You’re How Old?

How you can use your local pharmacy for younger-looking skin – no matter your age.

Drugstore shelves are full of creams and lotions promising to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.

If diligent use of sunscreen hasn’t prevented the lines and sagging, or if genetics, gravity, and pollution are taking their toll on your skin, what steps can you take to turn back the clock? If you prefer home treatments rather than in-office injectables, peels, and laser treatments, what key ingredients should you look for in those products lining the isles or advertised online?

If you want a face-lift, unfortunately, you won’t find it in a bottle. But if you’re looking for slight to modest changes in the appearance of your wrinkles or aging skin, here’s some helpful advice when it comes to aging gracefully.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.. – Samuel Ullman

What to Look For

When deciding which anti-wrinkle cream to purchase, look for one of the following ingredients: retinol, hydroxy acids, peptides, coenzyme Q10, kinetin, or tea extracts. Experts agree that these ingredients contain effective wrinkle-reducing properties.

Retinol is an elastin- and collagen-triggering antioxidant derived from vitamin A. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals responsible for breaking down skin cells and causing wrinkles. Similar to retinol, but more potent, tretinoin is a wrinkle treatment available only by prescription. (If you are pregnant, do not use vitamin A derivatives as they may cause birth defects.)

The second ingredient is hydroxy acids, which may be listed as beta hydroxy acids, alpha hydroxy acids, or poly hydroxy acids. Whatever the name, this ingredient comes from sugary fruits and works via exfoliation. Hydroxy acids give you younger skin by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new, even, smooth, radiant looking skin. However, these acids make you susceptible to sun damage, so if you use them, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen during treatment as well as during the week following treatment.

A newer ingredient on the market is copper peptides. Copper, an element found in every cell, is combined with tiny fragments of protein called peptides. The peptides tell your skin to make new collagen, the spongy material that keeps your skin smooth, tight, and wrinkle-free. Other benefits of copper peptides are their wound-healing and antioxidant-boosting properties.

When targeting the thinner, more delicate skin around your eyes, you need a gentler formula. Studies have shown the effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 in reducing the appearance of fine lines around the eyes without negative side effects. Coenzyme Q10 works by regulating a cell’s energy production.

Another ingredient to be on the lookout for is kinetin. Kinetin is a plant growth hormone that has been shown to reduce wrinkles by keeping skin hydrated and by stimulating the growth and production of collagen.

Lastly, the compounds found in green, black, and oolong tea contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have been found helpful for reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Keep in Mind

There is no guarantee that a specific cream will improve your skin. Most anti-wrinkle products have not been proven by extensive scientific research. It is also helpful to know that expensive creams aren’t necessarily more effective than cheaper ones.

Before you’ll see a difference in your skin’s appearance, you will need to use the cream daily for many weeks. After discontinuing treatment, your skin will likely return to its prior appearance. What might work for one person, may not work for you since everyone has a different skin type.

Not seeing the results you hoped for? It may be time to see your dermatologist. He or she will be able to assess your particular skin type and recommend the products most likely to be effective for younger-looking skin.

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