Anti-ageing Beauty Products
Anti-ageing beauty products have captured the lions'share of the cosmetics market in the recent times. They cater to the much innate desire of humans to look young, beautiful and desirable. By harnessing these desires and putting them inside a bottle, anti-ageing manufacturers have bettered their prospects of profit maximization. In this sense, many believe that Anti-ageing products sell more ‘dreams’ than creams.
BUt they have their detractors too. Recently Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop, rubbished claims that anti-wrinkle creams slow down the ageing process while speaking to the BBC news service. She went on to describe the entire process as a "complete pap" and warned that she would disown The Body Shop if its chief executive Patrick Gournay ever introduced anti-wrinkle creams.
Most often than not, air brushed models are used to sell these creams, celebrities are roped in to sell to the audience the secret of their peaches-and-cream complexion. The audience is usually not fully unaware of these gimmicks. Yet there is still that little voice that goads women to try it out for “what if the magic does work and the years can truly be reversed”. It is this little hope of millions of women across the world that sustains the present and future of this anti-ageing product market, a market that is doing phenomenally well and deemed to do even better by the trade pundits.
 Anti-Ageing Cream- The Works
What is it that makes anti-ageing products such a huge draw? Apart from the usual reduction in wrinkles, these creams also tend to provide deep moisturisation, which is the basis of good, healthy skin. It reduces the incidence of fine lines, makes the skin taut (usually associated with young skin), lightens patches and polishes the skin to reveal younger looking skin which shines with health and radiance. This is why these products are very popular, especially with women over the age of 35, sometimes even less, whose skin starts losing elasticity, shine and shows the first signs of wrinkles, laugh lines and crows feet-all signs of ageing.
Some of the best brands in the world are those produced by cosmetic giants like L’Oreal, Cliniq, Mac, Estee lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Olay to name a few. These creams are clinically tested alternatives to dermal filling injections that usually use the magic portion of today that goes by the name of BOTOX. Using an ingenuous method, the cream transports the active ingredients of the anti-ageing formula deep within the skin from where the effects begin to show.
The labels of most Anti Ageing products reveal similar ingredients. Practically all formulations use a basic ingredient - Hyaluronic Acid that is trusted to smoothen wrinkles, hydrate and plump up skins. This is because the hyaluronic acid compares to the natural structural ingredient in the skin that helps keep skin elements together so as to lend it firmness and elasticity. The firmness of the skin with the help of these creams usually goes up by 40%; elasticity goes up by almost 27% and hydration by almost 24%. These figures are universal in nature in the sense most of the brands do benefit the skin thus. However there may be aberrations and these are due to individual differences in skin make up in terms of genetics and lifestyle.
Another ingredient that is used in most anti ageing serums is Ecollagen which also works like the skins natural emoluments and keeps skin young, youthful and wrinkle free. Collagen is a skin component that usually goes down after the 30s and ecollagen is known to reverse the effects.
The other ingredients that are also used, but not advertised as much are Saccharide Isomerate, Alcohol Denat, Ethanol B100,Palmitoyl, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Superoxide Dismutase, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate and Parabens like Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben and Isobutylparaben.
All of these are essential ingredients and work towards providing the skin with a more nourished and youthful appearance in the comfort of one’s home, in a non invasive, painless fashion. Anti ageing products do not only come in the form of creams; they also come in the form of facial wipes, cloth masks, facial peels and lotions.
 Anti Ageing- Day and Night Products
The anti ageing products that are on sale usually work towards protection and repair of the skin from the ravages of the sun and repair by using antioxidants, peptides and vitamin A. A lot of anti ageing creams usually come in two parts, one which is to be used during the day and the other half to be used during the night.
