Nowadays, people require anti-aging skincare products more than ever before. There are hundreds of companies that announce to have skincare products containing the best anti-aging ingredients. And it becomes challenging to navigate what to incorporate into your skincare regime. Below listed are the top 10 anti-aging ingredients that will make the skin healthy and clean.
Table of Contents
10 Best Anti-Aging Ingredients for Skincare
1. Alpha Hydrochloric Acid
Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a type of chemical compound that consists of a carboxylic acid substituted with a hydroxy group substituted by a hydroxy group. The most commonly used acid from this group of acids is glycolic acid and lactic acid. Others from this family-like malic acid, citric acid, pyruvic acid, tartaric acid have similar functioning. These may be naturally occurring as well as synthetic and are famous mainly for their use in the cosmetic industry. Many anti-aging skincare products contain this ingredient to reduce wrinkles and soften skin.
However, the exact mechanism by which Alpha Hydrochloric Acids help the skin from degenerating is unknown. The most widely accepted explanation for its working is that these acids remove calcium ions from epidermal cell adhesions. And it results in the weakening of cellular adhesions and thus has an effect of exfoliating. It causes the shedding of dry and dead cells from the epidermal cells and promotes further growth of cells. This process slows cell differentiation and therefore lessens the appearance of wrinkles and makes the skin young and fresh. These acids can also promote gene expression of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which improves the hydration and overall condition of the skin.
Many over the counter products contain low concentrations (5-10%) of Alpha Hydroxy Acids. It can help with adhesion and promote exfoliation. Nowadays, many people use these kinds of products as a part of the daily skincare regime. At a concentration of 10-50%, its effects are more pronounced.
Retinol has another name called Vitamin A. It is a type of vitamin in food, which is essential for various functioning of the body from eyesight to metabolism. Lack of this vitamin causes xerophthalmia. People use it in the cosmetic industry as a potential treatment of photoaging on human skin. It can function by inducing the thickening of epidermal cells and enhance the expression of specific RNAs and proteins, which help the skin look youthful. Studies have confirmed that retinol produces less transepidermal water loss and scaling compared to other products. It also inhibits UV induction and stimulates the synthesis of collagen in aged skin.
Retinols come by several names in several strengths ranging from OTC anti-aging products known as retinol to prescribed skin care products known as retinoids. Once a person crossed his/her twenties, the skin’s regenerative capability decreases. Slow regeneration causes the skin to look dry and damaged. Retinol, however, is absorbed into the skin and increases the regenerative capability. It can thicken the deep skin layers and enhance the skin’s ability to retain water. This process causes the skin to form fewer wrinkles and improves fine lines. It thins the uppermost layer of the skin. Also, this anti-aging ingredient helps to minimize skin discoloration like age spots and even out texture. By increasing collagen and elastin production, it also helps to plump the skin and open skin pores.
Studies have shown that it also improves the skin’s uptake of certain medications. As retinol works on the cellular level, the results are not visible immediately. It usually takes about six months for a smoother, more even-toned skin.
Niacinamide is a hydrophilic endogenous substance. And it is a form of vitamin B3. It is a component of coenzymes that can help in transferring hydrogen. Niacinamide has properties like antimicrobial, vasoactive, photoprotective, and antipruritic. These properties depend on the amount and concentration used. This water-soluble vitamin is historically referred to as PP because of its ability to prevent pellagra as it forms NADP and NAD. NADP and NAD decrease in its function and number as we age. Using supplements on the skin with niacinamide can provide anti-aging benefits.
Niacinamide controls the complex metabolic pathways of signaling and transcription by inhibiting the nuclear polymerases. By controlling the formation of NADH and NADPH, it acts as antioxidants that can lessen the effects of oxidative stress. This anti-aging ingredient is also able to stimulate keratinocyte differentiation. This vitamin B also has an anti-inflammatory action, which is due to the inhibition of nuclear factor called Nf-KB. It reduces inflammation and prevents degranulation of cells.
Niacinamide is a well-tolerated and relatively safe substance used in various dermatological cases. It has a stabilizing effect, which reduces epidermal water loss and improves skin moisture. In aging skin, the application of this vitamin B3 improves the skin by smoothening out the wrinkles and preventing photo-carcinogenesis. Topical niacinamide can help in treating the skin. Usually, the skin may clear within 12 weeks. Because of this, niacinamide has been a preferred anti-aging skincare product for various skin disorders.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for the normal functioning of the human body. It is also known as ascorbic acid and is involved in the repair of tissues and enzyme production of a few neurotransmitters. Also, it affects the immune system of the body and functions as an antioxidant. Thus, it is the safest and essential vitamin in the health system. The deficiency of this vitamin makes collagen in the body unstable to perform its function. Several other enzymes also do not operate correctly. It affects the skin by causing poor wound healing, thickening of stratum corneum, and subcutaneous bleeding.
