Do anti aging products work: the science behind the products

Ah one of life’s most unanswerable questions, well there may be a few more serious ones, but this is definitely up there. The concept of anti-aging in itself is quite perplexing, asking your body to change it’s natural inclination to getting older as you do. Well it would be quite a challenge for even the smartest of scientists. To fight free radical damage AND a slowing rate of collagen production with a cream and/or serum seems highly unlikely, the real question is; why do products claim to be anti-aging?


The answer lies in the ingredients list (otherwise known as INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), the more you know about what’s actually in the product the more wisely you can spend your money. There are five types of ingredients that claim to have pretty solid anti-aging benefits:

Retinol

Resveratrol

Alpha-hydroxy acids

Peptides

Antioxidants

Through the medium of over saturated social media you have probably heard of at least one of these. In today’s part 1 of this 5 part series I’m here to break them down how and why retinol works. And more importantly, will they work for you?


Retinol – The one with the scientific backing.

You may have also heard this referred to as vitamin A. Whichever name you prefer this has the most hardcore, scientific evidence proving it’s worth. In fact, most industry experts believe this is the only ingredient worth investing in when it comes to banishing wrinkles.

So, we know it’s efficacious but how? The simple answer is it promotes collagen production, a mechanism that slows down as you age. Collagen acts as an elastic fibre in your skin and when you’re much younger you have plenty of it to help skin bounce back instead of wrinkle when you laugh, smile or even on occasion frown. But as you age your produce less and less of it. Thus, your skin loses some of that ability to bounce back and your skin starts to hold on to the lines of your smile and frown lines (which I don’t think is a bad thing!).

Retinol seems to be a mircle worked in this sense. You regain some of that ability to bounce back as you use it.

It may seem all your anti-aging concerns could be answered in this one ingredient.


Not quite. Retinol has been known to have some strong, adverse side effects caused by a break down of the skin’s barrier, it is a powerful ingredient after all. This leads to photosensitivity – irritation caused by UV light exposure in particular. Which in turn can lead to more free radical damage and therefore cellular damage and even more aging. It’s a vicious cycle and particularly damaging if you have sensitive skin or are pregnant.

Alas! Your prayers could also be answered in the form of Bakuchiol (not entirely sure how to pronounce this, I’ve heard many variations), the plant based alternative to retinol. Commonly derived from the Babchi plant, it’s also vegan. It works in the same way, promoting collagen production but without the negative side effects. How? The structure of this molecule is completely different to vitamin A. So, it has all the benefits and no harsh side effects.

The best way to know which one works for you, try them. A large part of finding the right skincare is learning that one size most certainly does not fit all! If you have irritable, sensitive skin prone to redness I’d steer clear of retinol and try one of the many bakuchiol products now available.

Please click here to read a full and in depth scientific breakdown into the literature currently available on retinol.

Don’t forget to comment and let me know which ingredient you want to see next.

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