Ingredients to look for in Anti-Aging Products



By Rachel Ramirez

With all the talk about aging linked to factors such as free radical damage, loss of collagen and loss of elasticity, there is confusion about which products to use that deliver the best results. The modern consumer wants to invest in quality products and see visible results, but the question becomes, does one need to invest in a multiple-step regimen to minimize or repair the signs of aging. The answer is no, if the consumer knows which ingredients to look for when choosing and purchasing skincare. The following ingredients are ideal for all skin types and can deliver results in as little as 21-30 days (best results are viewed after approximately 30 days, since this is a complete skin cell cycle).

Hyaluronic Acid – Known as HA, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring component in humans and is found in joints, eyes and heart valves. HA can bind 1000x its weight in water, and when applied topically, can hydrate without clogging pores. After the first use of HA, skin looks plump and full, and after cumulative use, skin appears hydrated with very few lines and wrinkles. HA is found in serums, face moisturizers and eye creams.

Peptides – Special proteins that match the proteins found on the skin’s surface. Peptides firm and tighten, and since over time skin naturally loses its ability to create proteins, peptides help repair and preserve skin structure. Found in serums, face moisturizers and eye creams.

Glycolic and Lactic Acids – Both exfoliate and slough off dead skin cells without the use of a physical action, or a micro bead (some consumers, especially those with easily irritated skin, cannot use micro bead exfoliators) and both help push forward new skin cells, leading to evening out the skin surface and, over time, skin tone. Glycolic acid is found in cleansers, toners, serums and face moisturizers, and lactic acid is usually found in cleansers, but can also be used in face moisturizers.

Retinols, Retinoids and Retin A – All three are derived from vitamin A and, like glycolic and lactic acid, help push forward new skin cells, but at a quicker-than-average rate. These three are ideal for acne-prone skin since they exfoliate without a physical action, which can spread bacteria throughout the surface. Retinols and retinoids are found in over-the-counter products such as serums and moisturizers, and Retin A is prescribed by a dermatologist.

Vitamins A, C and E – Everyday, we face not only the sun, but pollution, smog and other environmental aggressors (or free radicals) that can lead to skin cell breakdown, thus accelerating the aging process. These three vitamins help keep skin cell structure intact, and vitamin C also brightens, repairs sun damage and preserves collagen.

Consumers who want to invest in only 1 or 2 products should consider both an eye cream, since the skin around the eyes is 3 times thinner than the skin on the face and is the first area to show signs of fatigue, stress and dryness, and a serum, since serums are more concentrated than moisturizers and sit closet to the skin. Also, don’t forget to treat internally by taking a daily collagen supplement, since collagen loss begins at age 25 in both males and females and production ceases in the early 40’s. Collagen gives skin its elasticity, fullness and plumpness, and although the epidermis (outer layer) absorbs topical products, they do not reach the dermis, or true skin. Collagen supplements are synergistic, and can benefit not only the skin but also hair, nails, blood vessels, joints and gums.

Rachel Ramirez has written for Modern Latina since 2006, in addition to  Many of her articles reflect her interest and specialty in skin, beauty, and nutrition.  Rachel received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from San Jose State University and currently is a skincare expert with Sephora.