With so many skin-care products available in the market today, a visit to the beauty aisle can cause a lot of confusion. We list down the anti-aging ingredients you should keep an eye out for—from sun protection to antioxidants—to help you age gracefully.
Sunblock. The number one thing that can speed up skin aging: sun exposure. The sun sets the stage for photoaging, or the premature aging of the skin from repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This sun damage is more obvious on the face and the back of your hands, areas that typically aren’t covered and thus receive plenty of sun. Some signs of photoaging are dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
It’s thus important to wear sunblock every day. Choose one that is broad spectrum, meaning it protects you from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Wear it every day (yes, even on cloudy days) and apply enough of it—a shot glass’s worth can cover your entire body—15 minutes before sun exposure. (Read more about the importance of sunblock here.
Vitamin A. While Vitamin A is more commonly associated with eye health, it can also be good for skin. More popularly known in skin-care products as retinol, it can help improve the appearance of age spots and help in the production of collagen. Research published in the journal Archives of Dermatology noted that the topical application of retinol “improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging.”
Vitamin C. This antioxidant can be found in citrus fruits and vegetables like broccoli, has a number of benefits for the skin. Antioxidants are substances that help fight off cell-damaging free radicals.
A 2017 review concluded that it can boost the production of collagen, which is responsible for skin elasticity. Vitamin C may also provide an extra line of defense against UV rays. Plus, it can help fight hyperpigmentation and discoloration. If you do decide to use a Vitamin C product on your skin, apply it in the morning to help you get extra protection from the sun and other skin stressors like pollution, and make sure you store it in a cool, dry place to keep them for longer.
CoQ10. CoQ10, or co-enzyme Q10, is another antioxidant that similarly fights off free radicals and reducs the effects of sun damage. It does have the added benefit of possibly being an indicator of skin cancer risk: In research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, experts stated that their findings “suggest that baseline plasma CoQ10 levels are a powerful and independent prognostic factor than can be used to estimate the risk of melanoma progression.” Natural sources of CoQ10 include red meat, oily fish like salmon and mackerel, nuts, and beans.
Resveratrol. Still another member of the antioxidant family, resveratrol can be found in grape skin, peanuts, and dark chocolate. It can also help protect skin from environmental stressors. Some products with resveratrol claim to renew cells and thus help make skin feel firmer. The experts say, though, that when using antioxidants for skin care, it’s best to use a combination to max out their benefits.
Biotin. Also known as Vitamin B, biotin can be found in protein-rich foods like red meat and eggs. There are no conclusive studies to support its supposed benefits but anecdotal evidence states that it’s good for hair, skin, and nails. In particular, it’s said to help make hair thicker and nails stronger. Those who are biotin-deficient may also get red, scaly rashes.
Probiotics. Probiotics, those live microorganisms that help keep your gut healthy, can be just as good for your outside as they are for your insides. Topical probiotic skin-care products can help fight off bad bacteria to bring balance to your skin, strengthen the skin barrier to protect it from pollution and other environmental aggressors, and reduce inflammation, which can lead to skin problems.
You can find a range of skin-care products with these anti-aging ingredients at Healthy Options. Make sure that you choose one that is formulated for your skin type. Thinking of taking a supplement? First evaluate your diet to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, then consult with your doctor about supplementation.