whip (which may also be listed as pseudopterogorgia elizabethae)
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • L-tocopherol (skin-penetrating Vitamin E)
  • Beta Carotene
  • Acai berry extract
  • Pomegranate extract

When it comes to hydration, added moisture does nothing for the prevention of fine lines.

Fine lines and wrinkles do not form as a result of lack of moisture; they instead result from the breakdown of proteins that hold the skin up due to damage from the sun, stress, and trauma to the integrity of the skin. Dryness can make existing lines look worse, but moisturizer only has the purpose of hydrating and softening. If a moisturizer has antioxidants, it will indeed be effective at preventing and correcting aging issues. However, it will really be the antioxidants providing the anti-aging benefit, not the moisturizer.

Whether you decide to use specifically anti-aging products or not, one of the best things you can do is become very dedicated with your SPF. About 80-95% of facial aging is from sun damage alone! Sun damage is cumulative -- five minutes here, ten minutes there, walking back to work from lunch, walking to the store -- you must have sun protection at all times. UV protection sunglasses are a must as well; they should cover as much of your eye area as possible and must say "UV Protection" on the label.

As for puffiness, dark circles, and existing fine lines, there is nothing like the new Peptide technology for combatting all of these issues. This class of ingredients is what makes up the entire Olay Regenerist line. However, drugstore products tend to be quite weak in comparison to salon brands, which contain levels of active ingredients that are lab-consistent (meaning that the ingredients are at the same potency as they were when tested in a lab.)

I have also found that the vast majority of national brands that offer anti-aging products are completely inappropriate for those with Adult Acne. 

Unfortunately, many formulators, either being misinformed themselves or wanting to give consumers what they want, formulate products according to the idea that lubricating emollients are needed to prevent aging. These products are most often terribly pore-clogging.

For help and advice with the best formulated, potent, and totally non-clogging anti-aging products, or any skincare products to help with whatever skin issues you may have, please visit my website.

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