The current studies have shown that vitamin C helps the skin as it encourages collagen formation and gives antioxidant protection. Collagen is an important thing to keep the skin young. Plenty of collagen makes the skin firm and gives a smooth appearance. As we age, collagen production decreases, and wrinkles appear as a sign of aging. Vitamin C here acts as a cofactor that stabilizes the collagen’s tertiary structure and promotes collagen gene expression. Collagen enzymes are dependent on vitamin C for synthesis as well as cross-linking. Vitamin C stimulates collagen mRNA production and stabilizes the produced collagen. It also helps protect the skin from free radicles that speed up the degradation of skin. It neutralizes the oxidants found after exposure to pollutants and ultraviolet radiation. Oxidative stress leads to dull-looking skin with aging signs, and Vitamin C gives the skin the boost it needs to look young.
Our body cannot produce or store vitamin C, so we need to consume or apply nutrients daily. People increasingly use it in topical skin products that help in minimizing the effects of aging.
Curcuminoid is a molecule derivative of curcumin with a different chemical group that increases the solubility of curcumins. This solubility is due to natural phenols in yellow color, which makes it suitable for drug formation. It is difficult to obtain stable curcumin derivatives, and therefore it has to be synthesized. It is isolated from turmeric and is increasing its popularity in the medical community. And it is used to treat inflammatory, neoplastic diseases and as an active agent to treat several skin conditions. Researches have also shown turmeric as a potential ingredient to treat arthritis, stabilize diabetes, lower cholesterol, and hypertension in addition to its anti-aging benefits.
In recent years, research on curcumin has increased. Curcuminoid can be used for its different biological properties, especially for the treatment of skin disorders like scleroderma, psoriasis, and skin cancer. Curcumin acts as an antioxidant quenching free radicles. It inhibits nuclear factors called KB inhibition to reduce the inflammation and improve the wound healing process and collagen deposition. It increases vascular density, which enriches the appearance of skin. Continued application of this compound improves the epithelial cell survival. The phenomenon of inflammation is the most crucial factor that hastens the aging process. Still, curcumins sustain this by hyperproduction of ROS.
Nowadays, people incorporate these turmeric derivative compounds into ointments and lotions. In some South Asian countries, people add turmeric spice in their diet. It can also be applied directly to the skin as a face mask regularly to reduce the signs of aging.
Ceramides are a family of lipid molecules. They are found in the cell membrane of the eukaryotic cells. These ceramide molecules are one of the major lipids that form a bilayer. These structural elements participate in various activities, including regulation of cell differentiation, cell death, etc. It also makes the skin to become water permeable and help to regulate water transpiration from the body. It does so by working together with cholesterol and saturated fatty acids – 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% fatty acids.
Ceramides, being the major lipid constituent of the stratum corneum, provides a barrier to the epidermis. It is structurally heterogeneous and contains derivatives of sphingosine bases. It plays an essential role in structuring and maintaining the permeability of the skin. Therefore, most skin disorders, including aging, can be linked to differences in ceramide patterns. As ceramides hold the skin together and form a protective layer, it minimizes visible damages from stressors.
Aging and sun reduce the effectiveness and number of the protective layer of lipid – ceramides. This depletion weakens the skin and results in drier, rougher, wrinkled, and irritated skin with signs of dehydration as it is unable to hold moisture. Using additional products with ceramides on the skin can help to reinforce the skin lipid barrier. Thus, the hydration of the skin will increase, making the skin plumper, smoother, with lesser wrinkles and with fewer signs of sensitivity. Moreover, we can use ceramides on any skin type with any level of sensitivity.
Resveratrol is a type of phenol that occurs naturally. Several plants can produce it in response to the attack by bacteria and fungi. This naturally occurring polyphenol is a type of antioxidant. And we can find it in plants like grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts. Studies have shown that resveratrol has other properties like anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. They can prevent the expression of certain chemicals that cause skin cancer or other related tumors. It also can protect against diabetes, reduce clotting, and obesity. Moreover, it is famous for its anti-aging benefits.
