Aging is a natural part of life, but that process can take a toll on your body, altering your complexion and allowing for the development of fine lines and wrinkles due to sun damage, stress, and a loss of collagen. While there is no singular skincare ingredient which will turn back the clock and completely eliminate wrinkles from your skin, there are some which can make a profound difference in the smoothness and elasticity of your face, reducing the severity of your wrinkles and even preventing new ones from developing.
Whether signs of aging have already begun to show on the skin or you simply want to create a routine to keep fine lines at bay, we spoke with Dr. Michael Somenek, Board Certified Washington, D.C. Facial Plastic Surgeon to get the rundown on the best ingredients to do the trick.
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Undeniably the most popular anti-aging ingredient, retinol is a wonderful topical solution for boosting collagen production and smoothing the surface of the skin for a visibly brighter, younger looking complexion. “Retinol stimulates collagen production and fades hyperpigmentation. It promotes quicker skin cell turnover, keeping pores clear and preventing aged skin’s dry, dull look,” explains Somenek. “Within the first week of use, changes in the epidermis will make your skin feel softer and look smoother. At four to six weeks, brown spots will also start to fade, and wrinkles will fade at weeks eight to 12, thanks to the new collagen in the skin.”
Another multi-use solution for aging, vitamin C serum can help to improve your appearance through evening skin tone and increasing collagen production, much like retinol. “Vitamin C can do a little bit of everything; boosting collagen, lightening discoloration, and evening skin tone. Studies have shown it can make skin appear smoother and softer,” notes Somenek. Seeing as vitamin C is an antioxidant it can also help to fight against free radical damage, saving your skin from UV rays. “But [vitamin C’s] UV protection does not stop there: research has suggested that it makes sunscreen last longer and work better, preventing further sun damage—and the wrinkles that come with it,” adds Somenek.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
Alpha hydroxy acid can help to easily smooth and resurface the top layer of your skin, allowing for a brighter appearance while reducing the depth of fine lines and wrinkles, making it a powerful player in the anti-aging realm. “Researchers have been able to pinpoint precisely how AHAs operate – down to the molecular level. AHAs work as powerful exfoliators that break the bond between the surface layer of dead skin cells and the fresh skin beneath. Dead skin can build up, making spots look darker, wrinkles look more profound, and our skin does not reflect light,” says Somenek. When picking out your AHA based products, keep an eye out for labels which contain lactic acid or glycolic acid as well–these are some of the most commonly used forms of AHA.
Maintaining hydration is essential for youthful skin, and hyaluronic acid is one of the best ways to achieve this. “Your body creates hyaluronic acid naturally, which keeps tissues lubricated and cushioned. It’s found in skin, connective tissues, and joint fluid. Over time, your age, smoking, and an unhealthy diet can cause you to make less of it,” explains Somenek. Integrate a hyaluronic acid serum into your skincare routine both morning and night in combination with vitamin C serum for an anti-aging duo which will reduce wrinkles and allow for an ageless complexion to shine through.