AHAs and antioxidants and retinols and retinoids – Oh My!! With all the terms we are bombarded with every day – from Oprah to Elle – the world of anti-aging gets bigger and more confusing with ever y minute that passes! Rather than stumble, hazed and confused, from beauty counter to beauty counter, here’s a complete guide to everything anti-aging in skincare—from A to Z.
AHAs: Alpha Hydroxy Acids found naturally in fruit and milk, they are used in chemical peels as natural exfoliators and are known to help reduce the appearance of skin imperfections from fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: An ingredient that can decrease the appearance of fine lines and support anti-oxidants like vitamin C to help eliminate free radicals. This gem comes in supplement form as well, helping to strengthen the skin from the inside out.
Antioxidants: Vitamins and minerals found naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, and chocolate that counteracts the effects of free radicals by blocking the damaging effects of the radicals and restoring free radicals to healthy, functioning cells.
Botox: A prescription injectable used to block communication between the nerves and muscles to paralyze the muscles in the face. This helps smooth skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Depending on how your body naturally metabolizes, the results can last up to 6 months (insert perma-grin here)!
Broken Capillaries: Tiny extensions of veins under the skin that get damaged via sun, alcohol, rigorous skincare, excessive, heat, etc… making them red and visible through the skin.
Collagen: A protein found naturally in the dermis; collagen acts as the support system for your skin, helping it bounce back to its natural, resilient form after funny facial expressions and environmental stressors. Over time, collagen gets weaker and is produced less allowing fine lines and wrinkles to form.
Crow’s Feet: The wrinkles that appear on the outside corners of the eyes, as a result of the natural aging process and common facial expressions, generally with three lines shaped like a crow’s foot.
Dermal Fillers: Usually given by injection, fillers add volume and fullness to the face to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and deviations and imperfections from physical damage to the skin. They can be used to plump up thin lips, soften wrinkles, and improve the look of scars.
Dermis: The second layer of skin, located beneath the epidermis, the dermis is the layer where wrinkles form.
Dysport: A prescription injectable that works like botox, paralyzing muscles and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Elastin: A protein located in the dermis, it works synergistically with collagen to support skin’s cellular structure and provide elasticity. Over time, environmental exposure decreases the amount of elastin in the skin.
Ferulic Acid: This powerful antioxidant kills free radicals and helps ward off sun damage, repairing the skin from past exposure. It can also increase the efficacy of other anti-oxidants like vitamin C and E.
Fraxel: A Laser treatment, performed by certified physicians, that can take between 15 and 45 minutes. It smoothes out skin’s texture, helping to minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, surface scarring, pigmentation, and sun damage.
Free Radicals: Cells in the body that have been damaged by the process of oxidation. These cells are missing an electron and try to correct the problem by stealing their missing electron from healthy cells. Free radicals feed off of healthy cells, damaging DNA and causing premature aging.
Frown Lines: This refers to two kinds of wrinkles: the vertical lines that form between the eyebrows and the vertical lines that form across the forehead. And you get them from – you guessed it – frowning. So smile more and see us for Botox.
Glycation: The process by which excess sugar consumption breaks down collagen and elastin, causing skin damage and accelerated aging.
Glycolic Acid: An AHA and natural exfoliator found in sugar cane, it penetrates the pores to remove dead skin cells and debris while lightening discoloration for healthier and more youthful looking skin.
Hydroquinone: A lightening/whitening agent used to reduce hyperpigmentation and eliminate sun spots.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): A light therapy treatment performed in a medical-based setting; it stimulates collagen production and targets multiple signs of aging simultaneously, including but not limited to: spider veins, broken capillaries and dark spots.
Kojic Acid: An ingredient with similar effects as hydroquinone, lightening sun spots and reducing hyper pigmentation.
Laugh Lines: Are the best lines!! These wrinkles form around the side of the mouth from the nose to the chin; also known as parentheses.
Microdermabrasion: An exfoliating treatment, usually done on the face, neck and chest, it uses a specialized tool to buff away dead skin cells. This helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and smoothes out textured skin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An antioxidant that helps protect the skin from UV damage, and it keeps skin and hair hydrated and radiant. It can be found naturally in fish, flaxseed and walnuts and in supplement form.
Oxidation: The process of cells being exposed to oxygen. It is a natural process that may lead to cell death, in which case, dead cells are usually replaced by new and healthy ones. In some cases, oxidation will damage cells, turning them into free radicals.
Peptides: Small proteins shown to increase collagen production. Peptide technology is continually improving and improving its capacity to help smoothe out wrinkles and lines while increasing overall firmness and suppleness in the skin.
Plant Stem Cells: Don’t believe the hype.
Retinol: Derived from vitamin A, retinol is considered one of the most effective ingredients for reversing sun damage and other signs of aging because it speeds cellular turnover (or the production of new skin cells). Essentially, Retinol creates new, delicate skin. Because of this, it should only be used as part of a nighttime skincare regimen laid out for you by a professional. Retinol and sunshine do not mix, so please remember your SPF.
Salicylic Acid: an ingredient used to exfoliate skin and improve its texture, it can help minimize the appearance of fine lines while cleaning out pores.
Selenium: This mineral (found in whole grains, seafood, garlic and eggs) helps preserve skin elasticity and protect the skin for excessive UV damage. Eat up, buttercup.
SPF: The leading cause of premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles is exposure to the sun and it’s UVAging and UVBurning rays. Using sunscreen daily is the best way to prevent that damage. Make sure yours has a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15. If you’re in the sun for a prolonged time, reapply every 45-60 minutes to ensure you’re consistently protected.
Spider Veins: These look like capillaries and are usually red, purple and blue veins that appear under the skin, usually in the legs and face.
Sun Spots: Also called dark spots or age spots; these appear on the skin, in an array of colors and sizes, after prolonged sun exposure that leads to loss of elasticity, dehydration, and cellular damage.
Varicose Veins: Often painful, the large, swollen veins are visible through the skin in the legs.
Vitamin A: Used to make some of the most effective anti-aging ingredients, including retinol. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that can help reduce the appearance of circles under the eyes. For a list of foods that contain Vitamin A, click here.
Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant, this vitamin helps ward off free radicals and decrease environmental damage, including the damaging effects of the sun’s rays (but a replacement for SPF it is not). It can also boost the body’s natural ability to produce skin-firming collagen and decrease inflammation in the skin.
Vitamin E: Another vitamin with antioxidant properties, vitamin E is a natural non-comedogenic moisturizer that can repair dry, cracked skin, while helping protect it from UVB rays.
Xeomin: An injectable available by prescription. It works like Botox and Dysport by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles and paralyzing the muscles to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.