Category Archives: Anti-Aging Ingredients

Antioxidant Packed Snacks and Lunches

Woman having lunch

Those of us that ate school lunches as children may have been scarred for life.  We may, to this day, have nightmares consisting of grey mystery meat sandwiched between a soggy bun, “pizza”  which is closer to congealed yellow cheese with red sauce on toast, canned vegetables and fruit cocktails consisting of vaguely identifiable fruit, as in, “Is that cube a pear or a pineapple?”  Well, with adulthood, the nightmare may be over, but with our busy schedules, we might find our food options are still somewhat limited, and you may even find yourself having a not so pleasant deja vu, unless your idea of gourmet food is the gas station food shop.

You may have heard a lot about antioxidants lately.  Antioxidants fight free radicals in your body and slow down the aging process.  Sound good?  Here are some ideas for  putting them in your snacks and lunches! They definitely beat the creepy hot lunches and are a lot more healthful no matter who you’re packing for.

Snacks
Trail mix nuts are a great source of antioxidants.  Studies find walnuts can be 2-15 times more powerful than vitamin D when it comes to anti-oxidizing properties.  Add in some dried cranberries and dark chocolate pieces for an added health and antioxidant bonus.

Dark Chocolate!
Who would have thought something so sinful could be so good for you!  Unprocessed, raw cocoa beans are one of the highest scoring foods ever tested on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), the measure of antioxidant activity in food.

Fruit
There is no end to the nutritional benefits of fruit.  They are a delicious easy snack and are rich in antioxidants, with berries and red grapes leading the pack and so easy to add to the lunch bag.

Lunch
How about some broccoli and tomato pizzas? Yum!  Broccoli has antioxidants and Vitamin E and is very effective against breast cancer.  Tomatoes have lycopene which prevents tumor growth. Top with ricotta or mozzarella.  You choose!

Woman having wine at lunch

Grape and Cheese Salad
Red grapes contain the mother load of resveratrol, yes, that red wine ingredient.  Throw some walnuts on top for a crunchy way of getting melanin! And what would a salad be without the baby greens, packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta carotene? Eat up!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Tomatoes and Zucchini
Here’s one for the exotic veggie lover.  The Vitamin A in the squash will fight off the effects of aging and the zucchini has lutein for healthy eyes.  Leave the skin on the zucchini- it has beta carotene.  Great substitute for a carb-rich pasta dish.

Avocado Bean Wrap
Have you died and gone to heaven?  You’ve got black beans and avocados and carrots which mean plenty of immune supporting compounds like betacarotene and vitamin E. Is your mouth watering?

Veggie Lasagna
Mangia!  Try a recipe with kale, the super-food with vitamin A and C.  Throw in cherry tomatoes and garlic, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and your choice of cheeses.

Enjoy and stay young and keep the school lunch ghoulies away!

Cocunut Oil and the Fountain of Youth

Coconut oil is a natural oil derived by pressing the tough white “meat” of the palm coconut, which produces as thick, transparent liquid oil that solidifies at room temperature into a hard white greasy mass. Coconut oil is greatly extolled as an anti-aging “superfood” that’s good for your heart, skin, and hair, a natural anti-ager, and great to consume just about as much as you want of with only positive effects.

Of course, as with many foods or substances of near-legendary hype status, the truth is a bit more mixed than that. Let’s dive into some of the most commonly proclaimed virtues of coconut oil and separate fact from fiction.

Coconut oil

Coconut Oil: “It’s a Healthy Fat, So Eat Up!”
About 84% of coconut oil’s calories are from saturated fat (compared to olive oil’s 14% and butter’s 63%), but it is frequently claimed that high quantities of coconut oil are fine, or even good, because they contain “good” fats. Specifically, coconut oil is made up primarily of medium-chain triglycerides (aka MCTs). MCTs are supposedly better than the more common longer-chain lipids, which are found in large quantities in vegetable oil, dairy, and animal fats.

