Best Anti-Aging Beauty Ingredients

When it comes to anti-aging skin creams, it's hard to know what works and what is just a huge waste of money. Beauty Geek Janine Falcon came onto the show to tell us what ingredients to look for in anti-aging skin care products that truly are anti-aging.


Retinol, a form of Vitamin A  (you may also have heard of Retin-A, a stronger form that you can only get via prescription from your dermatologist), revolutionized anti-aging skincare.

It's most often used in anti-wrinkle creams because it's really effective at making wrinkles look less obvious. It also smooths skin and triggers the production of collagen and elastin, which slows down as we age.

As well, because it has a wee molecular size, it penetrates the skin deeply enough to encourage the production of stronger connective tissue between the cells underneath the skin's surface, which results in a firmer, more youthful face.


Don't be afraid of the word "acid."  Glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA, and comes from sugar cane. It's great at smoothing the surface of the skin, getting rid of flaky bits and patches that prevent your face from absorbing your moisturizer properly.

The most interesting thing about glycolic acid is that it targets only dead skin. In fact, it goes after the bonds between dead cells and breaks them down so your skin can shed what it no longer needs. That then allows your newer skin to reveal itself more quickly.

Because it helps improve the skin's self-exfoliation ability, it helps even out surface discoloration and texture, improves cell turnover, minimizes fine lines and helps prevent clogged pores. It's also helpful in keeping problem skin clear. A glycolic-acid toner can help prevent breakouts.


Salicylic acid is most often used in anti-acne care, but like glycolic acid, it boosts skin's exfoliation process and helps skin look a bit younger. It's used in adult skincare as well as in the teen stuff.

Unlike glycolic acid, however, salicylic acid doesn't care whether it's getting rid of dead cells or live ones, so it's used in very small amounts. That said, its refusal to care whether the cells it targets are living or dead also makes it antibacterial in nature - it kills bacteria dead, which is what you want if your skin is prone to breakouts.


Retinol, AHAs (glycolic acid) and salicylic acid all work on a controlled wound-heal process - they cause a tiny bit of irritation to trigger a healing response: new skin-cell production. Sounds terrible, but the word "controlled" is key - you should NOT feel any irritation.

Peptides are fragments of a natural skin signal that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. If you get a cut or a scratch, the skin automatically sends out a natural peptide army to help fix the problem. Peptide anti-aging technology is about triggering that response without first wounding the skin. Basically it's about deploying the peptide army without a battle to fight.

Peptides like to work, so they work on collagen and elastin production anyway, as well as strengthening the connective tissue like retinol does. The result is stronger, thicker skin, which can better withstand external aging aggressors as well as better retain moisture.


The body makes something called hyaluronic acid, a molecule that can hold 1000 times its weight in water. That's key to moisturizing the skin.

Cosmetic companies put hyaluronic (hi - ya - lur - onic) acid in skincare to improve the skin's ability to retain moisture. It helps plump up the skin, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The drier your skin, the more it will benefit from this ingredient; skincare for dry and more mature skin tends to contain higher levels of hyaluronic acid.


1) In the past retinol, glycolic acid and salicylic acid products were considered a bit harsh for a lot of people, but companies like Neostrata, RoC and Dermaglow have found a way to make time release formulas so you get just a tiny dose at a time rather than a big-ol' slap at the time of application.

2) If you're new to retinol and glycolic acid, it's a good idea to start slowly, once every other day, then once a day then twice a day. Talk to your pharmacist or dermatologist.

3) Your biggest anti-aging cream is SPF. When you use products that increase exfoliation, you make your skin more sensitive to the sun and the bad stuff that comes with unprotected exposure.

4) Look for big-name brands; they tend to contain effective levels of these ingredients in formulas that most people can use without irritation.

5) Don't combine your products unless you've consulted a dermatologist. Sometimes it's best to use products from within the same line - cleanser, serum, moisturizer, etc. - because they're designed to work together without overstressing the skin. Stressing the skin can cause inflammation; inflammation is the skin's ENEMY! It makes it work really, really hard, which, as we all know, is exhausting, and the skin doesn't like feeling tired any more than we do.

The levels of ingredients in the following examples of brands are suitable for most people to try and use without irritation, and they're widely available and affordable.

Neostrata (contains all technologies, and for sensitive skin)
Dermaglow (contains all technologies)
RoC (contains retinol, hyaluronic --this month launched a new gentler retinol line)
Neutrogena (contains retinol, glycolic)
St. Ives (contains salicylic)
Noxzema (contains salicylic)
Clean & Clear (contains salicylic)
Olay (contains peptides)
Vichy (contains retinol for sensitive skin, and hyaluronic)
Lise Watier (contains peptides)

Visit Beauty Geek Janine Falcon's blog


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