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February 8, 2011

What to Look for in an Anti Ageing Cream

Young looking woman and anti aging creamWith no shortage of products available on the market these days, what should you look for in an anti ageing cream?  Also, do anti-ageing creams work as well as they say?  Most creams seem to reduce wrinkles and provide other cosmetic benefits, but may fall short of your expectations, But, they are certainly worth trying.

Getting Back to Nature

A good rule of thumb is not to put anything on your face that you would not eat.  Trying to find all natural anti-aging creams can be difficult in reality, though.  An anti ageing cream should use natural ingredients. Products with natural ingredients are less likely to irritate the skin, and are better tolerated.

The skin is very good at absorbing what is placed on it, and some of what is placed on it will make it to the blood stream and can have systemic effects. That’s why it’s ideal to find all natural ingredients products.

Some fragrances in creams have been linked to depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, and neurologic problems.  Paraben is used as a preservative and moisturizer, and is generally thought to be safe.  But, it does possess some weak estrogen activity and has been isolated in some breast cancers, though a definite causal relationship has yet to be found with breast cancer.

Key Properties of an Anti Ageing Cream

There are a few properties to look for in an anti ageing cream.  An anti ageing cream should:

  • moisturize the skin.
  • exfoliate or remove dead skin.
  • stimulate collagen (structural protein) production.
  • fight the effects of free radicals and inflammation, which accelerate the aging process.

Many active ingredients in creams have more than one beneficial property.  Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids are effective exfoliates removing dead skin, and improve the appearance of fine wrinkles.

Several antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, are found in anti-ageing creams.  Vitamins C and E are the best known antioxidants.  Vitamin E has limited ability to fight free radicals and is regenerated by vitamin C.  Vitamin C also stimulates collagen production and helps tissue healing.

Alpha lipoic acid is another antioxidant that also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Coenzyme Q10 is a very potent antioxidant, and along with alpha lipoic acid it supports mitochondrial function.  Mitochondria are the power plants in the cells.  Cells function better when mitochondrial function is optimal.

Grape seed extract is an antioxidant.  It also improves sun protection factor, or SPF.  Green tea is being used more in anti ageing creams and improves collagen synthesis and provides protection against ultra-violet radiation.  Green tea in topical form is unstable when exposed to the environment, and presents formulation challenges to manufacturers.

Moisturizers enable the skin to hold water providing a smoother suppler appearance.  Common moisturizers included pantothenic acid and its derivatives.  Ceramides are fat based moisturizers that can be effective in treating eczema.

Topical hyaluronic acid also acts as a moisturizer and also exists in an injectable form as a dermal filler.

An extract from Morinda citrifolia called 1,4-Dihydroxy-2-methoxy-7-methylanthraquinone stimulates collagen production reducing wrinkles.  Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a cell membrane stabilizer and produces a firming effect on skin, and may be the first topical agent to help sagging skin.

Vitamin A and retinols have long been used in anti-aging creams and help to produce collagen, improve sun damage, and increase skin cell renewal.   Vitamin A and retinoid analogs can be irritating to the skin.

Sun Protection and Vitamin D

Don’t forget an anti ageing cream that protects against the sun. Much of skin aging is related to sun exposure.  So be sure to use sunscreens.  Vitamin D is now known to have several health benefits.  Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to sun exposure.  Therefore, consider taking vitamin D supplements since sunscreens will adversely affect vitamin D production.

Related articles include “Skin Aging“, “Picking the Right Anti Aging Cosmetic Product”, and Anti Aging Collagen“.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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