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Aging like a Boss – 5 skin care ingredients that are ‘must haves’ in your Anti-aging Arsenal

When we were kids, most of us desired to get older and fast. Remember the common saying ‘I wish I was older?’ This longing for adulthood increased especially, when some of us did not get to have our own way or we just felt like adulthood was a glorified period of time where life becomes your own bidding and you enjoy it and die probably at the old age of thirty (30), which was usually seen as old when some of us were under 5 years old.

Now, as an adult, the years seem to rolled on like a house on fire, with you fighting to quench its flames with creams, oils and probably other procedures to regain those baby face years. In addition, dull looking skin and acne, which you thought you had left in adolescent years, somehow seem to follow you and appears unwilling to let go (which can be quite annoying).

So, what do we do?  Well, we purchase a string of products and fast and pray that they roll back the hands of time while others opt for procedures under the knife to battle with the aging process so as to maintain our youthful glow, that baby face skin, which bounces back with every touch.  This yearning for youthfulness has no boundaries as it affects both men and women alike. 

However, aging is a war we cannot win as it is just a part of the circle of life.  Nonetheless, we can certainly try to thwart its effort by delaying its onset through deliberate day-to-day efforts. This include a healthy diet, exercising and of course, using products that can truly help us to ‘age like a boss.’ 

This article will provide some useful information on some of the best ingredients that you can look out for or incorporate in your skin care routine in order to get your glow on.  You can also read about the skin here as well as learn what your skin type is here.  These articles will help you to better understand the skin as well as how to choose the right products for your particular skin type.

The Discussion

The science of aging speaks to how the skin loses its structure as we age.  This is due to many factors including our lifestyle, hormonal changes, environmental factors, our genes/DNA and of course, how we generally take care of the skin as we get older.  While we cannot turn back the hands of time, especially where aging is concern, or even pause the aging process (this would be so nice), we can ensure that we incorporate ingredients that have scientifically proven to benefit the skin as well as adopt a healthier lifestyle which include eating healthy  and exercising regularly.

While you plan your next meal and exercise routine, here are some of the ingredients that you can incorporate in your skin care routine so as to help you on your quest to truly ‘age like a boss.’ Remember, choose the ones that best fit your skincare needs. These ingredients include Antioxidants (retinol and alpha lipoic acid). Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHAs), Peptides (collagen and matrixyl) and Hyaluronic acid.

1. Antioxidants

The skin is constantly changing due to cell turnover as well as other biological and environmental factors.  As such, we need to ensure that it is provided with the necessary nutrients, both internally and external so as it to keep it looking healthy.  Think of it, if our bodies are not getting the required nutrients, we become prone to diseases and other ailments in the long run. Well, the same goes for our skin. If we are not feeding it with the necessary nutrients, both internally and topically, then it will seize to look its best as we age.  As such, what you put in your body is equally as important as what you put on it.

Antioxidants are generally substances that work to neutralize free radicals in the body so as to prevent the oxidative stress of the skin and protect skin cells turnover (Preedy, 2012).  Some of the antioxidants to include in your skin care arsenal include the famous and well-test – retinol and alpha lipoic acid (ALA).

  • Retinol/retinoic acid

Retinol, is the brand name of retinoid, a vitamin A- based drug used in the cosmetics industry.  It is considered an antioxidant and a very effective arsenal in the anti-aging warfare. It has been touted as an effective anti-aging ingredient in several studies ever since a pioneer study in the mid-1980s where topical application of retinoic acid showed improvements in dermal collagen synthesis (Griffiths, et al, 1993).

Further, in a ten (10) week study conducted by Kligman, et. al. (1984) with Tretinoin (a generic form of Retin-A), found that patients experienced epidermal thickness and increase in pro-collagen protein expression upon application.  In addition, facial image analysis also showed a dramatic reduction in facial wrinkles after a twelve (12) weeks application of retinol.  To this extent, the study showed that retinol not only affects the cellular properties of both the epidermis and dermis but also the molecular structure of the skin (Kong et. al, 2015).

Principally, retinoids are sometimes classified as either natural or synthetic and is available via over-the-counter or as prescribed by a dermatologist.  The natural forms of retinoids or vitamin A derivatives include retinol, retinaldehyde, tretinoin as well as retinyl-palmitate etc. While the synthetic forms include tazarotene and aldapalene.

It should be noted that, retinoids are substances that can be found naturally in the skin via the small intestine through the oxidation of carotenoids or the hydrolysis of retinyl esters (Song et. al, 2006).  Studies have also concurred that retinol can also improve fine wrinkles which is associated with aging. It also helps with collagen production which helps the skin to withstand injury as well as just improve the general appearance of the skin due to its exfoliating capabilities (Kafi et. al, 2007).