There are studies that point to coconut oil providing an increased level of HDL cholesterol, which is considered the “good” kind of cholesterol because it helps remove plaque from your arteries. That said, coconut oil consumption also increases LDL cholesterol, aka the “bad” kind, which can cause plaque buildup in your arteries. Granted, small amounts of even “bad” cholesterol are necessary for survival because many essential hormones are synthesized from cholesterol (which is why “zero cholesterol” diets are a terrible idea, and can be dangerous, while low cholesterol diets are more sensible), but you don’t need more than just a little. In any case, the fact that coconut oil increases “good” cholesterol is countered by the fact that it also increases the “bad” kind, meaning it’s far from the freebie food that you can just eat however much you want of, and should be consumed in as much moderation as any other food high in saturated fat (in other words, go ahead and add a tablespoon to your coffee if you like the taste and the way it feels, but that’s about where you should stop on an average day).

Anti-Aging?
Coconut oil does contain antioxidants, and for this reason is often said to be an anti-aging superfood that does everything from slow down wrinkling of the skin to aiding with memory issues arising from Alzheimer’s. While it does have beneficial antioxidants, it’s antioxidant count is fairly low, and you’d be better off with high-antioxidant fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Skin and Hair
So coconut oil may not be the magical superfood it’s hyped up to be, but what about applications to skin and hair care?

This one actually has a fair bit of truth to it. While coconut oil alone shouldn’t replace a solid hair or skincare routine, a small dab of it on your face on top of your moisturizer can be a great help moisturizing, and a little bit rubbed into your hair can help prevent damage, too. Just don’t overdo it; oil is still oil, and can cause breakouts or greasy looking hair/skin if you use way too much.

B Vitamins and Aging

We have more than enough to worry about as we age, so wouldn’t it be nice to solve at least one problem before it happens, or correct it if it already has? This probably sounds like a no-brainer, and with recent advances in medical knowledge, it’s even easier to arm yourself with information to make sure you age gracefully.

Not much was understood about the relationship between B vitamins and aging until somewhat recently, but it is becoming rather clear with recent discoveries that there is likely some kind of connection worth exploring.

Vitamins

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Age
One thing to be keenly aware of is that as you get up there in years, your body looses some of its ability to absorb and process vitamin B12 from your diet. This can lead to a number of symptoms, like anemia, (which often manifests as sluggishness, generalized weakness, and fatigue), muscle weakness, shakiness, incontinence, unsteady gait, low blood pressure, fatigue, cognitive problems (including poor memory), and mood disorders like depression, mood swings, etc. A vast majority of these symptoms, save for anemia, will generally be simply dismissed as “signs of aging.” This can be avoided by simply taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

B Vitamin Myths
The only solid evidence for a connection between B vitamins and aging is that our bodies grow less proficient at absorbing vitamin B12 as we grow older, and this should probably be corrected for. You should be skeptical of any other claims, such as purported links between overloading on B vitamins and improved skin appearance and health. In fact, overdosing on some B vitamins can cause serious side effects. Too much vitamin B-3 (Niacin) can cause skin flushing, pain, liver toxicity, and high blood sugar. Too much vitamin B-6 can cause nerve damage and skin lesions. Too much B-9 (aka Folate or Folic Acid) can cause kidney damage, and can mask the presence of a B-12 deficiency, if you have one. Too much vitamin B-12 can cause acne and rosacea in some. Of course, deficiencies have nasty side effects too, but taking way more than necessary is, as you can see, more harmful than helpful.

In short, definitely do take a vitamin B-12 supplement to prevent deficiency as you age, but don’t take more than 100% DV on B12 or any other B vitamins, or almost any vitamins, for that matter.

As ever, a healthy dose of doubt is always helpful in discerning fact from fiction, whether in skincare, overall health, or life in general. And when in doubt, see if you can find a consensus of expert opinion—which means a majority of experts are in agreement, not just one or two—and/or double-blind controlled-variable clinical studies. If you can’t find either, take the claim as an unknown possibility at best, and falsification at worst.

Spinach for Healthy Skin

Woman sipping green juice

Spinach is an incredibly nutrient dense vegetable that also happens to taste great. It is also a super versatile ingredient to keep in your kitchen because it can make an amazingly fresh salad just as easily as it can supercharge your smoothie. Saturday, March 26th, is National Spinach Day and what better way to celebrate than fixing your favorite spinach recipes. If you need further reasons to grab a bunch of this leafy green, check out the skin benefits that spinach has.

Hydration
Spinach contains an astounding amount of water, and keeping your body hydrated benefits your skin. Just a one cup serving of spinach contains 164 grams of water, which is the equivalent to five ounces! Your skin cells need water in order to function properly and without this water, your skin is more prone to wrinkles, dryness and dullness.

