With so many product choices available, it can be difficult to tell whether a lotion, cleanser, or peel is the right option for you. You might have several questions when you peruse the aisle at the drugstore or cosmetic store or before seeing a facial plastic surgeon for a treatment. One way to get an idea of what a product does, beyond what the commercials and marketing claim it does, is to look at the ingredients in it. Some ingredients have been shown to actually help keep the skin looking youthful for longer.
While you can’t stop time, you can choose your products wisely so that you look as youthful as possible for as long as possible.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
There are a lot of alpha hydroxy acids out there, and a lot of products contain at least some type of alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA. For example, a number of chemicalpeels contain AHA, from superficial or light peels to deeper ones. You might also find AHA in a peel designed for at-home use. Along with being the main ingredient in certain types of peels, you might also find AHA in certain cleansers and moisturizers.
AHAs can help improve the look of your skin in several ways. They help exfoliate the skin and increase cell turnover, which can help minimize fine lines and areas of hyperpigmentation. Along with helping you look more youthful, AHAs can also reduce blemishes and help deep clean the pores. Usually, a product that’s available over-the-counter will have a lower concentration of AHAs than a product you’d get from a prescription or a product your surgeon would apply in the office.
Products containing peptides are often marketed as "miraculous," as they are thought to dramatically reduce the signs of aging. Although it’s best not to think of any one ingredient or product as a miracle worker, peptides do have an important role to play when it comes to minimizing the signs of aging on your face.
Peptides are a type of amino acid, and amino acids, as you may known, are the building blocks of protein. One of the most abundant proteins in your body is collagen, which is responsible for keeping your skin firm and smooth, and which depletes as you get older. Using a topical product that contains peptides, such as a lotion or serum, can help restore lost collagen, improving the firmness and texture of your skin.
When people talk about products that fight wrinkles, one of the ingredients they are most likely going to mention is retinol. Retinol comes from vitamin A and works by improving cell turnover and improving collagen production. Along with being a proven way to minimize wrinkles and dark spots, retinol can also be helpful if you still deal with the occasional breakout, as it helps to unclog your pores.
You’ll find hyaluronic acid in a number of products. It’s what makes injectable fillers, such as Juvederm, work. It’s also found in over-the-counter moisturizers and skincare products and in pill form. Hyaluronic acid is a type of sugar naturally produced by your body. It plays a big role in trapping moisture and keeping your skin plump. As you age, you have less and less of it, so skin becomes drier and less thick.
Although you might see some results if you use a topical product that contains hyaluronic acid, usually you’ll get the best results if the ingredient is ingested or injected into you. Injectable fillers, such as Restylane, contain hyaluronic acid in a somewhat thick gel form. When injected into specific areas of the face, the ingredient instantly adds volume and makes the skin look fuller and smoother.
Many ingredients found in skincare products and treatments naturally occur in the skin. Ceramides are no exception. They are lipids that are usually found in the skin’s outer layer. Ceramides play an important role in keeping your skin moisturized and protected from outside irritants. Since they are found in the outer layer, they are easily depleted. That’s why using a moisturizer that contains them is important, especially if you have very dry or sensitive skin.
Board certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jessica Kulak is an aging face specialist. That means she focuses on helping her patients look youthful for longer and has a sharp understanding of the anatomy of the face and the best ways to treat specific aging concerns. To learn more about the ingredients in your skincare products and the active ingredients in many in-office treatments, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak today. For an appointment at her practice in Virginia, call (703) 481-0002. For an appointment in Maryland, call (301) 222-2020 today.