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is an organic compound that is produced naturally in the human body and converts enzymes into energy (Packer & Cadenas, 2011).  Enzymes are substance that helps to speed up chemical reactions in the body.  They are crucial for respiratory system, the proper functioning of the muscle and nerve as well as for the digestion of food among many other bodily functions (

Nutritionally, enzymes have been shown to help with lowering blood sugar, reduce inflammation as well as helping with skin aging.  As such, topically, it is claimed to help with improving skin texture and tone and thus aid in restoring the skin’s appearance.  Research also shows that skin care products with even 5% ALA can have a beneficial effect on photoaging skin (Beitner, 2003).  The study also shows that ALA solutions can decrease skin roughness between 50-80% over a twelve (12) week period when applied twice daily to the skin. 

2. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHAs are a group of chemical compounds that can be both naturally occurring and synthetic.  As such, some are derived from plants while others, animals. They are usually used in skin care products for general exfoliation to help the skin get rid of dead skin cells that causes clogged pores which can lead to breakouts, thickening of the skin and acne scars (Tang, et. al, 2014).  It also helps to improve the general moisture level of the skin (Tang, et. al (2014).  AHAs is said to be especially helpful for persons with dry and sensitive skin.  As such, you will see these ingredients in products designated for anti-aging and include such items as serums, toners, peels as well as creams. 

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) include glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid or vitamin C (which is sometimes considered as an antioxidant), malic acid, tartaric acid and mandelic acid.  Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, lactic acid from milk, malic acid, occurs naturally in fruits and many vegetables especially those of a sour or tart nature. On the other hand, tartaric acid can be found in grapes while mandelic acid is a byproduct of bitter almonds. 

According to a study that was conducted on fifty-two (52) volunteers ranging from age 30 to 44 years old, AHAs improved skin texture and smoothness. It must be noted, that the study was conducted over a period of twenty-one (21) days using an anti-aging regimen which consisted of AHAs.  The study also showed that AHAs significantly improved the biochemical parameters of the skin which includes wrinkles, skin elasticity and without any adverse effect (Tran et. al, 2014). 

Additional benefits of AHAs include the promotion of collagen, increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin which helps to nourish the skin cells and keeps them vital as well as reducing skin discoloration.  So be sure to look out for AHAs in your next skin care products haul and research the ones that best meet your skin care needs.  However, AHAs may cause the skin to become more sensitive to the sun.  As such, it is recommended that you invest in a good sunscreen so as to protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun.

I predominantly use two (2) AHAs currently in my skin care line up – glycolic acid and a lactic acid solution.  These products have been a game changer in my skin care arsenal, especially since I suffer from eczema on the lower part of my face.  I am also planning to incorporate mandelic acid which is said to be great for acne prone skin due to its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.  Research also shows that mandelic acid acts as a humectant and is found to be less irritating when compared to some other AHAs.  So, when I do use this ingredient, I will sure to advise you of my experience.

3. Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

BHAs and AHAs are sometimes used synonymously.  However, the two (2) are closely related but are actually separate by one carbon atom (  Further, unlike AHAs which comprises several different acids, BHAs usually refers specifically to salicylic acid which is a renowned acne treatment and anti-aging ingredient due to its ability to combat skin inflammation (Handbook of Chemistry & Physics).  Notably, salicylic acid is a byproduct of aspirin.  Aspirins are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and as such, great for skin inflammation which usually causes acne and blackheads (Handbook of Chemistry & Physics). 

BHAs are usually found in creams, facial washes, toners and special treatment products.  However, salicylic acid can be used as a gentle peel treatment, like some of the AHAs mentioned above, e.g. lactic acid, mandelic acid etc.  However, it is best to get these treatments done by a professional so as to be on the safe side.  BHAs are usually promoted for use by persons with oily and acne prone skin due to its oil-soluble characteristics.  

4. Peptides

Peptides are usually revered as the ‘hero’ of the anti-aging world and for good reasons.  Peptides are compounds that comprises of two (2) or more chains of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.  As such, they are able to penetrate the dermis (top layer of the skin) and signal the skin in how to function (Schagen, 2017).  Further, protein gives the cells of the skin their shape and structure.  Ingredients such as collagen and matrixyl are usually considered as peptides. 

According to research, collagen-like peptides were proven to have remarkable anti-wrinkle effect on the skin when applied topically (Bauza, et. al, 2004).  This was demonstrated in a double-blinded clinical study done on twenty (20) women volunteers between the ages of 40-62 years old.  The results showed that collagen like peptides stimulate general cell metabolism and thus reduce the total surface of skin wrinkles (Bauza, et. al, 2004). 

Research also shows that collagen peptides derived from bovine (cow) which are taken orally can also impact the skin dramatically.  As such, oral collagen can help to improve skin laxity, repair collagen fibers as well as increase the collagen content of the skin (Song, et. al, 2017).

5. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid, the emerging kid on the block, is steadily becoming a sought after ingredient in the anti-aging world.  While it is listed as an acid, it is actually a humectant and as such, is usually used as a humecto agent in skin care products.  Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the skin, particularly in the humor of the eye (eye balls) and the joints (Webster Dictionary, 2014).

Research shows that hyaluronic acid can significantly help with skin moisturization, skin roughness, skin elasticity as well as having the potential to decrease the depth of skin wrinkles by up to 40% and skin hydration by up to 96% (Jegasothy, et. al, 2014).  This was the result of an eight (8) week study to measure the anti-wrinkle efficacy of hyaluronic acid, particularly nano-hyaluronic acid, which are smaller molecules of the substance and more penetrable where the skin is concern.  The study also showed that skin firmness and elasticity was improved by up to 55% (Jegasothy, et. al, 2014). This study was conducted over an eight (8) week period, however, results were observed after two (2) weeks of treatment.

Illustrative Summary

Here is an illustrative summary of the five (5) skin care ingredients to add to your anti-aging regimen.

Aging like a boss -


Let’s Sum Up!

We all want to look youthful as we age, why not? No one wants their skin to look pale, wrinkled and rough.  Many factors (from biological to environmental) contributes to how we look as we get older.  However, while we cannot control the biological aspect, we can, to some extent control the environmental, especially as it relates to stress and toxins. 

Additionally, most of us are aware that a healthy diet is one of the most important part in the fight against aging well. However, there are ingredients that we can look out for when purchasing our skin care products.  Ingredients of course, that have been proven to be effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, promoting collagen production, firming and smoothing the skin, exfoliating and promoting blood circulation to the surface of the skin, skin smoothness and elasticity as well as skin hydration.etc. 

These ingredients include, Antioxidants such as Retinol/retinoic acid which is a derivative of vitamin A and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA); Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid, Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid, Peptides such as collagen and matrixyl and Hyaluronic acid.  Other skin care ingredients with antiaging capabilities to look out for are – Niacinamide (B3), Vitamin E and CQ10 as well as having a good mineral sunscreen.

Therefore, with a healthy diet and a skin care regimen that involves proper cleansing, exfoliating and anti-aging treatments, you will be sure to experience the youthful glow you envision and allow you to truly ‘age like a boss.’ So….Are you skintimate yet!

  • Bauza, E., Oberto GBerghi ADal CFDomloge N. (2004). Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable antiwrinkle effect on the skin when topically applied: in vivo study. Int J Tissue React.26(3-4):105-11.
  •  Beitner, H (2003). Randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study on the clinical efficacy of a cream containing 5% alpha-lipoic acid related to photoageing of facial skin, Br J Dermatol. 149(4):841-9.
  • Griffiths CEM, Finkel IJ, Tranfaglia MG, et al.(1993).  An in-vivo experimental model for topical retinoid effects on human skin. Br J Dermatol, 29:389–99.
  • Jegasothy, S. M., Zabolotniaia, V., & Bielfeldt, S. (2014). Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology7(3), 27–29.
  • Kafi R, Kwak HSR, Schumacher WE, et al.(2007).  Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol). Arch Dermatol,143(5):606–612. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.5.606.
  • Kong RCui YFisher, G.JWang, XChen, YSchneider, L.MMajmudar, G. (2016). A comparative study of the effects of retinol and retinoic acid on histological, molecular, and clinical properties of human skin. J Cosmet Dermatol.15(1):49-57. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12193. Epub 2015 Nov 18.
  • Kligman LH, Chen HD, Kligman AM.(1984).  Topical retinoic acid enhances the repair of ultraviolet damaged dermal connective tissue. Connect Tissue Res, 12:139–50.
  • Packer, L., & Cadenas, E. (2011). Lipoic acid: energy metabolism and redox regulation of transcription and cell signaling. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition48(1), 26–32. doi:10.3164/jcbn.11-005FR.
  • Preedy, V.R.(2012). Handbook of diet, nutrition and the skin. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • Schagen, S. K. (2017).  Topical Peptide Treatments with Effective Anti-Aging Results. Cosmetics.
  • Song R., Zhang K.-Q., Wei R.-B. (2016). In vitro antioxidative activities of squid (Ommastrephes bartrami) viscera autolysates and identification of active peptides. Process Biochem, 51:1674–1682. doi: 10.1016/j.procbio.2016.06.015.
  • Tang, S. C., & Yang, J. H. (2018). Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)23(4), 863. doi:10.3390/molecules23040863.
  • Tran, D., Townley, J. P., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2014). An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology8, 9–17. doi:10.2147/CCID.S75439.

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