Anti aging skin care is in a state of constant development. With huge profits being ploughed into more and more research, cosmetic companies and dermatologists are continually taking the quest for the ultimate anti aging ingredient up to the next level.
So how do you pick your way through the science if you’re not a scientist?
What should you be looking for in a cream to avoid wasting your money on ingredients that simply don’t do what they claim?
Skin care manufacturers sell their anti aging products on the basis of comparatively small amounts of active ingredients.
Product formulations contain a mind boggling number of ingredients with names that don’t trip off the tongue – but few of them actually do anything to rejuvenate your skin.
Much of the ingredients list will be made up of things like emulsifiers that bind a cream together, preservatives that stop it going off, or humectants that lock in moisture.
The ingredients that do have an anti aging effect (read more at Anne Hathaway Aging) are called “active” ingredients and it is these that you need to be aware of when searching for a product that has even the remotest possibility of working on your wrinkles.
Our problem as consumers is that ingredient lists on skin care products make no distinction between active ingredients and inactive ingredients so finding the information you want isn’t as simple as it should be.
There are two key questions to ask about any anti aging ingredient.
The best anti aging skin care is often produced by dermatologist led brands and these companies spend a lot of money on research and development before a product is launched on the market. But – buyer beware – these are not independent studies of effectiveness.
Many times skin care companies use in-house facilities to test products or pay for outside labs to do the work for them. Results are used in marketing the skin care line – as in: “50% of women found a reduction in wrinkles over 4 weeks use”.
Whilst results from this kind of clinical testing show us something – the research is set up and paid for so that the makers can market their product and the results will be expressed in the best possible light.
What ‘independent’ research means is when scientists (from Universities, Schools of Medicine or other independent institutions) set up studies of ingredients and test for efficacy in a lab or with human volunteers. The results of these studies are ‘peer reviewed’ which means other scientists look at the research and give it their approval or point out its weaknesses.
Testing of this sort is then published in learned academic journals. This is the kind of clinical study that truly shows an ingredient works to reduce the signs of aging.
And there’s the problem right there – money. You need a lot of it to run a research study and most of it is being spent by skin care companies who have an interest in the results. So independent results are harder to come by.
Not surprisingly – there are precious few active ingredients that have been shown by independent research to improve the symptoms of skin aging – here’s my list of the ones that have:
Of course there are a lot of other ingredients that cosmetic scientists claim have anti aging effects – new products are being developed around them all the time. Many are ingredients with health benefits or rejuvenating effect when taken orally but with little clinical date on topical application.
What they lack is proper independent research to show their effectiveness – but if you want to blaze a trail you could do a lot worse. Among the ones to watch out for: Alpha Lipoic Acid, CoQ10, Idebone, Lycopene, Astaxanthin, Green Tea, Hyalauronic Acid, Kinetin and there are others emerging all the time.
Whatever type of cream you choose – in the end sticking with a few tried and trusted anti aging ingredients at least makes the choice a bit easier.
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