Five anti-aging ingredients that actually work

Time is always ticking away. Inasmuch as we want to arrest the hands of time and keep our young, supple skin, no one has quite found the fountain of youth. While there's no set age on when you should start using anti-aging products, you should check your skincare for these ingredients to slow down the effects and lessen the signs of aging.

Retinols. If there’s one ingredient that you can bet your money on, it’s retinol. Retinol is a vitamin-A derived ingredient that speeds up cell turnover by signaling your body to produce collagen (the protein that makes your skin supple and elastic) and new cells to make your skin firmer and smoother. It also stimulates cellular repair at the deepest level of the skin, making skin look younger and healthier.

Image via Avene USA

Image via Avene USA

Pro tip: Look for skincare packaged in an aluminum tube or an opaque plastic pump bottles so light and air does not infiltrate and degrade the product. Use skincare products with retinol at night as this ingredient works better in the dark. Lastly, look for that light tingling sensation when applied; that’s a sign the retinol in your skin care is strong enough.

Hydroquinone. Age spots caused by sun exposure is a sure sign of aging, and experts agree that hydroquinone is the best ingredient to bleach skin. How? It works by fading hyperpigmentation by blocking enzymes that triggers melanin production in the skin.

Pro tip: Check your spot corrector if it has hydroquinone in it and apply it directly on the dark spot. Once you have started this regimen, try to avoid sunlight and make sure to always use sunscreen as any UV ray exposure will undo the fading.

Active ingredients in sunscreen (most commonly zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide). As the old adage (or pop song) says “Wear sunscreen”. Forget about all the fancy ingredients we talked about if your anti-aging skincare does not have sunscreen to start with; you'll need it for both prevention and maintenance. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays that destroys collagen.

Pro tip: For the face, always go for skincare with broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) and SPF30 or higher. Look for a product with antioxidants as it boosts the effectiveness of your sunscreen. Don’t skimp - a teaspoon is just the right amount for the face - and if you’re outside, reapply every two hours. If you already have makeup on, you can use a wedge makeup sponge sprayed with aerosol sunscreen and carefully pat it on your face to avoid messing your makeup. 

Antioxidants. Here goes your vitamic C, green tea, pomegranate, and naturally occurring ingredients. These ingredients penetrate the skin and stop harmful free radicals - molecules that form in our bodies when you get exposed to UV rays and other harmful environmental factors such as pollution. As we all know, it’s the daily wear and tear of living that causes premature skin aging.

Pro tip: Use a serum to get the strongest dose of antioxidants. A serum works better than a cream when applied to skin. Follow with a sunscreen for best results. Antioxidants also work in best in packs so look for a skincare product with multiple antioxidants so it’s more potent overall.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Alpha hydroxy acids is a family of acids that is know to add radiance to your skin. AHAs also prepare your skin to receive other anti-aging ingredients, making your other skincare products work faster and more effectively. Also by being acids, AHAs are known for their precision to break the bond between the dead cell and the skin, revealing a younger-looking and more radiant complexion.

Pro tip: Don’t use it too often. Using products with AHA can weaken the skin barrier. Twice a week is the recommended dose to give skin time to recover. When using products with AHAs (glycolic acid is one of them and is usually found in cleansers), consider switching your moisturizer or serum to one that reinforces your skin barrier.

Do you know other anti-aging ingredients in skincare? Do let us know in the comments!