Anti-Aging
Free radical damage and loss of collagen and elastin have significant impacts on how your skin ages. As you age, your natural collagen production slows down, and your skin loses some of the support that keeps it firm and smooth. Spinach contains beneficial vitamin A, which possesses some serious antioxidant power. In a one cup serving of spinach, your receive 943 micrograms of vitamin A, which is more than the daily recommended value for the average healthy adult.

Under-Eye Darkness
There are many factors that contribute to dark circles under your eyes, some of which you can control and others you cannot. Your genes play a role in whether or not you have dark circles as do things like alcohol consumption and lack of sleep. Vitamin K is a powerhouse at combating dark circles because it encourages healthy blood circulation, strengthens blood vessels and promotes blood clotting, all of which help diminish dark circles. Vitamin K can also help clear your skin and it reduces inflammation in the body and skin. One cup of spinach gives you 900 micrograms of vitamin K, which is 10 times the daily recommended value for a healthy adult female.

Skin Repair
Another potent antioxidant contained in spinach is the anti-aging powerhouse, vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, which as we mentioned early is crucial to keeping your skin looking and acting young. Collagen, in turn, is required to manufacture new, young and healthy skin cells. You can get 18 milligrams of vitamin C in a one cup serving of spinach, which is almost 25 percent of the recommended daily value for a healthy adult female.

Spinach is one of the greatest superfoods you can include in your diet. Not only does it benefit your skin, but it has amazing benefits for your overall health as well. Celebrate National Spinach Day on March 26th by enjoying your favorite dishes that incorporate spinach; your skin will thank you.

Skin treatment

Copper Peptides

Skin care is constantly evolving and new products, compounds and formulas are introduced every day. However, sometimes it isn’t always the newest ingredients that pack the biggest punch for your skin. Copper peptides have been studied since the 1970s and have been used widely in skin care since the 1990s. Unfortunately, these potent anti-aging compounds are surrounded by misinformation and confusion. To find out what copper peptides are and why they benefit your skin, keep reading.

What are Copper Peptides?
Generally speaking, peptides are small fragments of proteins. Some peptides have a strong affinity for copper and these peptides bind tightly to copper. When peptides bind to copper, the resulting compound is known as a copper peptide, which occurs naturally but can be also be made synthetically. Copper is naturally found in bodily tissues, and a depletion of copper has been associated with degenerative diseases. One of the main purposes of copper in the body is to reduce inflammation, and it is for this reason that copper is becomingly an increasingly popular anti-aging ingredient. An abundance of inflammation in the body is associated with aging, including signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, and because copper peptides help to reduce inflammation, they are thought to have a positive effect on aging and signs of aging.

Copper Peptides and Skin Care
Research on copper peptides began in 1973 when biochemist, Dr. Loren Pickart, isolated these compounds and found that copper peptides were helpful in healing skin wounds and lesions. Since then, copper peptides have continued to garner research that supports the idea that they are beneficial when it comes to reversing signs of aging. Studies have proven that copper peptides rejuvenate the skin cells and boost the skin’s natural production of collagen and elastin, both of which are necessary to keep your skin looking young and firm. Collagen and elastin strengthen the skin, helping it to maintain elasticity and a youthful appearance, and in one study, copper peptides were found to be more effective at stimulating collagen than either tretinoin (vitamin A) or ascorbate (vitamin C).

Copper Peptides and Anti-Aging
In addition to stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, copper peptides promote the production of glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid. Glycosaminoglycans are found in the connective tissue and fluids in the human body and are largely responsible for keeping skin plump, supple and in the case of hyaluronic acid, hydrated. Whether or not copper peptides are safe has been debated, but since these compounds occur naturally, experts suggest that if you experience any irritation after using a product containing copper peptides, then you are more than likely sensitive to something else in the ingredient list. Further, clinical research has proven that copper peptides are antioxidants that fight against free radical damage, which is another major contributing factor to aging.

Using a product that contains copper peptides is a great way to fight against the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. These naturally occurring compounds boost collagen and elastin production and stimulate the production of other anti-aging superstars like hyaluronic acid. When you want to effectively and safely decrease signs of aging, look for skin care products that contain copper peptides.

