If the price of some anti-ageing products on the market gives your bank balance nightmares or you're not sure which lotions and potions are really tricks disguised – and cleverly marketed – as treats, have no fear. We're here to help you sort through the beauty industry clutter and get to the four ingredients that, whether you're looking to hit the pause button or turn back the clock, really really work.
RETINOL: An oldie, but a goodie
Around since the early 1970s, every skincare enthusiast has heard of the vitamin A derivative, Retinol. Dubbed the dermatological "gold standard" in anti-ageing, Retinol lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, resurfacing the skin while boosting collagen production and minimising breakouts. It also stimulates the production of new blood vessels in the skin, improving skin colour, fading age spots and softening rough patches of skin.
First prescribed back in the day for the treatment of acne, Retinol has expanded its repertoire over the last 50 or so years to include the treatment of psoriasis and other skin conditions while remaining the go-to ingredient for those looking for a skincare regime with anti-ageing benefits as a top priority.
That's the good news. The bad news? The long-standing 'favourite child' in the anti-ageing ingredients family does have some side effects where sensitive skins are concerned. Irritation, redness, flaking, and photosensitivity make it intolerable for sensitive skin types and unsafe for use in pregnant and nursing women. So, as with all new additions to your skincare regime, chat with one of our therapists or doctors at any of our 18 Skin Renewal branches nationwide to check if Retinol is right for you.
GROWTH FACTORS: You're going to want to factor these in
A sensitive-skin-friendly alternative to Retinol, Growth Factors is pro-healing proteins that are safe to use on an ongoing, regular basis and are non-corrosive to the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis). Growth Factors are ideal for post-procedure use, particularly after treatments like micro-needling and lasers, thanks to the fact that this ingredient is proven to aid in tissue repair.
Starting from around our 25th birthday, our skin's natural production of collagen decreases, as does our skin's production levels of growth factors. Decreased collagen and growth factors mean an increase in fine lines coupled with thinning and sagging of the skin. Adding a topical growth factor into your routine can help to target the crucial turnover of cells, which translates into an increase in collagen and elastin production, and a decrease in the tell-tale signs of ageing. And maybe skipping the sunscreen (gasp!) in your 20s.
Not ready to ditch the old faithful (Retinol) for the new kid on the block? Well, you don't have to. If your skin tolerates Retinol, then you can use both ingredients together. In fact, the combination of Retinol and Growth Factors enhances the potency of your anti-ageing regimen, even buffering the skin from some of Retinol's less desirable side effects.
STEM CELLS: Cutting-edge science never gets old
The latest addition to the industry's anti-ageing arsenal? Stem cells. Yes, you read that correctly. The same 'ingredient' used in innovative medical research to treat Alzheimer's and certain types of cancer is now yours to buy in creams, serums and other skin care products.
It's important to note that the stem cells used in skincare come from plants and, occasionally, animals – working similarly to human stem cells to offer anti-ageing benefits for your skin. Both plant and human stem cells contain proteins and amino acids, which signal the body's cells to rejuvenate so that younger-looking skin can be achieved.
Think of stem cells as the building blocks for cell rejuvenation, leveraging the naturally occurring antioxidant properties within each stem cell to nourish skin cells, promotes cell turnover and increases collagen production.
PEPTIDES: Put a pep in your anti-ageing step
Before we get into the nitty gritty of Peptides, you need to know this: Collagen and elastin are the proteins; the more collagen and elastin you have in your skin, the fewer fine lines and wrinkles you'll have.
Peptides are a collection of short-chain amino acids that make up the foundation of all proteins in your body. So, no peptides, no collagen and elastin.
Peptides (molecules small enough to permeate the skin's outermost layer) deliver instructional messages and ingredients to your cells to increase collagen and elastin production, and peptide-infused skincare products give this anti-ageing activity a sense of urgency.
There are three main types of Peptides you should know about:
- Signal peptides, which tell skin cells to shift into repair mode, increasing collagen production.
- Carrier peptides, which hook themselves to another ingredient (like Retinol, vitamin C or Hyaluronic Acid) to deliver it deeper into the skin cells.
- Blocking peptides, which block the enzymes in our body that degrade collagen.
BEFORE TREATING YOURSELF…
Be sure to check with your therapist or doctor before incorporating any of the ingredients mentioned into your skincare regime. And don't be scared to take an "out with the old, in with the new" approach to your existing skincare selection of lotions and potions. As we age and our skins change, the go-to products of our "youth" may not be the wisest choice for our current skincare chapter.