Aging skin has unique needs and the right skincare routine can help to keep it looking radiant and beautiful for longer. These 5 skincare ingredients for aging skin are effective whether you’re getting on in years or you’re still youthful and want to try to maintain your youth for longer.
- Coenzyme Q-10
- Alpha hydroxy acids
- Vitamin C
- Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamin A analogs
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that is naturally found in your skin and helps to protect it from free radical damage. As your skin ages, levels of CoQ10 decline, and your skin is more susceptible to damage and aging from processes like sun exposure, stress, and even regular metabolic processes.
Not only can topical CoQ10 in the form of creams and gels reduce the effects of aging directly through activating the mitochondria of skin cells but it can also help to protect your skin from free radical-induced aging and lower some of the damage that is caused by sun exposure. That’s why so many anti-aging products and night creams contain this skincare ingredient.
If you want healthier, radiant skin that is protected from aging and free radical damage, seek out skin care products that contain CoQ10.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is actually a term referring to a class of natural acids that are chemically related. Many of these are relevant to skincare, including:
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Malic acid
- Citric acid
AHAs like glycolic acid are used in a huge variety of products because their effects change a little with the concentration and specific AHA used. Products meant to be left on your skin generally contain only a few percent concentration of an AHA while cleansers may contain 5–10% concentration.
Chemical peels are the most concentrated form and the AHA content is usually around 30–50% depending on which acid is being used. Some peels may go even higher than this but only a medical professional like a dermatologist should use high concentrations of AHAs in this manner.
While the concentration of AHA products varies, the benefits do not. All products containing AHAs help to stimulate collagen synthesis, eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, and even out your complexion. They can have a mild but definite lifting effect because of the collagen boost. This combination of benefits makes them great for aging skin but also for preventing the aging of your skin in the first place.
However, being acids, AHAs can irritate sensitive skin, especially in higher concentrations. They can also make your skin more susceptible to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, increasing the risk of sunburns and skin damage. If you use an AHA product, you can expect more youthful skin but you need to wear sunscreen when outdoors.
Vitamin C helps to improve the appearance of aging skin in two ways:
- Cleaning up free radicals as an antioxidant
- Increasing collagen synthesis
The effects of vitamin C are the same whether you consume it in food or apply it topically as a cream or gel. Applying it topically, directly to facial skin seems to be able to activate and improve collagen synthesis and stability to the application area. The absorbed vitamin C also helps to reduce free radical damage in this form through its action as an antioxidant.
All of this makes vitamin C a great ingredient to look for in any effective anti-aging skincare product and it’s often included in night creams. It works in a synergistic way with other ingredients like CoQ10, hyaluronic acid, and AHAs.
- Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduced hyperpigmentation
- Less yellowing of skin
- Improved elasticity and youthfulness
- Reduced rosacea (skin redness)
- Improved skin evenness
In addition to these benefits, niacinamide seems to be able to improve the skin barrier. This can help your skin to stay hydrated and lower the risk of infections and irritation.
Squalane is the hydrogenated shelf-stable version of a very similar natural oily substance that your skin produces. It protects and nourishes dry skin.
However, like with other important substances within your skin, levels decrease as you age. Using it as an ingredient helps to boost levels back up to level and this has some anti-aging effects. It helps to reduce the presence and damage of free radicals in addition to protecting your skin by repairing its external barrier.
Hyaluronic acid is another natural component of your skin that decreases with age. This is particularly bad because hyaluronic acid promotes the synthesis of collagen and elastin. The age-related decline leads to thinner, saggier skin as a result.
Luckily, topical delivery of hyaluronic acid in skin care products helps to prevent the negative effects of aging on your skin. It reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin hydration, and improves the stability of collagen and elastin to help make your skin look more youthful.
It’s also another skincare ingredient that is a common fixture in anti-aging creams and works synergistically with other compounds like vitamin C and AHAs.
Vitamin A Analogues
Vitamin A has many roles in the maintenance of healthy skin. This is why its analogs are some of the most powerful skincare ingredients possible.
Analogs (retinoids) like isotretinoin and adapalene have powerful anti-acne treatment effects. Other retinoids like retinol, retinoic acid, and tretinoin are all used to reduce the effects of aging. They produce the following benefits:
- Reduction in wrinkles
- Improved complexion
- Improved skin evenness
- Increased skin cell turnover and renewal
- Boosted collagen synthesis
- Reduction in excessive oiliness
- Reduction in risk of clogged pores
Retinoid treatments need to be used for weeks or months to start to see an effect, however. When retinoids are used over an even longer time frame of years, the difference is immense because they not only reduce existing aging but have an incredible anti-aging effect. The earlier you start, the better.
Not everyone is right for this kind of treatment though. Retinoids can cause irritation and flaking of sensitive skin. They also make your skin more susceptible to sunburn and you’ll need to wear sunscreen during regular use. No other ingredient is as effective as an anti-aging agent though.
While certain combinations of ingredients are more effective together, you also shouldn’t mix retinoids with certain things like AHAs because they both exfoliate the skin and this can increase irritation.
Finding the perfect anti-aging product for your own needs is less about trying to pack in every effective ingredient you can find and more about ensuring that a few key ingredients are used together. For example, retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and CoQ10 all work very well together.
As with anything, even the best products can vary with your individual skin type too. Finding the right anti-aging skincare routine is more than just choosing the most powerful product.
What Is Skin Toner and Why Use It? – Toner is a skincare product that can be used as part of an anti-aging routine if you choose the right kind.
5 Tips to Brighten up a Dull Complexion – Aged skin often looks dull. Here’s some tips to make it more radiant.