Anti-Aging Skin Care
Starting with the face
Do I use something on my face? Yes, of course, I use something on my face. Does it make a difference? I like to think so. Not to mention that people are always telling me, “You don’t look that old.” Maybe they are being nice? I hope not. But I do wonder what they think I should be looking like. So, how should I approach anti-aging skin care?
Why don’t I just leave the face alone? I probably would if I did not work outside of my home. On the other hand, I could be using work as an excuse to do something I should be doing anyway. Working on my face for the past five or six years has certainly given me cause to believe that taking care of it is working and that the results exceeded my expectations based the limited time and money spent.
My face does look much better today than it did before, and I don’t regret the effort. I do regret that many of my early years, from being a teenager through middle age, were spent sunbathing and swimming outdoors for long periods in the hot sun and that for 38 years, I smoked. It has been 17 years since I stopped that terrible habit and about that many since limiting my exposure to the sun.
What do I use? Having learned that alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) was very effective in producing younger looking skin, I went to the drug store and other stores several times, looking for any mention of AHA on many face cream containers and through hundreds of ingredient statements. After many such searches I ran across a tube of hand cream and under the product name in small letters appeared the words “Alpha hydroxy, keratin, and Vitamin E”. I bought it, took it home, and started using it. To this day, I am still using it! Will this product work for you? I cannot answer that question. To my knowledge, it has not been scientifically tested.
What is it about AHA? It is one of two main ingredients in cosmetic lotions known to promote better skin health and appearance, according to Cosmetic Ingredient Review. The other ingredient is retinol, a form of Vitamin A, which I will discuss in the next blog on the skin. AHA promotes younger skin by exfoliating the old skin cells, allowing the growth of new skin. Not only does AHA help to create new skin, it smooths the skin, altering the skin’s uneven and discolored appearance. This reduces the appearance of wrinkles and helps to prevent future wrinkles. Concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids from 4% to 12% have been found to be effective and these are found in many products containing AHAs.
AHA has also been combined with vitamins B3, C, and E, and this combination was tested and found to be very effective in improving skin appearance.
What is the origin of AHA? AHA comes from food but can be synthetically manufactured. Citric acid—from citrus fruit is a highly active antioxidant. Glycolic acid is found in sugar cane, is water soluble, and generally found in facial washes. Sour milk and fermented fruit produce lactic acid, which is the least reactive, leaving it the best ingredient for use in creams for people with sensitive skin. These are the three most often found in skin care products, according to The Dermatology Review online.
As reported by Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), Keratin, in the form of hydrolyzed keratin, is used in hand creams to provide increased moisturization. The results of a review of keratin and hydrolyzed keratin studies were published online by the CIR who reviews scientific articles on the use of different ingredients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America support the CIR who publish their findings in a scientific journal.
According to an article on Livestrong.com, Vitamin E in skin preparations boosts the skin’s ability to ward off harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. These rays produce free radicals that cause wrinkles. Other free radicals that affect the skin include air pollution and smoke. People who smoke suffer internal and external damage from free radicals.
“Free radicals” is a term you read about often in articles on skin care, and it is wise to understand it better. Free radicals are groups of atoms with unpaired electrons that can change the chemical structure of cells, proteins, and DNA both inside and outside the body. They cause tissue damage which in the skin leads to wrinkles, lines, and dry skin.
So, the addition of Vitamin E to skin creams helps to protect the skin from the damage that is caused by the free radicals mentioned above and it further moisturizes the skin.
How do we identify AHA on a product label? According to the Food and Drug Administration, the names most likely to appear on a label are one of the following: glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, and hydroxycapric acid. Try to find a product where AHA is listed as the third or fourth ingredient, but don’t give up on its effectiveness if the product does not show that. It may be your skin is different or the product you select has other additives that work well with AHA.
Just think of all that time I spent looking for alpha hydroxy acid on ingredient statements!
Update: I have written another article about skin care. Please check it out.
Your comments are encouraged and welcomed.