Day Care -- One of the golden rules for anti ageing products is to use Sunscreen, especially SPF30 every day, whenther one is indoors or outdoors. Care must be taken to ensure that the sun screen should be applied half an hour before one step out in the sun so that the screen gets a chance to penetrate into the deep layers of the skin . This would not only protect the skin from the UV rays and free radicals, but more importantly lead to an improvement in terms of elastin degeneration. Exposure to the sun also increases pigmentation which can be controlled with the use of an effective sunscreen. In fact sun screen is perhaps the most important element that a person ought to use, especially, after a certain age. In fact so important is sunscreen that even children cosmetic brands have introduced a sun screen for children with a SPF of 45.
The Sun Protection Factor that is inbuilt in anti ageing products these days mostly refers to the protection from the ultra violet rays that have a high penetration power. The Ultra Violet Rays are a real threat to ageing and causes skin to lose much of its elasticity and moisture content, leaving it open to a host of ageing signs such as blochy skin,sun spots etc.
However there is no ready opinion on the fact that what level of SPF is adequate, how much is adequate from tanning lotions, beach creams, children’s creams etc. this is due to a lack of standard testing methods and a lack of consensus on what the minimum standards should be. So manufacturers peddle their wares with SPF factors in a completely wishful manner.
In this case buying a product with an in built SPF factor would be wise. Also a reliable brand could go a long way since this really is an area that does not have minimum standards quoted.
Good Options: Clarins UV Plus Protective Day Screen SPF 40; Clinique City Block Sheer SPF 15
More Defenses during the Day: Anti-Oxidants -- The ultra violet rays of the sun do manage to penetrate in to the layers of the skin to cause damage to the collagen and elastin components of the skin. So a use of anti-oxidants provides another protective layer for the skin. This is even better in cities where free radicals stimulated by the sunlight, environmental pollutants and smoke emanating from vehicles, factories or cigarettes cause a lot of damage to skin texture. This is where anti-oxidants can be helpful.
It is also recommended that to provide the best protection, an amalgamation of various types of anti oxidants is better than just resorting to one type of it. So how to know your anti ageing product does have a dose of anti-oxidants. Look out for labels that state ingredients like coenzyme Q10, ferulic acid, green tea, pomegranate, resveratrol (from grapes) and vitamins C and E in the ingredients. These are all examples of anti-oxidants.
Good Options: Nivea Visage Anti Wrinkle Skin Cream, Clarte’Extreme’PWS+50 whitening Ultra Serum,YSL; Strawberry Body Butter, The Body Shop: Serum Vitamin C, Les Naturelles; Revlon Reveal Age Intercepting Skincare, Anti-Wrinkle High Performance Instant Revitalising Balm.
Night Wear -- The night is the time when the skin repairs itself especially when a person is sleeping. This is precisely why one should have at least 7 hours of sleep every night and if situations permit a catnap every afternoon. Skin repairing systems work overtime when the body is in a fitful and restful state. Thus a regime of cleaning, toning and moisturising is of utmost importance, especially if one does wear make up through out the day.
Retinoids -- Hence one should invest in a good night cream since these aids in the repair system and in restoring hydration, elasticity and suppleness to the skin. The most essential Ingredient that is a must in any night cream is Vitamin A and its derivatives called Retinoids. This is a magic potion for it has useful qualities in ironing out wrinkles and reversing the effects of UV rays. It is mostly used mostly in a concentration of 0.4% lotion produced effects after six months. Any thing more than this proportionate will show quicker results although how much is used in a particular formulation is rarely reveled by manufacturer trade secret policies. Retinol A repairs the skin, increases the production of collagen (which gives skin its elasticity, hydration and moisturized look). It also aids in the production of water-retaining glycosaminoglycan which gives skin the characteristic ‘plump’ look that is so associated with young, youthful skin.
The down side is that retinoids are known to irritate the skin and there really is no way of getting to know how much of retinoids are present in the product because most manufacturers do not state the proportions. Hence one should do a patch test before buying a product off the shelves. In case one is allergic to retinoids, peptides is a good alternative. Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect is a product that has won lot of dermatologist approval for its quality in repairing photo aged skin and improving wrinkles.
