There is a big difference between skincare ingredients that prevent further ageing and those that attempt to reverse the signs of ageing.
When your main beauty aim is to look younger and delay the signs of ageing, you want science and nature on your side. And now we have just that. Although scientists and skincare experts constantly collaborate to work on exciting skincare innovations that promise us near-perfect complexions, this past decade has seen some truly remarkable breakthroughs in scientific skincare formulations.
The Anti-Ageing Revolution
Although many people have recognised the benefits of Mother Nature’s “anti-agers” since the beginning of time (in the 1700s, Marie Antoinette washed her face in red wine, which contains antioxidants resveratrol and acetic acid), the real advantages of these ingredients for the skin have only come to light in the past 30 years, says Cape Town-based dermatologist Dr Izolda Heydenrych. Additionally, “doctors began using prescription retinoids and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA’s) in the early 1980s to treat the signs of ageing,” says Dr Bradley Wagemaker, dermatologist and medical director at Lamelle Skincare Laboratories. “The industry has continued to advance and these ingredients have been researched and modified. They’re now available without a prescription from a medical practitioner.”
Today skincare experts have a much better understanding of how the skin works and what it needs. This is thanks to pioneering genetic research, the use of artificial skin in the research and testing phase, and the constant search for new, more powerful anti-ageing ingredients. Most importantly, scientists are also discovering what effect different ingredients combined in a face cream will have on the skin. This is great news for all of us who want to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, diminish those pesky dark circles under our eyes and walk out the door with a radiant glow.
Prevention VS Cure
Studies have shown that there’s a big difference between skincare ingredients that prevent further ageing and those that attempt to reverse the signs of ageing. “Vitamins A, C and E, coenzyme Q10 and resveratrol are all excellent antioxidants, which help to fight free radical damage, and thus help to protect the skin against sun damage and ageing,” says Dr Heydenrych. Alpha, beta and polyhydroxy acids are also largely focused on protecting the skin and preventing further damage as opposed to turning back the clock and reversing the signs of ageing.
This is also where sun protection fits in. For the best all-round defence, we need complete protection from factors that accelerate the ageing process – UV rays, emotional stress, harsh environments and dehydration. “Sun protection ingredients are always crucial and their formulations are constantly being refined,” says Dr Heydenrych. It’s important to wear sunscreen every day. However, Dr Wagemaker believes that an SPF shouldn’t penetrate into the skin but rather form a protective layer on the surface to block out UVA and UVB rays. Look for a skincare range that has a separate SPF and apply the product over your day cream.
Although there are many effective skincare ingredients that help us preserve and maintain what we have, advanced ingredients such as growth factors and retinoids, which work in combination with peptides, enzymes, antioxidants and amino acids, are now able to both treat and reverse the signs of ageing, according to Dr Wagemaker. These more advanced combinations work to solve common problems such as pigmentation, dullness or poor skin texture, rather than simply treating them temporarily.
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