Wrinkles are due to a loss of collagen in the skin. The collagen is lost mostly from sun damage, but aging also causes some collagen loss. As skin wrinkles it becomes thin and fragile too. To truly reverse wrinkles on your skin you need to re-thicken the skin by building more collagen.
Unfortunately, collagen can't be added to the skin from the outside. It has to be made by your body's own cells inside the skin. There are only 3 types of skin care product ingredients that, in my professional opinion, have the power to 'turn on' your skin's collagen renewal. These 3 ingredients are:
- Retinoids - Such as prescription tretinoin creams called Retin-A and Renova and professional retinol products such as Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream
- Glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid added to skin care products) - The glycolic acid must have a free acid concentration in the product of over 10% to work for collagen building
- Vitamin C - There must be at least 10% concentration in the product (in the L-ascorbate form), and the product needs to be in a container that does not allow oxygen to enter
How do you pick the right wrinkle fighting cream for your skin?
Because all of these wonderful collagen building skin care ingredients can be irritating and tricky to use, you need to understand how to best use them. They each have pros and cons that you need to understand in order to choose the one that's right for you. Build your complete skin care routine to support your skin as it adjusts to these powerful wrinkle fighting products.
My first choice is always a retinoid - in other words, the prescription creams containing tretinoin - because they work the best. This includes Retin-A and Renova, and are really only used on the skin of the face, neck and chest. They require a prescription. Another option is non-prescription Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream. It contains the right concentration of the proven active retinol.
I have developed tricks to help my patients use these products successfully because all retinoid creams make your skin more sun sensitive and more sensitive to irritating things like harsh soaps or climates. These steps are very important for sensitive skin complexions. The steps include:
- Wash with gentle cleansers only. If rosacea or seborrhea are present then they need to be treated. I recommend washing the treated skin with a gentle non-foaming cleanser such as Toleriane Skin Cleanser or Calming Zinc ® Bar Soap.
- Soothe and quiet any irritation, especially after washing. My Green Tea Antioxidant Cream is often the critical product that makes the difference. I have my patients apply it right after washing or right after using my Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum, which also soothes dry, limp and irritated skin.
- Sun protection is critical every day to fight wrinkles. Especially if you use a retinoid. Find the best zinc oxide broad spectrum sunscreen using my sunscreen comparison chart. All of my sunscreens work beautifully with tretinoin and retinoid therapy.
- Be sure to use a day time facial moisturizer to balance skin hydration. This helps maintain a healthy skin barrier and to protect the skin from harsh weather. Apply the facial moisturizer under your sunscreen. Pick a product that is free of irritating ingredients or allergens. Ideal options include Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal Skin if you have normal to oily skin. If you have dryer skin, use a richer oil-containing moisturizer such as Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Dry to Normal Skin.
People with tolerant skin may be able to maximize their anti wrinkle skin care therapy by combining tretinoin with other anti wrinkle treatments. Because all 3 of the very effective anti wrinkle treatments I list above are a little irritating, people with sensitive skin may not be able to use more than one choice. If your skin is tolerant enough, my Anti-Aging Antioxidant Skin Care Kit products can be used during the day and your retinol or tretinoin product can be used at night. This kit adds the nice trick of physical exfoliation to immediately brighten the skin. It contains proven stable Vitamin C in the Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Professional Treatment Serum to build collagen by a completely different, and potentially additive method. More about Vitamin C's role in fighting wrinkles below.
Glycolic acid is the best alpha hydroxy acid to build collagen and treat wrinkles. However, not all glycolic acid products have the power to build collagen in your skin. For a glycolic acid product to work, it must have a 'free acid' concentration of glycolic acid at 10% or higher. If a product doesn't clearly tell you on the label, then it may not have a free acid content of 10% or more. All of my products are high strength, professional-level glycolic acid products with over 10% free glycolic acid. I know how they are made and I trust the companies and chemists who make them.
If you have tolerant skin, consider adding a glycolic acid product to help fight wrinkles and other unwanted changes from sun-damaged skin. Pick one of my Anti-Aging Antioxidant Facial Skin Care Kits with glycolic acid or build your own custom kit. My Anti-Aging Antioxidant Kit - Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream for Normal Skin combines glycolic acid with Vitamin C to build collagen by two different mechanisms. Glycolic acid can be used alone for anti wrinkle treatment, but combining strong glycolic acid skin care products with the other products in this kit gives you the 'state of the art', most effective anti-wrinkle treatment available today!
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant in the battle against wrinkles. It helps to stimulate collagen renewal to fight wrinkles and reverse sun damage on your skin. Most Vitamin C skin care products don't work though. That's because the chemistry of how the product is made and stored affects whether it works, and it takes a dermatologist or skin chemist to figure this out. To get into the skin and stimulate collagen production a Vitamin C product must be in the stable L-ascorbate form, in a concentration over 10%, and have a pH of under 3.5% (my Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Professional Treatment Serum does all of these things!). Plus, Vitamin C in a skin care product breaks down when air touches it, so the product you buy needs to be in an air-tight container, such as my Vitamin C Anti-Aging Professional Treatment Serum.
In addition to treating wrinkles, Vitamin C also helps to protect the skin from damaging free radicals produced by sun exposure and other harsh environmental stressors.
Finally, sun protection is critically important to any successful anti wrinkle treatment. You must use a broad spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide. All of our products are excellent parts of your anti-wrinkle skin care treatment. Pick your sunscreen from the information I give you on my Sunscreen Comparison Chart.