Benefits of Palm Oil

When it comes to tropical oils, coconut oil is the most well-known and widely used, but a new tropical oil is beginning to becomes more prevalent in both the health and beauty industries. Palm oil is the second most common produced vegetable oil worldwide, but it is just now getting some major attention. According to the American Palm Oil Council, palm oil has been consumed and used for a variety of health benefits for more than 5,000 years. Find out what palm oil is and what benefits it has below.

Palm fruits and oil

What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil comes from one of the few fatty fruits in existence and has a fatty acid composition different from other plant and animal oils. Palm oil is comprised of 50 percent saturated, 40 percent unsaturated and 10 percent polyunsaturated fats, and it is also loaded with several phytonutrients:

  • Alpha-, beta- and gamma carotenes (carotenoids)
  • Sterols
  • Tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E derivatives)
  • Phenolic acids
  • Flavonoids

Benefits of Palm Oil

  • Anti-Aging – Vitamin E harnesses its antioxidant power to fight off free radicals that cause skin damage and fine lines and wrinkles, and vitamin E in the form of tocopherol is a common ingredient found in anti-aging beauty products because it is a powerful antioxidant. While tocopherol is a great anti-aging ingredient, palm oil contains a derivative of vitamin E that is even more intense and is a stronger antioxidant than tocopherol. Tocotrienols are harder to find than other vitamin E derivatives and are able to penetrate your skin in order to provide protection from the base up.
  • Moisturizing – Palm oil is found in numerous skin care and beauty products ranging from cleansers to lotions, and even in some foundations. Vitamin E has been used for a long time to treat problematic skin because it is nourishing and palm oil is a great source of vitamin E. As stated above, palm oil penetrates the skin deeply and while this provides protection, it also provides deep conditioning to your skin.
  • Lowered Disease Risk – While palm oil is still being studied in regards to its disease-related benefits, palm oil is associated with lower risk of:
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Blood clotting
    • Cancer
    • Cataracts
    • Cognitive decline
    • High cholesterol
    • High blood pressure
    • Macular degeneration
    • Vitamin A deficiency

There is some controversy surrounding palm oil and whether or not it is actually beneficial to your health, but there is positive research that suggests palm oil does provide health benefits. As with all oils, you want to look for palm oil that has been cold-pressed and unrefined. If you use a palm oil that has been refined, you negate any of the positive impacts that it can have for your health, so be sure to buy cold-pressed, unrefined palm oil.

Heart-Healthy Drinks

Heart disease is a serious threat, but with proper care and education, heart disease is also quite preventable. Maintaining a healthy diet full of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is one part of keeping your heart healthy. Getting regular exercise is also incredibly important when you are taking steps to keep your heart healthy, as is reducing as much stress as possible. However, food, exercise and stress reduction aren’t the only things you can do to help prevent heart disease. You may not put much thought into the beverages you consume, but if you want to keep your heart healthy, it’s time to start. Below, find some of the best heart-healthy drinks.

Coffee beans

Coffee
If you can’t live without your morning cup of coffee, then prepare to be excited. Coffee actually registers more antioxidant activity than tea, which is well-known and widely used for its antioxidant abilities. A study involving more than 83,000 women found that those who drank two cups of coffee each day were at a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than those who drank no coffee each day. The antioxidants in coffee inhibit inflammation in your body, and coffee not only lowers your risk for strokes, it lowers your risk for all cardiovascular disease. Consume coffee in moderation; about two to four cups of coffee each day.

Green Tea

Green Tea
Coffee may register more antioxidant activity than green tea, but that doesn’t mean that green tea is without benefits. Green tea contains plenty of heart-healthy antioxidants that have been shown (in a 2004 study) to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Additionally, green tea lowers cholesterol, decreases the risk of blood clots and stroke, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Aim to drink two to four cups of green tea daily for maximum heart benefits.

Server pouring red wine

Red Wine
Red wine is full of cardioprotective compounds and perhaps the most well-known is resveratrol. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that is found in the skin of grapes in addition to berries and some types of nuts. The antioxidant properties found in resveratrol have many health benefits, one of which is protecting the blood vessels around your heart and stopping blood clots from forming. There is also some evidence that red wine can raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. It is important to remember that drinking any alcohol, including red wine, in excessive amounts is detrimental to your health, so consume red wine in moderation. Experts recommend drinking no more than a four or five ounce serving of red wine once a day.

