Anti Ageing Super-Agents To Look For in Your Fav Products

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First of all, sorry for the long absence & finally the festive season is over in India until Christmas next month.

But somehow I feel it was not only me, struck down by Diwali fever & almost died for weeks because occasionally when I checked the blog traffic; it showed it was almost down to a depressing point lol.

Agents To Look For In Your Anti Ageing Product

Anyways, I’m back with the second part of the anti ageing issue & after discussing the culprits behind speed ageing in the first installment, I’m going to discuss the anti ageing superhero ingredients we should look for when buying a skincare product.

So, let’s make a small list of super agents that'd arm you to conquer the battle with ageing. You’ll mostly find the following agents in pharmaceutical formulations (atleast easily available there) while in cosmetic industry, you’ll have to keep your patience & look for them to hunt for the perfect product that suits you.


This is the biggest name in anti ageing industry right now although this is no new innovation. Retinoid simply means a form of vitamin A that’s suitable for topical use (using on your skin).

You must have heard about retinol or yellow peel, where them, being chemical peeling procedures, would employ a high percentage of retinol to help the dead & damaged skin to slough off. This is the same thing, only toned down to a much less concentration, used to treat signs of ageing.

Glycolic Acid Cream for Anti Ageing

Retinol falls into the category of keratolytes, meaning keratolytes are agents that loosen up the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin) to help epidermis shed the outermost damaged cells. Retinol or the active form retinoic acid also acts as a penetration enhancer which means when used along other ointments/products, retinol would facilitate the penetration of the other product better, so this time the other products’ effect will be greatly enhanced when it is used along with retinol.

But retinol has its own liability for it actually predisposes your skin to extreme sun sensitivity. So, a retinol based product shall never be used during the day & while you’re on such a product (even if you’re using only at night), your skin remains extra sensitive to sun. So, usage of a broad spectrum sunscreen becomes a must along with protective clothing.

The above is true for all kinds of keratolytes be it Alpha or Beta Hydroxy Acids or other Acne medications.

Now retinol is just the most popular form of retinoic acid, used in cosmetic products. Tretinoin, Adapalene or Tazarotene are other forms popular in pharmaceutical formulations.

Usually tretinoin (0.025-0.05% conc.) works well to do the above job along with neutralizing acne as well as the newer innovations like Adapalene 0.1%.

As they loose up the outermost cells, which have been torn, damaged & couldn’t proliferate resulting in wrinkles & fine lines; those signs of ageing are greatly diminished upon regular usage of virtually any keratolyte including retinoids. This also fights acne & brightens skin tone by chemically exfoliating it.

However there are occasions when retinol users, especially those with acne may experience temporary inflammation-like-condition at the beginning of their retinoid-journey. This happens mostly with clinical forms like tretinoin/adapalene but they’d eventually subside as you continue usage & this must not be a reason to stop using it altogether, because as retinoids work as keratolytes, they’d discover new comedones (acne pits, aggregation of acne causing bacteria A. Vulgaris)  deep inside your skin which were previously undiscovered (you didn’t know it was there) & would attack those resulting in this temporary flare up.

However if the inflammation is way too much to handle, it is better to discontinue.

 Glycolic Acid: 

Most popular member of the alpha hydroxyl acid family, glycolic acid is an anti ageing superhero.

glycolic acid/AHA

It works just like retinoids, as a keratolyte like any other member of the AHA family, it loosens & finally helps shed the dead/damaged cells from the top most layer of epidermis; as well as encouraging new cell growth, exactly which is lacking in ageing skin.

As an added advantage, it also counteracts dryness, a popular marker of ageing skin. It also cures acne, & brightens skin tone, unclogs pores.

In short, this is a multi tasker.

In pharmaceutical formulations, it is found in 6 & 12% conc. as ointment but in cosmetic versions, glycolic acid is much toned down, but works great as well.

These days numerous serums & creams are available containing this super ingredient.

However, this may not suit those with sensitive skin types. For them, I’d recommend mandelic acid. AHAs suit oily skinned people the best.

Those with inherent dry skin may use lactic acid, mandelic acid etc.

Azelaic Acid: 

I’ve seen great creams containing this ‘so called’ modern ingredient.

azelaic acid in anti ageing cream

Azelaic acid is extremely expensive in cosmetic products but at the same time, very much affordable in pharmaceutical formulations where it is mostly available in 10-20%.

Azelaic acid also fades scars & age related hyperpigmentation & works the same way as glycolic acid.

There are even chemical peeling products based on this.

Salicylic Acid:  

You’ll mostly find salicylic acid in acne-specific products as it is a beta hydroxyl acid (BHA), notorious for deep cleansing & unclogging pores.

salicylic acid as an anti ageing agent

Salicylic acid penetrates even deeper than its alpha hydroxy acid cousins like glycolic acid, mandelic acid etc.

It cures acne, fades scars & age related pigmentation abnormalities & diminishes fine lines & wrinkles, brightens skin tone.Isn’t it amazing????

But salicylic acid mostly doesn’t suit those with dry/sensitive skin. It is considered best for oily skinned people.

I hate the pharmaceutical formulation of 12% salicylic acid found in India as I find it super oily. I already have oily skin & the thick Vaseline like consistency clogs my pores.

But I intensely love salicylic acid based face washes. To be true, I believe any face washes ultimately go down the drain because they don’t stay on your skin long enough to penetrate but for some reason, this salicylic acid based face wash works real well in unclogging my pores. So if you have oily skin like me, I’d definitely recommend you to try a face wash based on this.

Hyaluronic Acid: 

 Biggest candidate these days as an anti ageing agent. Hyaluronic acid is the most effective ingredient that works to keep your skin hydrated.

hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin

Hyaluronic acid prevents moisture loss & thus prevents dryness & wrinkle formation. Even in as low concentration as 1-1.5%, it keeps skin moisturized for 24 hours & is a blessing for mature skin.

Recently Paese has introduced its serum with 1.5% hyaluronic acid & I totally recommend it but use it at night when your skin is in a repair mode.

Vitamin C, E & other Antioxidants:  

Anti oxidants defend skin from the potent damage caused by free radicals on a regular basis, a prime reason of cell damage & collagen & elastin break down.

vitamin E capsules

Use Vitamin C or Q10 serum daily at night before applying your favourite moisturizer. Go for a serum with at least 10% concentration. of vitamin C.  But please be aware that vitamin C & also Vitamin E immediately breaks down when exposed to sunlight.

So keep these reserved for the night.

Secondly, I highly recommend that you patch test any product with vitamin E before finally using it because, believe it or not; vitamin E is a potent allergen meaning an agent that may cause allergic reactions to certain individuals.

Also, you can simply prick a vitamin E capsule & mix the product inside with oil to use it as body oil or face oil (choose appropriate oil base accordingly) & keep this in an air tight, coloured glass container & keep away from sunlight.

Finally, the best anti ageing cream is a SUNSCREEN lotion. Because 90% or more signs of ageing appear on your skin (or even ageing is accelerated) due to regular sun exposure, that too, unprotected, sunscreen alone can combat most signs of ageing all alone.

Before you try to adhere to any anti ageing skincare routine, make sunscreen your daily essential & apply it religiously, even indoors, with reapplication every 2-3 hours & use protective clothing when going out in the sun (at home too, if possible).

best anti ageing cream is a sunscreen

Products described above are mostly suitable for night time use because AHAs/ BHAs or retinoids predispose you to extreme sun sensitivity & even if you don’t use it in the morning, during the period you’re on it, your skin is still very much sensitive to sun burn or acquiring suntan. So without fierce sun protection, these remedies not only remain useless but may also damage your skin even further. So please refrain from using these if you can’t stick to a sun protection routine.

Also, above are only recommendations of products that is known to combat skin ageing & this is for educational purpose only; thus it cannot be treated as an alternative to a medical professional’s advice. Please refer to the disclaimer for further information:

Let me know how you found this article in the comments section below & don’t forget to follow me here on my blog & on social media (buttons on the collapsible sidebar ß).


Koyel M.

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