While beauty itself may be only skin deep, according to the adage, those chasing a youthful look may need depth to their pocketbooks to keep away the signs of aging. This is because while the beauty industry has long placed a high value on porcelain, wrinkle-free features, the search to stay forever young has taken on the market on its own two feet.
The anti-aging market is geared toward anyone and everyone. It aims to keep adolescents and those in their early 20s young forever while catering to the aging population with promises of regaining a look that naturally fades as the years add up. So, when looking for anti-aging products, it is always important to remember that this is an industry driven by money. Their intentions aren’t always pure, and their promises are not always entirely truthful.
Anti-Aging Through the Ages
Since antiquity, both men and women have been trying to fight the wrinkles of time. Cleopatra is said to have bathed in goat milk—a practice that has proven effective, as goat milk contains both skin-softening and exfoliating properties. Men have sought the Holy Grail and the Fountain of Youth. In more recent history, the anti-aging market has overshadowed the beauty industry.
A Booming Industry
In the Roaring Twenties, the first anti-aging cream was born. Before that, there were all sorts of methods to increase elasticity, soften skin, and reduce wrinkles, including tinctures, adhesive strips, and even raw meat! Today, the anti-aging industry is booming. In 2016, it was reported to be worth around $290 billion, and the numbers keep climbing.
Modern Grails in a Bottle
Modern solutions for anti-aging include a number of relatively recent discoveries, such as the use of Botox and Retin-A for reducing wrinkles, sunscreen to fight signs of aging, creams to keep skin firm and fresh, and protein-based creams to reduce swelling.
Understanding how each of these actually works and knowing the truth behind the claims will help those seeking to retain a youthful appearance to make the most educated decisions. Also, they might be able to get the results they are looking for.
Differentiating the Possible From the Not-So-Possible
It is always wise to go with what works in any endeavor, and this includes the search for eternal youth. So, first of all, the truth is that to date, there is no known or surefire solution to aging. While the anti-aging industry may promise a face that can look forever young, that is not entirely possible.
Facing the facts head-on is the most important thing one can do when considering what to do about retaining their youth. People get older, even those who don’t look like they do. Wrinkles are normal. Aging is a natural process that is only avoided by not taking part in the process, which, for the time being anyway, is impossible.
Coming to Terms With the Aging Process
Once we step away from the impossible claims that have been fed to us by the anti-aging and beauty industries, we can come to terms with what is actually possible.
The good news is that not all the claims of anti-aging remedies are lies!
Understanding Anti-Aging Possibilities
The truth is that serums, creams, and other ways to defy aging can all help reduce the symptoms, but there is nothing that can completely erase or eradicate the process other than death. Stick with a realistic and doable goal, and you’re more likely to be happy with the results.
What is possible when seeking anti-aging solutions:
• There are products that can reduce lines and wrinkles.
• Skin can remain elastic and youthful for much longer than people typically expect.
• Sun damage can be avoided and repaired.
What Actually Works?
When it comes to finding things that work for aging concerns, you first need to identify your issues. Most people have a blanket goal of wanting to look younger, and most beauty products are designed with this in mind. The anti-aging industry is a whole different thing. This industry is based on claims, not of covering or hiding the signs of growing older. They would rather capitalize on reversing or avoiding the process altogether. We already know that this isn’t possible. So, now let’s explore what is possible.
The Good, the Bad, and Feeling Beautiful at Any Age
Wrinkles may be tell-tale signs of growing older, and in reading between these lines, it was once easy to guess a person’s age. These days, there are options to make that more difficult to do. However, it is vital to make sure that all anti-aging products that are used for this goal are ethical and sanitary, and that they actually work.
What to keep in mind:
• Over-the-counter, anti-aging products typically don’t work.
• For anything to truly be “anti-aging,” it would need to change the structure of the skin or affect it on a cellular level. Products that are sold that can do this are considered drugs. These drugs need to be certified, tested, and approved by the FDA.
• Natural supplements are not guaranteed to work. Supplements are not approved by the FDA.
• Non-medical, anti-aging products change the appearance of skin rather than actually changing it.
• Sunscreen will work to reduce sun damage, but it doesn’t heal or repair in its own right.
What Ingredients Are in These Anti-Aging Products?
Understanding the wording and what goes into anti-aging products is the next step to getting desired results. So, let’s take a look at the ones typically on the market. More specifically, let’s look at what goes into these products.
The following ingredients are often listed with radical claims about what they can do for your skin.
Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
This sounds fancy, but when you call it what it is—glycolic, citric, and lactic acids—then you may find that it sounds a bit more familiar. All the acids that make up the AHA groupings can be found in the grocery store.
The term “antioxidants” really gained clout in the ’90s when they were said to fight off environmental toxins and reduce or repair the damage caused to the skin by the sun, smoke, and other sources. The truth is, antioxidants are a blanket term for common vitamins such as E, C, and B. The most common is vitamin C, which clears debris and oil from the skin and helps to increase elasticity, and vitamin E, which works with natural collagen production to boost fullness of appearance and supplements skin cells.
Antioxidants are not approved as drugs but do show promising results in studies. When used regularly, they can help the skin appear clearer and brighter. They can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but they will not prevent the skin from wrinkling or remove lines that have already formed. Additionally, antioxidant supplements can be used topically as well as being ingested from natural sources with a well-balanced diet.
This kind of acid is derived from sugar cane and is a common compound in many moisturizers and serums because it can temporarily reduce swelling, fine lines, and wrinkles. You can find this ingredient often in sugar scrubs and lotions. It can act as an exfoliant, which increases the slough of dead skin cells.
Citric acid is derived from fruits, more commonly tropical or citrus fruits. It has a genetic makeup that is bigger than glycolic acid and tends to be sold in topical washes and lotions. The claims for this ingredient are that it can reduce oil and freshen skin.
Derived from milk products. This is the reason Cleopatra got results from bathing in gallons of goat milk. Lactic acid moisturizes the skin and helps to boost collagen function. This allows for the skin to appear younger and remain tight.
A protein-based component typically found in youth serums, peptides seem to help stimulate elastin and collagen. This can produce a firming effect on the skin and alleviate wrinkles, but not permanently. Depending on the skin, the larger molecule structure will not always permeate deep enough to give lasting effects. For this reason, it is far more likely that peptides are best for battling fine lines by reducing their appearance. Studies suggest that peptides work best with daily application.
First approved by the FDA in 1995 as the drug Retin-A. Retinol and Retin-A retinoids have been used since the early ’70s as a means to reduce wrinkles and make skin appear brighter. They are both derived from the same ingredient, with retinol being a natural form of vitamin A.
Finding the Right Solution to Aging Issues
When you decide to purchase anti-aging products, you want to consider not only what is in the product, but what exactly you are buying. The fact is, not every product will work for everyone. A lot of the products out there are designed for specific issues. The best way to find the right product or products for your skin is to discuss any conditions with a dermatologist. While there are products out there designed to give you a better appearance, there is likely a cause that is the root of dissatisfaction. Many factors, including diet, toxins, and sun, may be causing the issues, and based on the contributing factors, specific products will work best for you.