Your heart health is of the utmost importance, and there are many ways that you can promote heart health and protect yourself from cardiovascular disease. Incorporate these heart-healthy drinks into your diet for increased heart health.

Top Anti-Aging Oils

Beauty oils have been a major skincare trend for several years and there is a reason that these products continue to be popular – they are effective, yet gentle. If you use the right oils, you can not only add moisture to your skin, you can also arm it against environmental damage, stimulate collagen production and decrease signs of aging like discoloration. With so many oils available, it can be difficult to know where to start looking. Below, find four of the absolute best oils you can use for anti-aging.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet Almond Oil
Dry skin is one of the most common frustrations when it comes to aging, and sweet almond oil is incredible at thoroughly hydrating your skin. Sweet almond oil contains significant amounts of vitamins E and K which helps your skin regenerate and maintain elasticity in addition to improving circulation. While sweet almond oil is not a substitute for sunscreen, it is a natural ultraviolet radiation blocker and it can increase the effectiveness of your sunscreens. Sweet almond oil is the perfect anti-aging oil for you if you aren’t fond of overly oily oils or pungent smells that can accompany other oils. This oil is nearly odorless and absorbs rather quickly into the skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
Antioxidants are incredibly helpful in the fight against aging, and coconut oil is extremely high in the antioxidant vitamin E. This skin-softening antioxidant also helps protect your skin against environmental damage, including UV radiation, and fights wrinkle-causing free radicals. Coconut oil is also composed mainly of lauric acid – a medium chain fatty acid that provides skin benefits. Coconut oil can help with signs of aging all over the body and may help fade the appearance of not only wrinkles, but stretch marks as well. This oil has a pleasant, mild coconut smell and is in solid form until heated.

Argan Oil

Argan Oil
There is a reason that argan oil has become omnipresent in the world of beauty – it works. Argan oil is composed of about 80 percent fatty acids which are known to help erase visible signs of aging such as wrinkles. Argan oil is full of antioxidants that protect against environmental concerns like UV rays. One prominent sign of aging is hyperpigmentation, or sun spots, that indicate previous damage and argan oil can help fade these spots of discoloration for a more even complexion. Argan oil also encourages and increases the rate of regeneration of healthy skin cells, meaning that newer, healthier skin cells improve the appearance of your skin.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot Kernel Oil
If you have dry and damaged skin, apricot kernel oil is perhaps the best anti-aging oil available for you. Apricot kernel oil contains the intensely hydrating omega-6 gamma-linoleic acid to nourish your skin, while vitamins A and E encourage regeneration of skin cells and promotes the production of collagen to fight wrinkles and keep skin smooth and even. You do not have to have dry or damaged skin to use apricot kernel oil for anti-aging, this oil is considered non-greasy and does not take too long to absorb into the skin.

When looking to anti-aging oils be sure to select those that are labeled as organic, unrefined and cold-pressed. These oils retain the most vitamins and nutrients and provide the maximum benefits to your skin. You can use the above oils on their own or as a carrier oil for blends of essential oils, such as tea tree for acne. If you are looking for great anti-aging benefits in your skincare products, check out one of these four incredible anti-aging oils.

Best Ingredients for More Youthful Skin

The ingredients you put onto your skin have a significant and direct impact on your appearance. If you’ve been looking in the mirror and seeing skin that appears dull, rough, dry or lackluster, it’s time to add some serious anti-aging ingredients into your skin care routine. However, there are so many products with even more ingredients and it can be a little daunting to know what ingredients really are the best when it comes to achieving more youthful looking skin. Read below to find out the top five best ingredients for more youthful skin and why they are the best.

Woman holding a vitamin capsule

Retinol
Retinol is the purest form of vitamin A and it is one of the most beneficial ingredients to keep your skin looking young. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient that essentially tells your skin cells to look and act younger. It stimulates collagen production, activates cellular metabolism for more rapid cell turnover, fades the appearance of sun or age spots and reduces fine lines. By communicating with your cells to perform all of these tasks, retinol gives your face a firmer, younger and more even appearance.

