Top 5 Anti-Ageing Ingredients and What They Can Actually Do for Your Skin
by Jelena Vulevic on Jan 30, 2023
In this day and age, saying that choosing the ideal anti-ageing product for your skin can be a difficult task would be an understatement. Be it in-store or online, consumers are faced with such an astounding number of anti-ageing skin solutions, and in so many different formats, that picking just one can seem downright impossible. But don't worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In this article, we will look into some of the most common ingredients used in fighting skin ageing and explain exactly what each of them can actually do for your skin. We will also discuss the types of products that you might want to avoid, as well as how gut health affects the skin and its ageing process.
Natural anti-ageing ingredients for the skin
From concerns about side effects and allergies to sustainability issues, there are several reasons why people might be interested in using natural anti-ageing ingredients on their skin, instead of purchasing synthetic-based cosmetics. The issue here is that, although natural substances may indeed be gentler on the skin and the environment, it can also be challenging to find safe and effective ways to apply them directly to your complexion. Instead, prioritising the ingestion of foods that contain age-fighting elements could be an easier option and a more holistic approach to skin health. So what is the best natural anti-ageing ingredient?
Although there is no direct answer to that question, below we will discuss some of the most effective natural elements to look out for, and the best foods to integrate into your diet if consuming more natural anti-ageing substances is a priority for you.
- Red Peppers: They’re among the most antioxidant-heavy foods one can ingest and should be a staple in any anti-ageing diet. Among other important nutrients such as potassium, folic acid and vitamin A, this bright red vegetable is packed with vitamin C, which is essential to collagen production. What's more, red peppers also have more carotenoids than yellow or green peppers. Also present in other red, yellow and orange foods, such as carrots, carotenoids are a well-studied substance for protecting the skin against external aggressors and especially efficient in helping keep sun damage at bay.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Think brussel sprouts, kale, turnips, broccoli, cabbage and watercress. These vegetables contain an impressive nutrient content including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and a range of vitamins such as vitamins A, B1, B2, C and K. This powerful combo offers numerous health benefits, including improved circulation and mineral absorption, but it's a compound called isothiocyanate that matters the most when it comes to ageing. In combination with vitamin C, isothiocyanate or ITC, work to prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which results in skin ageing, and can even boost the production of more collagen within the body.
- Spinach: Iron is thoroughly recognised as a mineral that's essential for healthy hair, skin and nails, so it shouldn't be a surprise to find spinach among the best foods for keeping a youthful look. What many may not know, is that spinach is made up of about 93% water, which makes it a powerful hydrating ingredient to add to our meals. In addition to its well-known high levels of iron, this dark leaf also contains lutein, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, E and K. The large amounts of vitamin A can help the skin look healthy by regulating the amount of oil produced by the follicles, and the vitamin K present will hinder inflammation processes notable for accelerating the ageing process.
- Papaya: Like all of the above foods, papaya fruit is loaded with important vitamins and minerals, with studies showing notable antioxidant properties that could positively impact skin health. Like all red and orange fruits (such as tomatoes, watermelon, guava, even sundried tomatoes and tomato puree), papaya contains lycopene. Lycopene is an element that, in the presence of other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, has been proven to deliver solid results for the treatment of deep wrinkles. The more interesting aspect of this fruit, however, is the presence of papain. Papain has also shown some potential for tackling wrinkles, but its special power lies in its ability to promote a more even and smoother skin layer.
According to the experts, upping your intake of natural anti-ageing ingredients is only one step of the way towards youthful skin. These foods should be part of a well-rounded diet, capable of supplying all the nutrients your body needs, and associated with a healthy lifestyle. As you probably already know, no amount of antioxidants will be a match for detrimental habits such as smoking and heavy drinking, and the same goes for insufficient sleep and constant high-stress levels. So be sure to adapt your lifestyle to be as balanced as possible, and don't forget the good old daily sunscreen recommendation.
Top 5 synthetic skin anti-ageing ingredients
Especially when it comes to synthetic ingredients, the market is absolutely packed with skincare product options and marvellous anti-ageing claims. While science and technology have certainly progressed greatly over the years to develop cosmetics that support skin health, ageing remains a challenge, with many products failing to deliver on what is advertised. But it's not all bad news. Some of the substances used to fight the skin ageing process have already undergone extensive studies and can be considered a safe bet when choosing your next cosmetic product.
Have a look at the five top science-backed ingredients you could include in your self-care regimen for a healthier and more youthful-looking complexion.
Niacinamide is a synthetic form of vitamin B3 commonly used in cosmetics to even out the skin tone as well as regulate the action of oil-producing glands which, when dysregulated, can cause acne. It is also a substance notably capable of targeting ageing by improving elasticity and the appearance of fine wrinkles, making it a worthy addition to your skincare routine.
Retinoids are among the most researched anti-ageing ingredients and are known to deliver great results in the treatment of fine wrinkles by thickening skin collagen with continued use. A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids are, in fact, cosmetic products which can also potentially offer health benefits. More than an aid to looking younger for longer, research shows that these substances' ability to promote cellular renewal could be efficient in preventing the appearance of skin cancer.
