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What Ingredients Should You Look for in an Anti-Aging Skin Care Product?

By: Kasey Drapeau-D'Amato, PA-C

Have you wondered if it’s possible to improve your skin by using topical products? Today’s market is flooded with magazine articles and TV commercials that claim to have discovered the fountain of youth in a bottle. Topical products can help improve the skin texture, but only if they contain certain ingredients.  Topical antioxidants are some of the most effective  ingredients to look for on a label. They have shown to improve skin texture, tone and appearance.

What are topical Antioxidants? Antioxidants reduce the harmful effects of free radicals which are molecules that injure the skin’s cells and cause inflammation, increase sun damage and contribute to the development of skin cancer. (3)

What Ingredients should you look for?

1. Hyaluronic Acid–This is one of the best ingredients to help improve fine lines. It is actually a molecule that is already found in the human body. It helps water bind to the skin to support the collagen network. Hyaluronic acid increases cell renewal and helps to tighten loose areas of skin. Studies have shown it improves wrinkles and fine lines. (1) (5)

ExampleVichy HA Cream (over the counter-found at CVS and other pharmacies)


2.Vit A (Retinol)-This is a great ingredient to reduce pore size and improve overall texture of the skin. It protects cells from oxidative damage.  It helps to lighten skin, reduces wrinkles and create a smooth texture. (6)

Example- Retriderm (sold in physician offices)


3. Vit C–This is a great way to brighten tired or dull skin. It helps to rejuvenate aged and photodamaged skin. It also helps prevent collagen breakdown and assists in new collagen growth. Vitamin C helps to improve skin firmness, elasticity, and helps mitigate free radical damage. (1)

Example-Vivite Vibrance (sold in physician offices)


There are many beneficial ingredients in skin care products, but these three all natural ingredients are great to look for when evaluating labels of anti-aging skin care products.  It is important to have realistic expectations when using a topical product. While topical products can provide some visible improvement in the texture of your skin, they are not as powerful as in-office cosmetic procedures like Botox, Restylane or a laser treatment. It is also important to remember that some ingredients will help your skin look better while you are using the product, but your skin may return to its previous state when you stop using it. As always, sunscreen is the #1 most important topical product to protect your skin from showing the signs of age.



1. Reverse Aging around your eyes and Prevent Glycation-Induced Skin aging with topical nutrients. Goldfaden G MD, Goldfaden R.

2. An Evaluation of the effect of a topical product containing C-xyloside and Blueberry extract on the appearance of type II diabetic skin. Draelos ZD, Yatskayer M, Raab S, Oressajo C.

3.Cosmeceuticals.American Academy of Dermatology.

4. Natural Ingredients in Dermatology. Taylor s, Wu J.

5.Understanding the Ingredients in skin care products. The Cleveland Clinic.

6. Cosmeceuticals. Swartz Robert MD, MPH and Centurion , Santiago, MD.

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