Green tea

Antioxidants
Free radical damage is one of the most significant causes of aging and unfortunately, there are types of free radical exposure that you can’t avoid such as the sun, oxygen or pollution. What you can do is to look for skin care products that contain an array of antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, green tea extract and vitamin E. Vitamin C is a favorite among dermatologists because this antioxidant boosts your skin’s natural defenses against sun damage and also encourages collagen production.

Hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hydrated skin is an important part of a youthful appearance, and hyaluronic acid is one of the greatest skin care ingredients for adding moisture to your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is able to draw moisture from the air and hold that moisture into your skin, and hyaluronic acid is so powerful that it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid makes your fine lines and wrinkles become significantly less noticeable because as it holds water, it plumps the appearance of your skin.

Grapes in a vineyard

Resveratrol
Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, blueberries, cranberries and Goji berries and also in wine and some nuts. High-quality skin care products also harness the power of resveratrol to fight signs of aging. Resveratrol features a number of potent antioxidant properties and helps keep your skin looking young. It also helps protect against further environmental damage by fighting off free radicals.

Milk

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Exfoliation is a crucial step in maintaining youthful-looking skin and alpha-hydroxy acids are incredible for this purpose. Alpha-hydroxy acids are generally derived from fruit or milk sugars. Some common alpha-hydroxy acids are lactic acid and glycolic acid. These acids exfoliate your skin by gently dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. This allows for the dead skin cells to be sloughed away from the skin to reveal smoother, more even skin and can also help reduce the appearance of pores.

Not all skin care ingredients are created equal. Some, like the five above, are seriously powerful anti-aging ingredients that provide your skin with a more luminous and youthful appearance. When selecting skin care products, always check the ingredient list to see how high on the list these anti-aging superstars are. The closer to the beginning of the list, the higher the concentration of each ingredient in the product. Choosing well-formulate, quality skin care products that contain these five best ingredients for more youthful skin will keep your face looking young and radiant.

Why Retinol is so Important for Anti-Aging

Retinol, while not a new skincare ingredient, is everywhere and pops up in products from potent antioxidant serums to foundations. The reason that retinol is everywhere? Because it works. Retinol is an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that fights the signs of aging and encourages skin to act in a younger, healthier way. Find out just what retinol is and why it is so important for anti-aging below.

Vitamin A chemical formula

What is Retinol?
Retinol is just another name for vitamin A and it can be broken down into more potent compounds that are referred to as retinoids. “Retinol is an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell,” explains skincare expert Paula Begoun. Retinol is somewhat of an umbrella term and the vitamin A molecule is broken down into many derivatives of vitamin A that are known as retinoids. In a paper published on PubMed Central, a service of the US National Library of Medicine, the authors state that “retinoids are very well known to influence a variety of cellular processes, such as cellular growth and differentiation, cell surface alterations and immune modulation.” It is the influence that retinol and retinol derivatives have at the cellular level that are responsible for the immense anti-aging benefits of these ingredients.

How Does Retinol Counteract Aging?
“Retinol is an antioxidant, and thus can help interrupt the free-radical damage process that cause skin to look and act older. This action helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production,” says Begoun. In order to actually influence cell behavior, retinol has to undergo a process of breakdown and conversion. “Before retinol can successfully go to work in skin, it must be converted into it’s active form – all-trans retinoic acid. Once retinol has been applied to skin, enzymes in the skin break it down into all-trans retinoic acid, which then goes on to help regulate cell function,” notes Begoun.

As you age, the effects of sun damage become more visible and apparent in the forms of discoloration or sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles and larger pores. Retinol, when converted to retinoic acid, is able to influence cells that fight against these signs of aging. Although retinol can’t reduce large pores caused by genetics, it is able to decrease pore size that occurs as a result of sun damage. In addition, retinol promotes an increase in substances that enhance and improve the skin’s structural elements, meaning your skin is strengthened, and retinol is also helpful at stimulating collagen production which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol is available in a variety of forms and can be found in cosmetic products that are readily available. There are also prescription strength retinol products that are used both for acne and aging. Before beginning a retinol regime, it’s important to know that retinol can cause sensitivity and irritation and it often takes some time before your skin gets used to this ingredient. Consulting with a dermatologist or doctor is a great way to know what concentration of retinol would be most beneficial. While there is no single ingredient that magically solves aging concerns, when retinol is used with other quality ingredients and products, it is an incredibly effective ingredient that helps skin look and act younger.