anti-agingAs a normal part of the aging process, our skin changes in appearance, texture, and volume.  Wrinkles, age spots, fine lines, dark circles under the eyes and scars from acne are all common complaints from both women and men.  Fortunately, there is hope.  While we cannot simply turn back the clock and get the skin we had in our twenties, we can take a proactive approach and use anti-aging treatments to reduce the visible effects of aging.

What Is It?

Anti-aging products are available everywhere, at every price point.  Products are not evaluated for their effectiveness, so the market is flooded with products that promise more than they deliver.  Consumers must carefully consider products prior to purchase.  In addition to products on the market, anti-aging treatment protocols are available at salons and spas as well as through dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.  Often the first step in renewing your skin, is to get rid of the old, dead skin.  This can be accomplished at home through exfoliating cleansers, at a salon through microdermabrasion and chemical peels, or at a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office with dermabrasion and laser treatments.

Anti-aging treatments through spas, salons and in the office of physicians are the most expensive.  Individuals that are looking for anti-aging treatments on a budget should consider products formulated for home use.  Some of the most effective antioxidant ingredients include:

  • CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
    • Studies show that this antioxidant helps to neutralize free radicals in the body thereby reducing wrinkles, especially crow’s feet around the eyes.
  • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin C is packed with antioxidants that can help stimulate the production of collagen.  This helps to minimize damage caused by the sun, scars, wrinkles and fine lines on the face, neck, and hands. 
  • Retinol
    • This derivative from Vitamin A boosts collagen production and plumps skin, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as improving the tone and color of the skin.
  • Acai Oil
    • Acai berries are all the rage because of their rich antioxidant composition. Research shows that the oil may help to heal sun damage and smooth out wrinkles.
  • Green Tea Extract
    • Loaded with polyphenols that fight damaging free radicals, research indicates that the extract may slow the signs of aging, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Salicylic Acid
    • Typically used to fight acne, it penetrates pores to dry out whiteheads and blackheads and works to exfoliate the skin.
  • Alpha-hydroxy Acid
    • This antioxidant is found in every cell in our body; it is responsible for attacking free radicals.  In skin care formulas, it penetrates skin membranes erasing fine lines and wrinkles, gives skin a healthy glow and diminishes the size of pores.

Medical Anti-Aging Treatments

Cosmetic and plastic surgeons have a number of tools, products and techniques in their arsenal to help combat the signs of aging.  Invasive surgical procedures include facelifts, eyelifts, brow lifts, and more often requiring stays in the hospital and significant recovery time.  However, they also conduct minimally invasive procedures including dermabrasion, dermaplaning, Botox, chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, dermal fillers, and more.

  • Dermabrasion & Derma-planing
    • These techniques are used to improve the look of skin that is marred by sun damage, scars, wrinkles, and general aging.  The process refinishes the skin my removing top layers of the skin to reveal fresh skin.
  • Chemical Peels
    • Chemical solutions work to smooth the texture of skin to cause the outer layers of skin to be shed.  This is an effective treatment for acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, irregular skin pigmentation, scars and sun damage.
  • Botox
    • This is an injection that temporarily reduces fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead, near the eyes and other areas of the face.  It works by blocking nerve signals which weakens the muscle so it cannot contract diminishing wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
    • This procedure reduces wrinkles, blemishes, scars, warts, birthmarks, and fine lines by removing the outer layer of skin while heating the underlying skin.  This results in the stimulation of collagen growth to create firmer and smoother skin.
  • Dermal Fillers
    • Injections of fillers into lips, creases, and other areas remove wrinkles and improve the appearance of recessed scars.  Some refer to this procedure as a “liquid facelift” because the results are similar. 

 How Is It Used?

Individuals can find anti-aging creams and wrinkle creams from a variety of manufacturers from $10.00 to well over $500.00.  While formulas may be dramatically different, many contain the same active ingredients including alpha hydroxyl acids, kinetin, copper peptides, and many of the antioxidants listed above.  It is important to understand that an anti-aging regimen is the best way to combat the signs of aging. Great skin is often the product of proper exfoliating of dead skin, cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection.  Expecting one product, such as a wrinkle cream, to fix the entire problem is short sited.  To combat aging, individuals must use a variety of products for the best results.

Dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons can provide individuals with prescription medications that are formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients.  Prescription medications include topical retinoids derived from Vitamin to reduce splotchy pigmentation, roughness and wrinkles.  These are often prescribed in conjunction with other noninvasive procedures including dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, dermal fillers, and Botox.

Does It Work?

The fact is, our bodies’ age, even our skin.  Nevertheless, there are steps that we can take to appear younger.  At home treatments can be extremely effective at reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.  However, results can vary widely depending on the active ingredients and how individuals use the product.  Cosmetic procedures conducted in spas, salons or under the care of a cosmetic surgeon, often produce quicker results, but come at a much higher price.  There is no overnight cure, and experts all agree that it is easier to stop the signs of aging instead of trying to reverse them.  Here are some simple tips to help stave off the signs of aging:

  • Proper hydration:  Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day
  • Proper skin cleaning:  Use gentle facial cleansers that do not strip the skin of natural oils
  • Exfoliate:  Once per week, exfoliate the dead skin from your face, and body
  • Moisturize:  Use a moisturizer each day formulated for your skin type
  • Good nutrition:  Stay away from refined foods and eat a balance of lean proteins, leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and complex carbohydrates
  • Protect against the sun:  Use sunscreen, every day

Notes & Side Effects

Most individuals will not experience severe adverse side effects when using over-the-counter anti-aging treatments.  Some individuals may experience dryness, tightness, and a peeling of the skin.  It is important to follow the directions exactly for each product used and to stop using the product immediately if you experience a burn or rash.


American Society Of Plastic Surgeons.  Plastic Surgery Information For Consumers.  Retrieved 1/9/2013 from:

Berbos ZJ, Lipham WJ.  Department of Ophthalmology, University of Minnesota.  Current Opinion On Ophthalmology 2010 Sep;21(5):387-95.  Update on botulinum toxin and dermal fillers.

Puizina-Ivic N, et al. Modern approach to topical treatment of aging skin. Collegium Antropologicum. 2010;34:1145

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Kathleen McCoy is professional beauty, education and healthcare analyst and writer. A University of Maryland graduate, Kathleen has traveled and studied extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America covering skin care and natural beauty techniques from around the globe.

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