These are the top anti-aging ingredients


The term anti-aging has become somewhat of a buzzword associated with everything from eating antioxidant berries to getting Botox injections. While these things may have their benefits for improving the appearance of wrinkles, don't be misled. When it comes to anti-aging, it's all about taking preventive steps and sticking to a strong daily routine – one built on products with key ingredients that can be beneficial for maintaining balance, elasticity and supple texture.

The aging process begins in the mid-20s, when skin naturally stops producing collagen. So, it's a great idea to keep that beauty cabinet stocked with ingredients that can aid in skin healing and help support collagen production to keep it looking plump and pretty.

Often wrapped up in soothing serums and luscious moisturizers, the following ingredients are easy to add as part of your morning and nightly routine and can help keep the complexion in tip-top shape, while also giving it the long-term care it needs to age gracefully.

Vitamin A

Retinols (vitamin A compounds) have recently had a mainstream revival, as beauty brands worldwide have started using this collagen-stimulating ingredient. Great for helping to keep skin plump and smooth, retinol works deep in the lower levels of the skin to assist in the production of healthy cells. Vitamin A can also help reduce damage from oxidants.

Sun-lovers be warned, though: Retinol can cause skin sensitivity with sun exposure, so it's best to use it only in your nightly skincare regimen. Be sure to protect skin by keeping it well-hydrated every day with a good moisturizer. Also, be sure to use sunscreen.

Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breast-feeding should ask a doctor before use.

[See: What Keeps You Young?]

Vitamin C

BV-OSC and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate may sound like fancy and complicated ingredients, but they're actually just vitamin C in an oil soluble and stable form. They are often used as part of an anti-aging regimen.

Perfect for use in skincare creams and serums along with other anti-aging ingredients like peptides and stem cells, vitamin C may be used to soften fine lines. It typically does not cause the harsh side effects – like irritation and peeling – that are associated with some other anti-aging ingredients.

Vitamin C can help encourage collagen production while also lightening and brightening the skin, making it the perfect solution for those concerned about age spots and uneven skin tone. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties, like vitamins A and E.

Sunscreen

Perhaps an obvious element of your skincare regimen, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is the skin's strongest defense against environmental aging, and it helps protect against the No. 1 cause of skin cancer: the sun.

Conveniently found in foundations and powders, it's easy to incorporate into any daily routine. But while it's a bonus to have in makeup, it's always better to use it as a light daily moisturizer that also features broad-spectrum protection against harmful UV rays. Some examples of broad-spectrum sunscreens are avobenzone, benzophenone, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Since unprotected skin can begin to burn in just minutes in the sun, it's important to make time in the morning to add this step and to reapply every two hours and as needed.

Sunscreen is an important step in helping preserve the skin's youthful appearance. When it's mixed into rich creams that feature antioxidants and other nourishing ingredients like shea butter, a moisturizing sunscreen can give the skin a hydrated, dewy glow.

[See: Your Guide to Stylish Sun Protection.]

Peptides

Another word buzzing around beauty counters and blogs is peptides. What do peptides do? Peptides in skincare products have the potential to work on the lower levels of the skin to help promote healthy skin function. They may stimulate collagen production.

Peptides can also help increase the production of hyaluronic acid, which is important, because it can help the skin retain moisture, leaving a plumper and smoother surface.

Try peptides in a serum or in a rich cream formulated to deliver hydration and protection.

Glycolic Acid

Alpha hydroxy acids are natural acids found in food, and they have been used topically on the skin for centuries dating back to the Egyptians. Typically derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid can help deliver powerful yet gentle results on the skin, making it a great ingredient for those with busy schedules.

Glycolic acid is an exfoliant, a substance that removes upper layers of old, dead skin to allow the growth of new skin. A great monthly treatment for aging and combination-to-oily skin types, it can help keep complexions looking clear and smooth with regular use.

Glycolic acid is typically found in professional chemical peels that can be used bi-weekly or monthly. However, it's been recently formulated for use in treatment serums and even cleansers that can be used daily to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, discoloration and dark spots from breakouts, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

[See: 9 Ways Your Hair Reflects Your Health.]

Caffeine

Great for more than just that morning jolt of energy, caffeine is commonly found in eye creams to help revitalize the skin by increasing circulation. Over time, facial expressions create laugh lines and crow's feet, while a combination of a busy schedule and a poor diet can lead to puffiness that results in tired-looking eyes. And because the skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate, the first signs of aging typically appear here. Caffeine may help perk up tired peepers. It also contains antioxidant properties.

Typically found in combination with other products like peptides and antioxidants, caffeine can help give the eyes a fresher appearance. Gently tap the product around the eye area to avoid pulling and tugging, which can damage fragile skin.

With a solid set of preventive anti-aging ingredients, along with a skincare routine that involves cleansing, moisturizing and protecting skin daily, you can help keep your skin healthy and glowing. Deciding what new ingredient to incorporate into a routine will ultimately depend on your skin type and individual concerns, but when it comes down to it, remember that consistency is the most valuable tool for maintaining a balanced and beautiful complexion.

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