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'About Anti Aging Ingredients" Kathy Ronning Licensed Esthetician

The Three Most Effective Anti-aging Ingredients

More than simply the passage of time (aging) environmental factors, especially UV damage, plays the largest part in skin aging. Therefore, we can do a lot in preventing and reversing skin aging. The three most important topical skin ingredients to combat skin aging are vitamin A, antioxidants and peptides.

These three ingredients are synergistic when used together and are powerful and effective in treating aging skin.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A was first used as an anti-aging ingredient in the 1950's but was not widely accepted and used until the 1980's. It had been observed that sun exposed skin was aging faster than protected skin. The sun exposed skin was deficient in vitamin A where as the protected skin had normal vitamin A levels. After much research, it was determined that skin aging is actually the result of localized vitamin A deficiency as the result of UV exposure. Therefore, replacing vitamin A is a critical step in your anti-aging regime.

Vitamin A is part if the chemical family called retinoids. There are four forms of vitamin A and each are used for both prevention and treatment of aging skin.

Retinol Palmitate is the main ester or "fat" form of vitamin A used in anti-aging products. The ester form is the most gentle on the skin and is the recommended starting form of vitamin A in an anti-aging skin care regime. This is also the only form of vitamin A that should be used during the day because it does not increase sun sensitivity.

Retinol is the alcohol form of vitamin A and is considered the basic form of vitamin A from a chemical point of view. It is the the most widely used formulation in skin care.

Retinaldehyde (retinal) is only one metabolic step away from retinoic acid which is the metabolically active form of vitamin A.

This is the least known and used form of vitamin A in skin care.

Retinoic acid is generally only available on prescription for topical use. There are several formulations of retin A depending on their specific action such as treating acne or aging. Retin A more than the other forms of vitamin A can cause skin irritation, drying, flaking, redness and peeling so it should be used under the supervision of a physician.

Regardless of which form of vitamin A you choose, they all convert to retinoic acid once inside the cell's nucleus. Starting with retinol palmitate is just a slower and gentler process.


In the1990's people began to realize that free radicals were a real danger to the health of our skin. During this time vitamin C (ascorbic acid) became popular for its antioxidant activity. Vitamin C is the most widely used antioxidant in skincare and is considered the most important vitamin to protect the cell from free radical damage. No single antioxidant alone will meet all the demands of free radicals so multiple antioxidants such as vitamin E, beta carotene and green tea along with vitamin C is the best approach.

Free radicals are atoms that lack at least one electron in their outer shell which make them unstable and destructive to nearby atoms. When the atom loses an electron from being damaged, it tries to steal an electron from another atom which can set off a chain reaction resulting in thousands of atoms (speaking here of atoms in skin cells) becoming damaged. It bounces around like a billiard ball trying to restore its electrical balance. This all happens in under a twenty-thousandth of a second.

Antioxidants are able to neutralize the free radical by supplying the necessary electron without becoming a free radical themselves. Antioxidants are supplied by some plants especially fruits and vegetables. It is important to get these through your diet and also applied topically.

Antioxidants increase the benefits of sunscreen not by blocking the UV rays but by mopping up the excess free radicals caused by the UV damage.

Even after sunburn, applying topical antioxidants help the burned skin return to normal at a faster rate. Because antioxidants are able to protect the DNA of the cell from UV damage, they also help protect from skin cancer. Skin cancer is a result of damage to the DNA in the cell.


Peptides are the most exciting field in skin care research today. The latest advances in skin care in the past 15 years have been in peptides. Peptides are short chains of amino acids (proteins) that signal the cell to perform specific actions. They nourish and strengthen the skin helping the skin behave and look as if it were younger. Peptides give us a chance to stop the natural degradation from sun damage and other environmental damage.

Peptides are specific in their activity and can be intercellular messengers sending messages from one cell to another. These can be signaling peptides. An example would be matrixyl, which signal the cell to stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin. Another peptide activity is neurotransmitters, which affect the activity on the nerve impulse stimulating muscles. The most common of this type of peptide is argireline, (commonly called Botox in a bottle). Copper peptides have been used for years in wound healing and those same effects make it useful in skin rejuvenation.

In conclusion, these three products (vitamin A, antioxidants and peptides) should be applied twice a day on clean skin. It doesn't matter which is applied first and it works fine to cocktail the products together to apply. Don't forget to always follow with sunscreen during the day.

Kathy Ronning


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