Good Buys: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules; L’Oréal Dermo Expertise Revitalift AntiWrinkle Cream
Peptides as a skin repairing product was first discovered in 1992. It was found that peptides healed wounds faster initiating the skin mending process faster. Peptides are known to initiate collagen production, and also provide hydration without the irritation associated with retinoids. So one should invest in products that have peptides built into the skin. OLAY brand of cosmetics did extensive research on the effects of peptides on ageing skin before being convinced of its benefits. Nowadays, a lot of other brands have jumped onto the peptide brand wagon to give creams that do plump up the skin, erase fine lines and provide deep moisturising.
Good Buys: Olay Regenerist Night Cream, Estée Lauder Perfectionist (CP+) Correcting Serum, Lancôme Rénergie Morpholift Rare Cream.
Vitamin C is also considered an essential in anti ageing formulations. It is an antioxidant and has the potential to stimulate collagen growth. Ascorbic acid on a product label signifies that the product has a dose of vitamin C. In addition it is also a melanin suppressant which means that it is also helpful for pigment lightening. Vitamin C is known to be inactive when exposed to air, but now most cosmetic companies have developed a system whereby the vitamin is intact at the time of use and gives the user the benefits. Vitamin E is also an important ingredient in most night repair systems for its capacity to repair cell structures.
It is best to have vitamins orally as they are found easily over the counter. Also it can be had in a natural form.
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
Glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, found in night creams and exfoliating kits, have all been shown to stimulate collagen production as is evening primrose oil. Due to their potential in rejuvenating cells, they make the skin look fresher and thereby younger. They also aid in the deep penetration of the other products. Medicated or dermatologist-strength acids are used in facial peels (they can use up to 99% glycolic-acid concentration, while beauty therapists use about 25%). The beauty creams that most people use have about 5-10 percent of these acids. However it is of little benefit if they are used with retinoids as then they might cause harm to the skin since these acids are also sensitive and can cause wearing of the skin.
Good Buys : L’Oréal Anti-Ageing Glycolic Peel Kit; Clinique Turnaround Concentrate
 Anti-Ageing Creams-Value for Money or Not
The one answer that millions of women around the world are asking or would like to ask is that do these creams really work and can time be truly reversed without going under the surgeons scalpel or injecting oneself with age reversing serums like snake venom or botox? The answer is not so straight forward or simple. In fact most skin care experts and dermatologists will always say that creams do work, but in a limited capacity. Most anti ageing creams do moisturize if nothing else and the reason why some women are not satisfied with their creams is that they have unrealistic expectations from their buys. There really isn’t any thing in the world that can reverse the ravages of time on the face and body and these creams are really no exception. They can produce better results if one has had kept a largely sedentary life style that has not been too harsh on the skin. These would include having indulged in too many late nights, excessive used of make up, irregular skin care regime, substance abuse such as alcohol, smoking or even having caffeinated drinks in excess. In such cases it is usually not realistic to expect skin to become younger looking simply with the aid of a cream.
How does then one ascertain if the product that one has bought is working or not? The answer to this would most probably depend on visible differences on the skin. If the skin looks more radiant, if the sagging, wrinkle prone parts are looking firmer and the skin does feel more soft to the touch, the chances are that the cream is doing its job, provided one is not expecting too much out of the bottle. Of course the one thing that really is the best feed back for one’s skin care product is the number of compliments one receives, especially from those who live in close proximity, since they will probably be the first to notice differences and comment on it.
Creams that promote anti ageing today are marketed by almost all make up houses. There are eye gels or eye contour creams that are specially formulated to look after the delicate under eye area. There are also creams for the entire body per se, especially the hands and feet which do show signs of ageing far quickly than other areas. This is primarily because skin in these areas is thinner, sensitive and delicate. In addition they are also more exposed to the harsh environmental conditions and are open to more abuse. Using a good formulation for the eyes is therefore a good investment. Also for an investment to be called ‘good’ need not be always be the most expensive option. In fact the more expensive a cream, the more likely will it be in the higher priced segment due to its packaging and marketing rather than for its internal formulations. Hence a lesser priced cream may not always be spurious, unless of course one does live life on the economic dictum of higher the price, better the product or ‘Veblen Effect’.
