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Global Rejuvenation: Reading the Labels

Sep 26, 2012 01:39PM ● By Anonymous

Taking on all of these age reflective elements of our appearance in an attempt to fight and correct the obvious signs of aging is called “global rejuvenation.” And while there are rows upon rows of products that promise to turn back time, when we consider each of the things we’d like to correct, in addition to each of the areas we’d like to affect, shopping for a solution is daunting.

Toss your worries aside. Turns out, the key to each of these products is active ingredients. Just like checking the back of a cereal box, checking the labels on skincare products can help us get exactly want we want for our bodies.

Save time and stress by learning to identify the key ingredients that rejuvenate skin and help you accomplish your skincare goals.

Fine Lines, Wrinkles, and General Droopiness

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, as skin ages, it becomes thinner and less elastic because collagen and elastin, the tissues that keep the skin firm, become weaker. (Smoking, tanning, and sun exposure—all of which diminish elasticity—can speed this up.) The process leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, and general “facial deflation.”

When it comes to facial deflation, in which youthful full, round, plump skin depresses to look shadowed and dark, dermatologists look to what are called “fillers.” Typically, fillers are injected into the skin (like, Juvederm or Collagen, yet not to be confused with Botox, a relaxer), but there are topical solutions that may be able to precede or complement those injections.

If you consider that collagen occurs naturally, just less bountifully as we age, it makes sense that products that encourage the skin to make more collagen will help to plump up skin and reduce lines and winkles.

Palmitoyl Pentapeptides (Matrixyl) and other polypeptides may stimulate collagen production at the cellular level. Though hard to pronounce, palmitoyl pentapeptides are old, but proven, news. An article in a 2005 issue of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face clinical study testing two products, a moisturizer control product versus the same product with palmitoyl pentapeptides, showed that the latter provided “significant improvement...for reduction in wrinkles and fines lines.”

Dr. Rebecca Kazin of the American Academy of Dermatology says that while some people do report such results from the use of polypeptides, in other cases, the polypeptides lay in wrinkles topically, making them look better, but not necessarily penetrating the skin. (Either way, we’re hearing that it’s worth a shot!)

Kazin also recommends the use of retinol (a form of Vitamin A) as, she says, it increases cell turnover that will help decrease fine lines and wrinkles, cause some exfoliation, and build collagen. Dr. Maral Skelsey, also of the AAD, agrees. “[Retinol] is great for exfoliation and helping to regenerate new collagen and reduce fine lines,” she says. In fact, she adds “For fine lines, the best products contain retinol or retin A.”

That’s a lot of bang for your rejuvenation buck.

Some organizations, like the Mayo Clinic, suggest that topically applied vitamin C (when the ingredient includes three to 10 percent of it,) may improve the look of wrinkled skin “as evidenced by improved fine and coarse wrinkling, yellowing and shallowness, roughness, and skin tone.”

Key words to look for: Retinol (Vitamin A), Retin A: PAL-KTTKS, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, Poly Peptides or Matrixyl; Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

Puffy Eyes

The irony that both deflation and puffiness are signs of aging is not lost on us. How frustrating it is to have to buy something that both deflates our puffy eyes and inflates our deflated cheeks. Even more ironic, that same loosened elasticity and those same weakened tissues that make our skin sag, are what make our eyes puff.

Ahhh, aging.

The good news is, not only can the products that improve wrinkling, sagging skin help with your puffy eyes too, there is another key ingredient that will calm the puff problem.

While the cold of cucumbers and frozen teabags (and yes, WebMD tells us that it’s the cold element of those things that help), provides temporary relief, there are a few other elements in topical creams that can boost the substantiality of the fix.

A popular ingredient claimed to help with under-eye puffiness is Vitamin K, however, both of the experts we spoke to are hesitant to confirm its effect.

“It’s not clear how well Vitamin K works,” says Skelsey. “But products with caffeine can help the puffiness under eyes and help to constrict blood vessels in people with redness and rosacea.”

Key words to look for: Caffeine

Age Spots

Have you started to notice uneven skin tone, or age spots? Sure, there’s an app(lication) for that. Hydroquinone—skin bleach—can improve the appearance of both, uneven skin tone and age spots. “You can get it in two percent over the counter, or at prescription strength,” says Kazin. “It definitely helps.”

Skelsey suggests a familiar addition. “For age spots hydroquinone works well,” she says. “Again, with retin A it works better.”

Experiencing discoloration in the form of under-eye darkness? That might be a little trickier, the experts say. Vitamin K may help, but Kazin warns, in some cases, it’s just plain genetic.

“Vitamin K can improve darkness if [they are the result of] broken blood vessels. So if you can see broken capillaries, then maybe,” she says. But, she says, if it’s the result of genetics, Vitamin K probably won’t help you. She adds that people with fair skin may benefit more from Vitamin K, whereas people with darker skin are more genetically inclined to dark under eye circles. [Note: rubbing your eyes can be a culprit, so if you’re guilty, try to stop.]

Antioxidants like Vitamins C and E could also help with under eye darkness. “They neutralize free radicals, but they seem to do some similar things that some of the other things do: decrease fine lines, light brown spots,” says Kazin. “The problem with antioxidants is that they can be irritating. The amount, the formulation,—not every Vitamin C is the same. There are numerous antioxidants,” so you have to find one you like, that your skin can tolerate. “Add one product at a time.”

To further the validity of this advice, the AAD says we should be weary of products that contain more than one of these ingredients—while all-in-one products are popular and seem simpler, they lack reputation. “Although the individual ingredients in combination products have been studied, the combination of their active ingredients has not.”

Key words to look for: Vitamin K, Vitamins C or E, Antioxidants

We’re inundated with products promising to turn back the clock. But when it comes to skin rejuvenation, there are many factors to consider—our target problem areas, our skin types and others. Make the best of your skincare efforts by considering the right ingredients for your goals.