The Absolute Best Anti-Aging Products

Naaila Khan

Apart from fervently chalking out your career path and deciding where the weekend party’s at, hitting the big 2-5 also demands you accommodate serious skincare (not just face-wash-and-I’m-good) into your life goals – particularly anti-aging, the hyphenated word you’ve been hearing all your life but giving a deaf ear to because you were are young and wild and sleeping with makeup on. Once you do shift your quarter life focus to anti-aging, chances are you’ll come out feeling quite lost because frankly, the beauty industry’s created an entire market section dedicated to erase those fine lines. Plus, considering those potions come at a pretty price, it’s hard to pull the trigger on the one.

Allow us to help. First off, here’s what you should be looking for in your youth elixirs, and below, the best time-tested products you can invest in. Welcome to beauty class!

1/4 Sun Protection

Sun damage is what fueled your skin’s aging process in the first place, so it’s a no-brainer that this one’s a superstar in the category. Make sure it’s broad spectrum, SPF 30 or greater and that you’re slathering it liberally all day, everyday. This is your saviour in the long run.

2/4 Exfoliants

Anything that rakes your skin of built-up dead skin cells, grime, and excess oil is imperative to an anti-aging routine. You need to scrub off the outermost think layer from at decent intervals in order for fresh, young skin to surface.

Which exfoliants to look for on your bottle? AHAs (alpha hydroxyl acids – glycolic or lactic acids) or BHA (beta hydroxyl acid – salicylic acid). For them to be effective, AHAs need to be in 5% to 15% concentrations, and salicylic acid in 1% to 2% concentrations.

3/4 Antioxidants

This is the stuff that reduces skin inflammation, repairs DNA damage, and builds the skin’s defense against the sun and environment. It also helps in its healing process.

Retinol, or the vitamin A molecule, is the hero in this category (and as a cell-communicating ingredient– vital for normal functioning skin cells), which means it ups the production of new healthy skin cells and collagen, to give you firmer, better skin. Look for retinol, retinyl palmitate, and retinylaldehyde on your labels; retinoic acid aka tretinoin is only available in prescription-only products, so use those with guidance. When it comes to plant based ingredients, green and white tea are both excellent sources of antioxidants – orally and topically, so is grape seed, soy, curcuminoids (various compounds derived from turmeric), pomegranate, and resveratrol – an antioxidant found in foods such as grapes, nuts, and red wine.

4/4 Skin-identical Ingredients

Ingredients that have a natural make-up similar to skin, replenish any nourishment that’s needed to restore its external barrier – they could also potentially build collagen over time. For example, seawater and blood plasma are made up of similar elements, which is why marine skincare products are having a moment.

Besides these, keep your eyes peeled for:

Vitamin C in its many forms (including ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl glucosamine and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate), great for reducing the appearance of skin discolorations and overall brightening, when applied topically;

Vitamin E (or alpha and beta tocopherol/tocotrienols), that protects from oxidation and collagen damage – stellar when combined with vitamin C;

Niacinamide (or nicotinamide), the active component of vitamin B3, to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin and stimulate microcirculation;

Ceramide, the stuff that holds skin cells together against damage (and is also a hair saviour);

Linoleic/linolenic acids/phospholipids – fatty acids that replenish the skin make-up; and

Hyaluronic acid for its moisture-retaining ability.

Now that you know your basics, scroll through to see some bona fide winning formulas for your anti-aging kit!

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