5 Anti-Aging Ingredients You Need to Know About

Alle Connell
anti-aging ingredients

Photo: Jamie Grill / Getty

No matter your age, you want your skin to look as amazing as possible. But in addition to not smoking and always wearing sunscreen, the best thing that you can do for your skin is embrace anti-aging products.

No, it’s not about turning back the hands of time; it’s about improving the condition of the skin you have right now. But how do you cut through the hype and find the products that actually work? It turns out that the key is in the ingredients. Here are the five anti-aging ingredients you absolutely need to know about; look for these on the label of your skincare and prepare to reap the rewards.

1. Retinol.

By now you’ve definitely heard about retinol. This Vitamin-A derivative is the current darling of skin care, and it’s easy to see why: it’s been shown to fight lines, sun damage, saggy or crepey skin and improves skin texture, while also speeding up cell turnover and exfoliating away any dullness-causing dead skin cells. Oh, did we mention it also treats acne and skin conditions like keratosis pilaris? Retinol seriously does it all.

Because retinol is sensitive to sunlight, you should only use it at night. If you use a prescription strength retinoid, you’ll see results after four weeks; if you choose an over-the-counter formulation, expect to start seeing results in around twelve weeks.

2. Copper Peptides.

Copper peptides have been used to heal wounds with minimal scarring since the 1970s, but their anti-aging potential wasn’t discovered until the late 90s. Copper peptides increase the skin’s production of collagen and elastin, which both reduces the appearance of wrinkles and firms and plumps skin. It’s also a powerful preventative anti-aging ingredient, having been shown to help protect skin from line-causing daily wear and tear. Copper peptides also reduce the irritation that can be caused by retinols, allowing that ingredient to penetrate deeply without unduly aggravating the skin. We love ingredients that play well together!

You should start to see improvements in your skin after about eight weeks of use.

3. Niacinamide.

Dark spots: whether we’ve gotten them from too much sun, age or as the result of acne, we all know how hard those stubborn patches of hyperpigmentation can be to remove. That’s where niacinamide comes in: derived from vitamin B3, it prevents melanin from rising to the surface, helping to reduce and remove dark spots. It also helps to improve skin’s elasticity while restoring its tone and texture; which means skin looks (and feels) plumper and prettier!

Most lotions and serums containing niacinamide recommend using them once per day for best results. You can expect to see results in a few as eight weeks; dark spots tend to break up quite quickly when you find a formulation that works for you.

4. Hyaluronic Acid.

If you’ve found your skin getting drier as you’ve gotten older, you need extra hyaluronic acid in your life. It’s a humectant, which means that it helps keep your skin moist and firm. It occurs naturally in the human body, especially when young; the reason babies have such amazing skin is because they have lots and lots of hyaluronic acid in their skin. Lotions containing this ingredient will, over time, help plump wrinkles, hydrate dry or crepey skin and smooth away fine lines.

You’ll notice a reduction in dryness after about a week of using a lotion with hyaluronic acid. To see a change in lines and the texture of skin, it’ll take around eight to twelve weeks of twice-daily use.

5. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids.

Alpha-hydroxy acids go hand-in-hand with hyaluronic acids. Occurring naturally, alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic, lactic and citric acids) are chemical exfoliators, working to gently dissolve the dead, uneven top layer of skin and reveal the beautiful new skin underneath. In addition to giving you the brightest and smoothest skin of your life, AHAs have been shown to reduce fine lines and even shrink enlarged pores.

Alpha-hydroxy acids do come with a few side-effects, though: the chemical exfoliation effects mean that skin is more sensitive to sun exposure (so wear sunscreen), and it can be irritating, so you might get a little red the first few times you use it. To minimize these effects, ease into AHAs by applying them every other day for the first week, then build up to using daily. You should begin to see results in as little as four weeks.

More from Daily Makeover: The Benefits of Adding a Serum to Your Skincare Routine.

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