||This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (October 2014)|
Anti-aging supplements are a set of products that often include powdered supplements, skin creams, vitamins, and facial masks. They are designed to reduce or diminish the effects of aging. Many products seek to hide the effects of aging while others claim to alter the body's chemical balances to slow the physical effects of aging. A comprehensive grading scale for anti-aging of the skin has been validated and categorizes skin aging as: laxity (sagging), rhytids (wrinkles), and the various categories of photoaging, including erythema (redness), dyspigmentation (brown discolorations), solar elastosis (yellowing), keratoses (abnormal growths), and poor texture.
Despite great demand, many such products and treatments have not been proven to give lasting or major positive effects. One study found that the best performing creams reduced wrinkles by less than 10% over 12 weeks which is not noticeable to the human eye. Another study found that cheap moisturizers were as effective as high-priced anti-wrinkle creams. One published study, funded by Boots, found that one of Boots' products reduced wrinkles.[unreliable medical source?]
Traditionally, anti-aging creams have been marketed towards women, but products specifically targeting men are increasingly common.
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The belief in the benefits of anti-aging creams, along with their use, should be met with skepticism. Nearly every brand and type delivers information about the product being “scientifically tested” or “scientifically proven” however, the results of these studies are rarely made available to consumers. This suggests that the legitimacy of these studies and subsequent results are highly questionable.
Aging is a natural process which is accompanied by normal physical, chemical, and biological changes in the body. These changes include facial and body wrinkling of the skin and this process is common to all human beings. To believe so easily that a cream could prevent and/or reduce the process of skin aging all on its own does not fit with how the world really works. If this problem had such a simple solution, individuals (including our ancestors) would likely have perfect complexions free of age-related problems. Similarly, if the solution to anti-aging was so easy for us to attain, there would be no need for hundreds or thousands of products on the commercial market which provide similar claims yet produce products with differing ingredients.
Theoretically, cosmetics promise to alter or “enhance” function, however they do not change any cellular or biochemical reactions or processes within the skin. Secondly, these products and chemicals are unregulated by any governing body, thus allowing potentially dangerous or harmful ingredients to be added with the promise of results. Before blindly accepting that certain chemicals cause anti-aging results, it is necessary to do research to determine the safety of these products.
As well as more conventional moisturizing ingredients, anti-aging creams usually contain anti-aging ingredients such as:
- Retinoids (for instance, in the form of retinyl palmitate). In various formulations it has been shown to reduce fine lines and pores.
- Epidermal growth factor, a 53 amino acid protein. In various research, epidermal growth factor has been shown to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. It also has healing (wounds and burns) and anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin.
- Fatty acids are often added and derived from naturally occurring substances such as sandalwood, barley, and Phellodendron bark, which are designed to maintain skin moisture and seal in other moisturizing agents within the cream.
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids or other chemical peels. These help to dissolve the intracellular "glue" that holds the dead cells together on the skin. The use of this type of product on a daily basis gradually enhances the exfoliation of the epidermis. This exposes newer skin cells and can help improve appearance. AHAs may irritate some skin, causing redness and flaking.
- Peptides, such as acetyl hexapeptide-3 (Argireline), Matryxil, and copper peptides.
- Coenzyme Q10 --> MitoQ
- Anti-oxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
- Sunscreens. A high level of UVA protection is recommended as UVA radiation is associated with aging effects such as wrinkles.
- Vitamin C
The effects of these ingredients depend on their concentration and mode of application. Many skin care companies recommend using a treatment program which may combine these ingredients. For example, AHAs can make the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun, so the increased use of sunscreens is often recommended.
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