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Health and Fitness News

Oh, to Look Young Again

Ingredients to look for in anti-aging skincare products.

Has time been kind to your skin? Are you one of the lucky few who look years younger than you are? If not, then you may spend a lot of time and money trying to firm your skin, erase lines, and reduce the appearance of age spots. Store shelves are lined with anti-aging products, some affordable and some extremely pricey, yet each claims to give you younger looking skin.

What works and what doesn’t? Is it worth spending a ton of money? Instead of wasting your time trying every product out there, here are a few of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients to look for in your products.

A Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

While it may not be considered an anti-aging ingredient, sunscreen should be an essential part of your skincare routine. Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays is the number one cause of aging skin. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, two safe and effective mineral ingredients that deflect the sun’s rays.

Collagen

Your skin contains a protein called collagen that works to keep your skin firm and strong. Exposure to sunlight breaks down this important protein, and as you age collagen production slows down. If anything has the power to improve skin’s appearance, collagen is near the top of the list. However, it’s a large molecule that doesn’t easily penetrate the skin’s outer layer. Therefore, collagen in topical skincare products may not be as effective as you’d hope. While there are pills and powders that contain collagen, they may not be effective either. Still lured by its powerful potential? Feel free to give it a try.

Ceramides

The outer layer of your skin works to keep hydration in and skin irritants out. Ceramides are an ingredient in skincare products that help keep this outermost skin layer strong and healthy. When your skin is moisturized it appears more youthful.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid derived from milk. This gentle acid is often found in skin peels and exfoliating products. It’s known to even skin tones, make the skin appear more radiant, and add moisture. On the downside, lactic acid may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to use sunscreen as well.

Glycolic Acid

Another type of alpha-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid is a key ingredient that helps exfoliate the skin. It’s a small molecule, so it’s able to penetrate deeper into skin layers to remove dead skin cells, even skin tone, reduce pore size, and smooth texture. Another reason to look for glycolic acid? It works to increase skin’s collagen and elastin. If you have sensitive skin, you may be irritated by glycolic acid. So try a small area first to see how your skin reacts.

Retinol

Hoping to erase sun damage, reduce fine lines, or remove blemishes? Then look for skincare products that contain retinol. Also known as vitamin A, retinol speeds cell turnover so your skin repairs itself faster. Helpful as it is, retinol can be irritating for those with sensitive skin. Also, it doesn’t work when exposed to sunlight, so only use retinol as part of your bedtime skincare routine.

Vitamin C

Another ingredient that works to improve skin’s appearance is vitamin C. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps fight skin damage caused by free radicals. This could be damage from the sun, pollution, or other environmental factors. Vitamin C also works to even skin tones and erase age spots by reducing production of excess pigment. An added benefit, vitamin C—whether taken orally or applied topically to the skin—boosts collagen production. Like retinol, vitamin C is deactivated when exposed to sunlight, so it should be used at night and stored out of direct sunlight.