- Alpha hydroxy acids. When dead skin cells build up on the skin’s surface, they not only make your complexion look lackluster and weary, but they can lead to other skin concerns, too. Dead skin can mix with oil and bacteria to cause breakouts. And a dead skin pileup can prevent your products from actually penetrating the skin and doing their job. Fortunately, alpha hydroxy acids boast years of efficacious evidence, and help slough off dead skin cells, brightening the skin and giving it a radiant, healthy glow.
Glycolic acid is a particularly potent alpha hydroxy acid, while lactic acid is gentler and a better option for dry, irritation-prone skin. M.D. Forte formulas feature different concentrations of physician-strength glycolic acid. Philosophy Multi-Use Peel Pads contain lactic acid to effectively exfoliate the skin without irritating it. You can also use the pads on your décolleté and rough areas like the knees and elbows.
- Retinoids. We talk about retinoids a lot at Skincare-News, but that’s because they’re truly the gold standard for anti-aging treatments. One of the best reasons to use a retinoid is that it not only prevents problematic skin but it also repairs damage. These well-researched vitamin A-derivatives boost collagen production and cell turnover, which means that retinoids can reduce wrinkles, lines, roughness, dullness and even acne.
While retinoids don’t provide instant improvement, they’re incredibly effective in the long term. It may take a few months for your skin to adjust to retinoids – they can be irritating – and see noticeable results. For more reasons to try retinoids and how to use them, see our article here.
If you aren’t ready to visit the dermatologist just yet – retinoids are only available by prescription – then try out retinol products, which you can find over the counter. They’re less potent than retinoids but they’re also less irritating. Afirm offers retinol in three strengths, so whether you have sensitive skin or tolerant skin, you can find the precise product you need.
- Antioxidants. Antioxidants are great ingredients to add to your regimen long term. The reason? “Antioxidants can reduce the harmful effects of free radicals, which are molecules that injure the skin's cells and cause inflammation, increase sun damage and contribute to the development of skin cancer,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
An antioxidant serum is one of the best ways to deliver potent antioxidants like vitamin C or coffeeberry. “If you're going to splurge on any product in your arsenal, this is one of two places to do it - good facial serums deliver highly concentrated antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients, giving you a lot of bang for your buck,” writes dermatologist Leslie Baumann on her Yahoo! Health blog, The Skin Guru. For instance, Dr. Baumann uses SkinCeuticals C E ferulic, which protects the skin, neutralizes free radicals and builds collagen.
- Niacinamide. This lesser-known ingredient is a form of vitamin B3, and you may be surprised to learn that it’s a superior skin-boosting multi-tasker. Dr. Baumann calls it her favorite ingredient. Why? Research shows that niacinamide staves off dark spots, effectively hydrates the skin and can help UV-caused DNA damage. It also strengthens your skin barrier by generating more ceramides and fatty acids – important components of your barrier, according to Dr. Baumann. A strong barrier is key because it keeps out irritants and keeps in moisture. Niacinamide is even gentle enough for sensitive, irritation-prone skin. You can find niacinamide in Olay formulas, including the Regenerist and Definity lines and NIA24.
- Peptides. According to the AAD, these small proteins promote collagen production, thicken the skin and have reparative properties (so do retinoids, by the way). Here’s how peptides work, according to dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., on The Dermatology Blog: “One strategy to improve wrinkles and to make you look younger is to replace lost collagen. When collagen breaks down, it forms specific peptides. These peptides act as a signal to tell your skin it was damaged and to make new collagen.”
Applying peptides tricks the skin into producing more collagen. One of the most popular peptides is Matrixyl, writes Dr. Benabio. You can find Matrixyl in the Olay Regenerist line, which he recommends to his patients.
Copper peptides may be helpful, too. According to Dr. Benabio, copper peptides appear to also encourage collagen synthesis and perform like antioxidants, and you can find them in affordable brands like Neutrogena. For instance, Neutrogena Visibly Firm Night Cream contains a copper peptide formula, which leads to smoother, more hydrated and firmer skin.
While most of these ingredients require some time – and patience – before they start working, the results are absolutely worth the wait. Instead of masking skincare concerns, these five ingredients help you achieve and maintain healthier, more radiant skin – and in the long run.
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