Maximize powerful anti-aging skin cream ingredients

April 27, 2012

Retinol is still regarded as a powerhouse; the trick is how to use it.
Retinol is still regarded as a powerhouse; the trick is how to use it.

Retinol, hydroquinone, sunscreen, antioxidants and alpha hydroxyl acids are five potent skin cream ingredients with antiaging benefits. These standout elements add real punch to creams and serums, but use them the wrong way and your skin will stage a rebellion. The April 2012 issue of Allure magazine reveals how to use these powerful ingredients so that your skin glows instead of becoming inflamed, red and flaky. Because skin is such a sensitive organ and everyone reacts differently, there are no guarantees that your skin will respond well to these ingredients.

Retinol aka “the cure-all” is listed first because it is “among the best anti-aging ingredients we have,” according to a clinical professor of dermatology at Yale. This vitamin-A derivative sweeps away dead cells, boosts collagen and elastin and pumps up circulation. To use it effectively: 1) make sure it’s packaged so that light and air don’t degrade it, 2) avoid products with retinyl linoleate and retinyl palmitate; they’re less effective, 3) use retinol at night, 4) apply to dry skin after cleansing, 5) make sure it tingles (if you can’t feel it, it’s not strong enough) and 6) dab around the eyes every third night only.

Hydroquinone aka “the eraser,” the most effective tool for bleaching skin, fades hyperpigmentation (dark skin spots). Dab it directly on your dark spots, but also make sure to apply sunscreen relentlessly. If UV rays hit your unprotected skin, the spots you’ve faded will resurface. At the same time, you can also assault your spots with a glycolic or salicylic acid cleanser, smooth on a brightening lotion or layer on the new fact-acting enzyme Melanozyme, which dissolves pigment on the skin’s surface. For a large blotchy area, Allure recommends a professional in-office peel. 

Sunscreen aka “the preventer” will be most effective if you follow these rules: 1) choose a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher; a sunscreen with antioxidants will boost effectiveness, 2) apply 20 minutes before sunlight exposure 3) use at least a teaspoon for your face and 4) wear it on your body every night before a beach vacation because it builds up in your skin.

Antioxidants aka “fixers,” such as vitamin C, green tea, pomegranate, CoffeeBerry or idebenone can be layered on to help prevent wrinkles, spots and maybe even skin cancer. Their role is to save cells from environmental damage. Choose a serum with multiple antioxidants to target free radicals in different ways.

Finally, alpha hydroxyl acids, aka “radiance makers,” such as glycolic acid, help to fade blotches and allow other anti-aging ingredients to penetrate faster and work more effectively. But do not do use peels more than twice a week and do follow a “peel” with treatment serum and a barrier boosting moisturizer.

If you’re still not happy with your skin’s performance, you can get help from a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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