On the flip side is however the fact that a reputed firm will not risk its brand value and name and will be loathe to pass off a low quality produce. Usually then, it is safer to stick to a known brand when it comes to anti-ageing products. These are also more likely to have the desired effects when applied in small quantities and so at the end, the economics may work out to be on an even keel.
Whatever the brand one does trust, no cream would work as well as a daily dose of exercise and a balanced diet, for this works as no other can. Smoking, drinking or drugs can ruin the endocrine balance and this may show up on the sort of skin one has in the long run. Sunbathing undoubtedly also creates havoc on the skin and along with a sun tan one also acquires freckles, blotches and a skin that is open to cancer. Stress is yet another factor that can create havoc in the skin quality apart from the usual reasons of environmental pollutants and a hectic life that mitigates proper sleep and eating habits.
Hence the key to young, fresh healthy skin is really in one’s own hands and the faster one realizes this the better it is for the individual. It is also important to know what to expect especially in the ‘ageing threshold’ which by and large begins for most people around the 30s.
 Knowing What to Expect - Changes in the Skin down the Ages
The 30s: Fine lines that are the basis for wrinkles develop as collagen and elastin break down; the under eye skin stars to thin down. Combination skin is more likely to surface with the oiliness concentrated in the T-zone and dry elsewhere. Skin starts to dry out quicker. Broken veins start to show up as red dots; age spots, brown pigmentation patches or sun spots also surface at the end of this decade. Under Eye puffiness also starts to come up and may take longer to subside.
Body wise the skin starts losing its suppleness; waistlines grow as also loosening of the bust line and buttocks.
Basic Needs: Moisturizers that stay on for a longer time. This is the time to start on anti ageing products and sun protection is absolutely vital. This is also a time to start exercises, yoga and weight training to keep oneself suppler.
The 40s: Basically takes up from the 30s and deepens the lines and furrows around the mouth, forehead and eyes; puffiness under the eyes develops into pouches and skin turns noticeably drier. This is also a time that marks the onset of menopause. Skin becomes more sensitive and loses more of its collagen and elastin. Also skin does not rebound as easily and this leads to skin sagging and droopy chins.
The muscle fat ratio also changes and the body muscle changes into fat leading to more sagging of the arms, bust and buttocks.
Basic Needs: Specific anti-ageing products, intensive moisturizing benefits that goes beyond the basic cleaning tonic and moisturizing. There ought to be a more emphasis on yoga and also dietary changes that will help in taking care of the changes that are happening in the body.
The 50s: By now the skin will have acquired much of its character in terms of wrinkles. Post menopause, there is little or no production of oestrogen being produced and this results in skin becoming more sensitive. This is also the time the elastin and collagen slow down considerably and much as one may try to halt the process, the skin sags considerably. Same with the tone of the body and no amount of exercise can really help turn the clock back.
Basic Needs: this is the time to really pamper the skin as it is truly sensitive. A lot of tender loving care is needed so that the skin nourished. Sun protection factor as always is indeed very important in this stage.
 Ageing gracefully
Ageing is a phenomenon that is a foregone conclusion and one really cannot escape it. Hence it is best to understand what to expect as the years progress. Apart from this, one can really help fight ageing, at least for a while, by having a more disciplined life style, eating properly, not smoking or leading a debauched life, following a proper skin care routine, never stepping out without sunscreen and of course getting the mandatory hours of sleep. Above all it is vital to have a positive frame of mind, to be calm and quiet especially under stress and to accept one’s age and changing looks gracefully. For everything else that is superficial, there is always a pot of anti ageing product at hand.
Finally, are these products harmful? Although it has not yet been proved that the specific ingredients do leave harmful effects along the way, yet what the ingredients and the formulations as a whole does is to open up the skin and perhaps other vital organs of the body (as the creams are absorbed into the body through the pores on the skin) to various skin ailments in the long run.