Anti-aging claims abound in skin care cosmetic products, which are largely unregulated. The Food and Drug Administration reviews cosmetics only for the safety of questionable ingredients, not for whether they prevent or cure wrinkles. Dermatologists who understand the science of healthy skin, and who see firsthand what works for patients, probably know best. Doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) counsel consumers to check ingredients, not package claims or prices, to zero in on effective anti-aging products.
Mild Facial Cleanser
If your skin is showing the signs of age—fine lines in creases, wrinkles, tissue that isn’t as firm as it used to be—your first defense is to do no harm to more sensitive, healthy skin. Loss of moisture is part of the reason for wrinkling. Because you use a cleanser every day, dermatologists suggest purchasing one that moisturizes, not dries, facial skin. Avoid deodorant, antibacterial or perfumed soaps. Mayo Clinic doctors endorse cosmetic products that contain humectants and emollients. These beneficial ingredients include glycerin, cetyl alcohol, and oils such as olive, sweet almond and sunflower seed.
This trend should continue in your facial moisturizer. Skin care creams offer greater protection to aging skin than moisturizing lotions due to their higher oil content. The AAD reports that moisturizers are proven to immediately reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, while keeping healthy skin pliable to create an effective moisture barrier. Ingredients to choose include propylene glycol, urea, petrolatum, dimethicone, lanolin and allantoin.
Sun damage and skin cancer are serious concerns for those with aging skin. Researchers at the Skin Cancer Foundation note that sunscreen cosmetic products are proven to be largely, but not entirely, effective at blocking ultraviolet radiation that harms healthy skin. Therefore, daily skin care should include protective clothing as well as an application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Choose one that addresses UVA and UVB protection, in an SPF 15 or stronger formula.
Night Repair Cream
Manufacturers purport that night skin care creams do the most to rejuvenate aging skin, but dermatologists approve of only certain proven ingredients. Because these cosmetic products represent the high end in cost, make sure their active ingredients are effective. The AAD sanctions skin-supporting antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, which may be listed on packages as retinol, ascorbic acid and tocopheryl. Mayo Clinic dermatologists approve of hydroxy acids, such as lactic, salicylic, glycolic and citric acids. These encourage exfoliation, which aging skin is less efficient at. Other ingredients that promote cellular rejuvenation include kojic acid and azelaic acid.