Alpha-hydroxy acid may sound like a brand-new term for some cosmetic users, but it is in fact a category of acids that includes some very well-known substances, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid. Alpha-hydroxy acids have been the target of some important studies, with results showing a positive impact on skin which appears rough or dull. Over the years, it is normal for a build-up to happen on the outermost layer of the skin, also called the stratum corneum, and this thickening process can later translate into textural and dullness issues. Luckily, alpha-hydroxy acids can be applied to the skin surface and efficiently work on removing the added layers, ultimately making it significantly smoother and restoring its youthful glow.
Drying is a major problem for ageing skin, as the levels of hyaluronic acid naturally decrease over time. The good news is that this same substance can be applied topically to help revert the issue. Hyaluronic acid is indeed very efficient in penetrating the skin barrier and restoring hydration when regularly applied, but its benefits don't stop there. Scientific studies have also identified noticeable improvements in the aspect of fine facial wrinkles and in how firm the skin feels after consistent use of cosmetics containing hyaluronic acid.
Ferulic acid has become a trendy topic on cosmetic websites and with good reason. Although not very helpful on its own, this antioxidant substance has an incredible ability to make other antioxidants deliver better results. A good example is its effect when used in combination with the all-important vitamin C which, unfortunately, degrades very easily after packaging. According to the experts, the simple addition of ferulic acid to a vitamin C-based product can make it a lot more stable and potent. Throw some vitamin E into the mix and you will end up with a cosmetic with double the photoprotection capabilities compared to one which does not contain ferulic acid.
Ingredients that will probably not help with anti ageing
As previously mentioned, among the wide range of products targeting the issue of ageing skin you will find a good number that simply don't deliver on what's promised. To help you avoid wasting your money on options that will do nothing more than damage your finances, we have put together a list of trendy but not very purchase-worthy ingredients.
Although incredibly well-known, collagen is a substance with very mixed reviews from dermatology experts. Its popularity might stem from the fact that it rarely incurs any kind of side effects for consumers, but the evidence for its effectiveness in topical form is also sparse. Most studies seem to show that collagen is more beneficial for the skin when ingested than when applied directly to the skin, so if you are interested in adding collagen to your routine for anti-ageing purposes, supplements might be your best bet. When topically applied, collagen will probably help by hydrating and moisturising the skin, but it will have trouble in restoring collagen levels under the surface which would indeed have more prominent anti-ageing effects.
Blue Light Protection Creams
Since the publication of findings pointing at the fact that the blue light from our electronic devices can actually be damaging to the skin, there has been a surge in new cosmetics claiming to be especially able to protect us from that issue. However, up until now, there really is no scientific evidence that products developed specifically to protect the skin from blue light damage do anything more than most sunscreens. So, while dermatologists do recommend using physical sunscreens containing some form of iron oxide, that is really all you need to prevent skin issues stemming from your long hours in front of a screen.
Cosmetics Using Plant-based Stem Cells
However exciting they may sound, stem-cell-based cosmetics are a novelty with very little science behind them. A number of skin care products have recently appeared on the market claiming to include stem cells derived from plants, which can act on the skin to slow down the effects of ageing. The problem with that claim is that stem cells are very delicate and the environmental conditions required for their survival are unlikely to be found inside cosmetic packaging. More importantly, research done on this kind of product has evidenced that they are, in fact, mostly made with plant-derived stem cell extract, which can never deliver the same results as live stem cells.
The case for skipping the SPF serum trend during your next skincare shopping spree is actually a pretty straightforward one. Serums are usually the first products one should apply when layering cosmetics, while sun protection works best when applied last. That being the case, a sunscreen in serum form, which will be applied early in this layering process, simply won't protect your skin as well as it should.
How gut balance helps fight signs of skin ageing
The human gut is a complex system interconnected with different parts of the body and which impacts many bodily functions, including our skin health. This direct correlation between what's happening in the gut and with our skin is called the gut-skin axis and has supported the development of skincare solutions that work from the inside out.
While topical products or anti-ageing supplements can certainly do a lot to slow down skin ageing, due to this special relationship between the gut and the skin, the effectiveness of any topical or ingested ingredient will be impacted by the state of your digestive health. Poorly functioning guts, which often result from an imbalance in the gut's microbiome, can trigger inflammation processes that not only accelerate the ageing process but limit what many of the ingredients recommended above can do for our skin. For that reason, if you would like to improve your complexion, the place to start is by researching gut health supplement options.
The best supplements for ageing skin will always be those designed to improve your gut health by reducing or preventing gut-derived inflammation. Pay attention to their composition, looking for a mix of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics, and avoid any product unable to show the scientific evidence behind how it was made. Well-developed skin supplements, such as Y SKIN, always offer science-backed data to support their claims and are thoroughly tested to guarantee not only their effectiveness but also their safety levels.
After all this reading, you should be a lot better informed about how to pick the ideal anti-ageing ingredients for your skincare routine, but it never hurts to remember: whether you go for natural or synthetic-based products, scientific research should be available to support any benefits claimed. Additionally, looking after your overall health is the only way to achieve long-lasting results from age-targeting cosmetics, so don't skip on assessing the state of your digestive function before making your next purchase.