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What ingredients should I look for when buying an anti-aging cream?

Hi Seti, I want to buy my mom a good anti-aging cream. What are the top three anti-aging ingredients I should look out for when researching products?


When addressing mature skin and anti-aging, our goal is to restore elasticity and firmness by stimulating collagen and elastin; soften fine lines and wrinkles; brighten, refresh and even skin tone from years of sun exposure and environmental damage; and finally to hydrate and plump skin giving it a more youthful and supple appearance.

As a skin care professional and consumer, my goal is always to choose products that accomplish at least three concerns, in other words, “cross-training”. Bear in mind though, that you want to pick your product based on the PRIMARY concern. More on that later. First, let’s look at my top picks.

1. Vitamin C. My all time favorite because this all-star ingredient is not only a powerful antioxidant that boosts and supports other antioxidants like Vitamin B and E, it also stimulates dermal collagen ,has photo-protective qualities (which is cumulative) and helps to balance discoloration and strengthens tissue. This is a must. You’ll want to look for a form of stabilized Vitamin C; SkinCeuticals offers a great selection.

2.Retinoids and Retinols: Over-the-counter retinols and prescription retinoids like Retin-A are derivatives of vitamin A. “Retinoids and retinols speed up and stimulate cell turnover and collagen production for smoother and younger-looking skin.” As noted by Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California medical school, no other ingredient has been more tested and proven by the medical community as an anti-aging antidote than retinoids.

3. Another strong antioxidant, Co-enzyme Q10 (which is actually vitamin Q) can help build the foundation needed for younger-looking skin. “Co-enzyme Q10 helps protect the elastic tissue and collagen that shape your skin,” explains Jessica Wu, As we get older, our natural co-enzyme Q10 levels diminish, slowing the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and protect itself from damage. To build levels of the co-enzyme, many find that taking a dietary supplement in addition to using topical creams yields optimal results. There’s a bonus to co-enzyme Q10 supplements, too — some researchers believe they aid in preventing heart disease.

So, if for example your mom’s main concern is discoloration and loss of firmness, I’d look for a potent Vitamin C product WITH a retinol and Co-enzyme Q10. For lines and wrinkles, look for a Retin-A product WITH CO-Q10. Note, that while CO-Q10 has great anti-aging benefits when taken internally, Vitamin C must be used topically in order to receive benefit to the skin.


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