UV damage is one of the major causes of premature skin aging. Resveratrol can protect this premature aging by working on a cellular level and maintain a youthful appearance. It works by protecting and fixing the external factors. It significantly reduces melanoma cell activity and its cytotoxicity. Resveratrol inhibits activities like lipid peroxidation, decarboxylase activities, and protein expression in the skin. This anti-aging ingredient can prevent UV mediated damage in the skin and boost the skin’s ability to defend itself and repair itself.
Research shows that resveratrol works best when we apply it directly to the skin rather than consume it. The direct application allows penetration to skin and starts showing results faster by stimulating the skin’s existing defense system against antioxidants. It regenerated the skin to give a smooth and radiant looking. This soluble complex has inactivating ions, which make it effective in combating the damages caused by free radicles and stimulate healthy cell division and collagen synthesis.
8. Vitamin E
Vitamin E consists of eight different soluble compounds, which give the vitamin its property of it being a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects membranes from reactive oxygen. It is, therefore, able to donate hydrogen and reduce free radicles. Its hydrophobic tail allows penetration into different lipid bilayers. The deficiency of this vitamin is rare, but it can cause nerve problems. And a small amount of vitamin E in the diet can reduce incidences of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and dementia. In addition to this, its antioxidant properties make it an effective skincare vitamin. Many supplements or lotions and oils incorporate vitamin E.
When skin is exposed to sun or other environmental stress – heat, UV rays, dust, pollution – it forms free radicles on the skin. These radicles are the main culprits that damage healthy young cells. Vitamin E can stabilize these radicles by inhibiting the oxidation of fatty acids and cell membranes. It reduces sunburned cells, UV-affected skin damage, and the effect of photo-carcinogen. This free radicle scavenger neutralizes the free radicles and prevents damaging the skin. It can prevent premature aging. And it can be effective to reduce liver spots, scars, wrinkles, and restore hydration of the skin.
We can supplement vitamin E through the consumption of nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, and oils. And we can easily find vitamin E in different multivitamins and skin care lotions. It is available for topical application, which yields faster results. The ideal time to take this vitamin is at night, as the skin can heal itself overnight. This anti-aging ingredient works best when it is mixed with other antioxidants like vitamin C or oils like olive oil. So it can make the skin more permeable and able to hold in necessary moisture.
9. Urolithin A
Urolithin A is a metabolite compound that belongs to the class of organic benzo compounds. We can easily find Urolithin A in plants like pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, and walnuts. Only some gut bacteria can form ellagitannins and ellagic acids into Urolithin A. After the synthesis of Urolithin A, it enters the systemic circulation and becomes available to tissues. This metabolite is known to improve the functioning of the mitochondria and slow the aging process in the body.
The functioning of mitochondria and muscles decreases with age as both of them start to degenerate. Mitochondria, being the powerhouse of the cells, are essential for all the activities in the body, including repairing. The functioning of mitochondria is compromised as we age because of its build-up in the muscle cells. Our body is constantly removing damaged mitochondria, but this process slows down when we are getting old. As a result, it causes age-related muscle weakening. Urolithin A acts on this condition by slowing down muscle weakening and replacing the damaged mitochondria with healthy ones. Till now, the only method to slow down the deterioration of mitochondria was regular exercise. Still, researches have some promising results indicating this compound has positive anti-aging effects.
Urolithin A is a dietary supplement. It is not usually incorporated into multivitamin dosages or as skincare creams for application. The best-known way is to include foods like pomegranates, strawberries, and nuts as a part of a regular diet.
10. Coenzyme Q-10
Coenzyme Q-10 is a lipid-soluble antioxidant. It is a central component in the electron transport chain of the mitochondria, where it provides energy to transfer electrons from one complex to another and to translocate protons in the membrane. This structural part of mitochondria is found in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas in the highest number. Studies have shown that this coenzyme has anti-aging effects by improving the hydration, thickness, and elasticity of the skin.
CoQ10 helps the mitochondria function better. Cells get their energy from mitochondria by using oxygen. However, as we age, the metabolism of the cells decreases. Skin starts to shift its method of using energy to non-mitochondrial pathways. As a result, it triggers the breakdown of skin structure and causes wrinkles and saggy skin. CoQ10 preserves the functioning of mitochondria and lowers skin destruction and thus slows aging. This anti-aging ingredient can turn on genes that make collagen, which maintains the elasticity of the skin. Protection against oxidative stress reduces the appearance of dark spots and give a youthful even-toned skin.
CoQ10s are available as ointments or incorporated into skincare products that can be applied to the skin directly. People usually take CoQ10s as oral supplements as it will have a positive impact on other organs like the brain, heart, and liver.