If you’ve ever stood in the aisle of the skin care section of your favorite cosmetics department looking for a face cream to help you look younger and healthier, you know how confusing it can be to find a product that will help improve the look and texture of your skin.
As confusing as it is, I’d have to admit that science and research has become our best friend in the quest for younger looking skin, and the quest isn’t over, there are promising new studies and clinical tests every day that help us understand what it takes to stay young and youthful.
Then why are we so confused about what we need? According to consumer industry tracker Packaged Facts, the 2004 U.S. skincare sales reached $6.4 billion and is expected to reach over $9 billion by the year 2010. If you consider all the skincare manufacturers competing for their share of the industry it’s not surprising that we fall prey to the more prominent marketing hype and miss the actual research findings.
The best advice is to do your homework. Understand what your needs are and be realistic about the results. Don’t expect a magic potion that will erase years off your face in a few days.It took years for those lines and wrinkles to develop, it isn’t practical to expect they will disappear in a few days.
It’s also important to remember that the aging process can only be slowed down, it can’t be reversed. Everyone experiences different levels of improvement. Skin care experts have found it reasonable to expect about a 30% improvement over the course of six to eight weeks time.
The best place to start is to identify what your skin care needs are. Read the labels and understand what the ingredients do. Depending on what doctors, specialists and advertisers you talk to, you’re likely to get differing answers but if you do your homework by researching the ingredients and using products as prescribed, you will most likely see a difference.
Here are a few facts on the most popular ingredients.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA): AHA’s are used as a skin exfoliator. It can clear pores and rid the skin of dead cells. Beta Hydroxy or salicylic acids are often used for acne prone skin but can be a bit drying. Experts seem to agree that AHA’s are an excellent skin exfoliator but it is questionable as an anti-aging ingredient.
Copper peptides: It is not conclusive as to whether copper peptides can reduce the aging process by reducing wrinkles and other signs of aging in the skin. It may be possible since copper peptides seem to stimulate the production of collagen in unscarred skin and help reduce skin inflammation, however there is a lack of clinical evidence and more extensive research studies are needed before the experts can agree completely on these claims.
Green tea: teas, be it black, white or green contain antioxidants which are clinically known to fight off free radicals. Most skin care experts agree that these teas can help decrease inflammation and swelling of the skin and can also decrease the effects of UV exposure. Skin care products that contain antioxidant teas are often recommended.
Hyaluronic acid: is a humectant that occurs naturally in humans, animals and in young skin, however aging, smoking and dieting can result in its loss.
Hyaluronic Acid has often been used as an injected lubricant for osteoarthritis and other ailments. When applied topically,it helps retain moisture and has been used to plump the skin. Experts can agree that it is excellent in helping retain moisture but are unsure of its long-lasting value.
Kinetin: Kinetin is a plant-growth hormone, and its technical name is N6-furfuryladenine. Kinetin can offer temporary hydrating benefits, however further applications of kinetin need to be investigated.Kinetin is probably best used as a preventive measure as opposed to reducing the look of aging.
Retinol: Most experts seem to agree that Retinol, (derivative of Vitamin A) and tretinoin (Retinol’s stronger counterpart) which is the active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova, are the most effective ingredients in the fight against anti-aging. They can help regenerate collagen to reduce lines and wrinkles, and help lighten dark spots, freckles and sun damaged skin.
Absorption is a key factor in using retinol so it is recommended that using a combination of retinol and palmitic acid (retinyl palmitate)be used for proper penetration at the cellular level, however if you use retinyl palmitate you will need to use more of this product than one that contains retinol to get the same effect.
Retin-A can cause skin sensitivity in which case retinol is an excellent alternative.
Soy: It is believed that soy has mild skin rejuvenating effects as itcontains botanically-based estrogen. IT contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory that soothe the skin but there are no anti-aging elements to soy.