Do you feel tricked, but tantalized, by the amazing claims of today’s skin care products?
Can a cream really act like a laser procedure or botox injections?
Are peptide creams capable of penetrating your skin causing meaningful changes that add up to fewer wrinkles?
Does every product with antioxidants actually work against free radicals to help fight skin aging?
The claims are mind numbing…. and unfortunately most of them aren’t backed up by hard scientific evidence that convinces me.
When it comes to anti-aging skin care and your skin, time is of the essence. Prevention, and ‘slowing the clock’ works better than trying to turn it back by decades, so you need to start an effective regimen now. That’s why I recommend sticking with proven anti aging products and starting them immediately. Narrow your choices to only the products and ingredients with strong scientific evidence; stimulating biochemical reactions in cells in a petri dish isn’t enough. Look for evidence that the ingredient works on human beings who used them under realistic conditions. When we demand this sort of proof, we’re able to narrow the options down to the 5 best anti aging products/ingredients – and you can probably incorporate them all into your skin care regimen because they work well together.
The anti aging skin care ingredients I think have convincing proof that they work:
- Number one is always prescription tretinoin cream (Retin-A, Renova and generic tretinoin cream). Only the prescription products work (tretinoin and Tazorac, but I prefer tretinoin) They have great scientific proof that in human users they stimulate sun damaged skin to form a new, thicker layer of collagen in the dermis and increase the thickness of the top layer of living cells called the epidermis. This means they really reverse wrinkles! They also compact the dead skin cell layer (called the statum corneum) into a nice and bright youthful surface for your skin. They even out uneven pigment and help reduce pre-cancerous skin growth from forming. They are the ‘gold standard’ of anti aging skin care. I aim to get my patients on the highest concentration of tretinoin cream that they can tolerate, and have them use it forever (except when when pregnant or nursing!).
- Glycolic acid products with concentrations over 10% and with an acid pH (around pH 4). Like tretinoin, these too have been shown to stimulate collagen formation (aka reverse wrinkles), compact the dead skin cell layer (aka brighten skin) and lighten uneven pigment. They are irritating to sensitive skin and may be hard to use if you’re also using tretinoin. They do work beautifully for both immediate and long term anti aging goals and I recommend them for anyone who’s skin can tolerate them.
- Green tea antioxidant skin care products. When highly concentrated, topically applied green tea polyphenol antioxidants get into skin and scientific evidence proves that they helps counter sun induced damage. In my opinion these are the most effective plant based antioxidant in skin care today. They also have anti-inflammatory benefit, helping to quiet redness and even the complexion. Green tea polyphenols work best in the presence of caffeine so that’s an important ingredient too. For years I’ve had patients use Replenix CF Cream with green tea antioxidants and caffeine and I watch it work for their skin on a daily basis.
- Vitamin C skin care products with 10% or higher concentration and with an acid pH (around pH 3). These have been shown to stimulate collagen formation in human test subjects (meaning they reduce wrinkles). Vitamin C skin care products also provide proven antioxidant benefit, neutralizing the damaging free radicals that play a role in skin aging. They work best in the presence of vitamin E, so having a vitamin E containing product on the skin at the same time is a good idea.
- Broad spectrum, micronized zinc oxide sunscreen. This needs to be applied every day, all year unless you absolutely will not be outside or sitting in front of a window. All the anti aging skin care products in the world can’t counter the degenerative effects of continued sun exposure.
Tricks you can also use to immediately improve the appearance of dull, aging skin:
- Exfoliate your skin with an exfoliating scrub or a facial Buf Puf sponge.
- Clean out those clogged pores with a Clarisonic brush.
- Plump up your wrinkles with super water-absorbing hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate) skin care products (such as Replenix CF cream, Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy – Replenix Power of Three Creamor Eye Repair Cream).
- Get a facial, mild chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment to ’brighten’ your complexion.
My bottom line on the best anti aging skin care and exactly how I tell my patients to use it:
Morning skin care routine:
Layer products one right after the next to maximize your anti aging benefits.
- Gently exfoliate your skin when you wash. This brightens your complexion for the day. Options include:
- Apply green tea antioxidants in the form of Replenix CF Cream or Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy – Replenix Power of Three Cream. These 2 products are, in my opinion, the best antioxidant protection products available today! Replenix Eye Repair Cream has additional ingredients for problems unique to the eye area.
- Apply either a vitamin C product (Professional Cell Repair Serum is the best in my opinion) or a glycolic acid product (Glytone exfoliating lotion for oily skin or Glytone or Glycolix Cream for normal to dry skin)
- Apply an additional moisturizer if you need it. (Daily Moisturizing Face Creams contain vitamin E to work with the vitamin C in the CRS)
- Apply a zinc oxide sunscreen (I like Citrix, which contains vitamin E) on top of your products. Make up goes on last if you wear it.
Bedtime skin care routine:
- Wash with your favorite cleanser
- Apply green tea antioxidants in the form of Replenix CF Cream, Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy – Replenix Power of Three Creamand/or Eye Repair Cream
- Apply your glycolic acid product or Retin A. (If you’re using Retin A you may want to apply a moisturize, wait at least 15 minutes then apply Retin A).
My Anti Aging Antioxidant Skin Care Kits , plus the addition of tretinoin cream (which requires a prescription from your doctor) are the essence of this entire regimen. My patients and I have been using these products and this exact regimen for years. I see the changes in everyone’s skin daily, and it’s the confirmatory proof I need– the regimen works wonders; it stands up to scientific scrutiny and it’s stood the test of time…and to slow your skin’s aging clock, time is of the essence!
Additional anti aging skin care ingredients are being intensely studied every day. As soon as I see convincing scientific evidence that one of them creates meaningful changes in the sun damaged skin of real, living people, I’ll spread the word fast. Until then, I believe that this is the best anti aging skin care that science has to offer.
Schwartz E, Cruickshank FA, Mezick JA, Kligman LH. Topical all-trans retinoic acid stimulates collagen synthesis in vivo. J Invest Dermatol. 1991 Jun;96(6):975-8.
Katiyar SK. Green tea prevents non-melanoma skin cancer by enhancing DNA repair. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2010 Nov 19.
Nichols JA, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Mar;302(2):71-83.
Huang MT, Xie JG, Wang ZY, Ho CT, Lou YR, Wang CX, Hard GC, Conney AH. Effects of tea, decaffeinated tea, and caffeine on UVB light-induced complete carcinogenesis in SKH-1 mice: demonstration of caffeine as a biologically important constituent of tea. Cancer Res. 1997 Jul 1;57(13):2623-9.
Humbert PG, Haftek M, Creidi P, Lapière C, Nusgens B, Richard A, Schmitt D, Rougier A, Zahouani H. Topical ascorbic acid on photoaged skin. Clinical, topographical and ultrastructural evaluation: double-blind study vs. placebo. Exp Dermatol. 2003 Jun;12(3):237-44.
Fitzpatrick RE, Rostan EF. Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage. Dermatol Surg. 2002 Mar;28(3):231-6.
Nusgens BV, Humbert P, Rougier A, Colige AC, Haftek M, Lambert CA, Richard A, Creidi P, Lapière CM. Topically applied vitamin C enhances the mRNA level of collagens I and III, their processing enzymes and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 1 in the human dermis. J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Jun;116(6):853-9.
If you found this helpful, you may also want to read: