We often see products marketed as ‘anti-ageing’ or ‘wrinkle-prevention’ but it’s hard to know what actually works and what is just marketing. Through my own research, I have compiled a list of products that have proven benefit to treating and preventing facial ageing.
It’s important to note that there isn’t a single product that works better than others, a combination of products and a healthy lifestyle are going to work best. I’d like to reiterate that this is my own research and you should do your own before completing anything on the list. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wrinkles and these products aren’t going to guarantee wrinkle free skin, as it’s a natural process apart of life.
According to skincancer.org, UV rays cause “more than 90 percent of the visible signs of aging, which include wrinkles, rough patches, sagging, and skin discoloration”. Sunscreen is not only one of the most important products for skin ageing prevention, but it also helps to protect against skin cancer. However, in order to see the full benefit you will need to apply it correctly. This includes:
- Ensuring it is broad spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB rays
- Applying chemical sunscreens 15-20 minutes before going outside
- Applying an adequate amount of sunscreen. This means 1/4 tsp for the face, 1/4 tsp for the neck, 1/2 tbsp to each arm and 1 tbsp to each of the legs, the back and the front of body
- Reapplying after 2 hours of cumulative sun exposure (e.g. If you’re indoors all day you don’t need to reapply unless you rub it off). If you are swimming or exercising or in excessive sun then you should reapply it more often.
- If using an insect repellent, reapplying more often as it can reduce the SPF by up to 1/3
There are plenty of great sunscreens out there and it is important you look for one that works well with your skin. Ensure it has a high SPF rating as well as UVA protection. For Asian sunscreens, look for a high PA rating. For European sunscreens, look for a high PPD rating. For Australian sunscreens, look for ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreens.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C has been proven to prevent changes associated with photo ageing, such as hyper pigmentation and dark discolouration. Studies have shown that it can help to significantly improve the appearance of wrinkles. It is also very high in antioxidants and can aid with shielding skin from damage from free radicles. I have written about Vitamin C in a previous blog post here.
There are several types of Vitamin C including l-ascorbic acid (ascorbic acid), sodium ascorbic phosphate, ascorbic palmitate, retinol ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. L-ascorbic is the most powerful of all of them, but the most unstable. Serums with this type of Vitamin C may only last a couple of months before they oxidise. However, there isn’t a ‘best’ type of Vitamin C and they’re all very beneficial!
Vitamin C from a lemon or an orange rubbed onto your skin is not the same as a well formulated product and will probably do more harm than good. Not only are they the wrong pH, but they can also cause phytophotodermatitis.
Some Vitamin C serums available to Australians are:
MooGoo Super Vitamin C Eye Serum – can be used on whole face (Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate)
Ultraceuticals Ultra C10+ Firming Serum (Ascorbic Acid)
Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster (Ascorbic Acid)
C20 OST Original Pure Vitamin C Serum (Ascorbic Acid)
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate)
These are just ones I’ve personally heard of, please let me know if you have any other great suggestions! Many people also make their own which is apparently quite easy and inexpensive to do. I will write up a post about that after trying it for myself.
3. Retinoids/Retinols (Vitamin A)
Retinoids are prescription topical treatments and are often prescribed to those with acne (including me in the past!). However, Rentinols are available over the counter and are a weaker version. These both help to stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of wrinkles, but can often be irritating to certain people. According to Paula’s Choice, it can also help improve pore function and size. The same link also has more information about choosing a product for you. Retinoids are stronger than retinols and therefore more likely to cause irritation. Check out this awesome diagram on Skinacea that shows the different types of retinoids, ranging from weakest to strongest.
Some prescription retinoids available in Australia are:
There are many over the counter retinol products available for us. Just look out for Retinyl palmitate, Retinol and Retinaldehyde.
Be sure to read Paula’s Choice to work out how to use these treatments and ask a professional before commencing with any new products.
4. Chemical Exfoliants
These include AHAs and BHAs. Chemical exfoliants help to improve collagen production and aid in improving your complexion. I’ve written an in-depth post about chemical exfoliation here, but I will give a quick run down.
AHAs (Alpha Gydroxy Acids) exfoliate the surface of your skin, helping to lighten sun damage and scars and also improving moisture. They improve the thickness of the dermal layer of the skin, but unfortunately also cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun. These are the products that will make your skin ‘glow’.
BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids) exfoliants work by penetrating the skin, rather than treating the surface. They help ‘unclog’ pores and increase cell turnover.
Products easily accessible for Australians are:
Paula’s Choice BHAs (several products)
Paula’s Choice AHAs (several products)
Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir (AHA)
Avene Cleanance K (mix of AHA and BHA)
Alpha Hydrox Oil-Free Treatment (AHA)
Stridex Maximum Strength (BHA)
5. Healthy Diet and lifestyle
There is no denying that a healthy diet and lifestyle is going to one of the top treatments for wrinkle prevention. So be sure to eliminate stress (easier said than done), eat lots of healthy food and cut out as many processed foods as possible!
Other ingredients to look out for
While these ingredients probably wouldn’t do a whole lot on their own, they’re very beneficial and something to look out for in products. A list of a few anti-ageing ingredients to look out for are: