Drugstore skincare: Science-backed anti-aging ingredients that don’t break the bank – Harvard Health Blog

With a sharp increase in working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are noticing age-related skin changes closely during their video conference calls.

The good news? You don’t need to rush to the dermatologist for your anti-aging needs. The best skin care regimens for combating the cardinal signs of aging, including uneven skin tone, fine lines, roughness, and dryness, can start in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need a prescription, time to go to a dermatologist, or deep pockets to evaluate quality products.

Here are some dermatologist favorite ingredients backed by science that can help slow or even reverse the signs of aging. All of the ingredients listed below can be found over the counter (OTC) and are available in mixes that cost less than $ 30.

The problem? Uneven skin tone. The solution: topical niacinamide

Niacinamide or vitamin B3, helps block the formation of additional pigments by inhibiting the transfer of melanin (the main pigment in the skin) between skin cells. Topical application of niacinamide (5% concentration) twice daily has been shown in a randomized, controlled, split-face trial to reduce freckles and sun spots in four weeks. Results were maintained throughout the eight week treatment period. Another clinical study showed improvement in redness and yellowing of the skin (yellowing of the skin that occurs with age) in people who used topical niacinamide, resulting in a more even skin tone. Niacinamide can also improve acne and fine lines.

Topical niacinamide appears to be well tolerated with no serious side effects.

The problem? Fine lines. The solution: topical retinoids

Aging can contribute to a gradual loss of vitamin A, a retinol, which occurs naturally in the skin. This can be replenished by vitamin A derivatives, known as topical retinoids. Topical retinoids, such as retinol and adapalene, are available over the counter. They have been shown to significantly improve fine wrinkles, possibly due to increased skin collagen thickness with prolonged use. Other benefits of retinoids include improving dark spots and reducing atypical skin cells that could lead to skin cancer.

If you have acne or clogged pores, you can opt for adapalene, which seems to have more absorption in the follicles where acne begins and which also has anti-inflammatory effects. These two factors are important in the formation of acne. Adapalene may also be less irritating than some other retinoids.

The most common side effects of topical retinoids are dryness, redness, and irritation. This can be alleviated by gradually increasing use (every third night, every other night, every night), or by avoiding use with other potentially irritating or abrasive products.

Avoid topical retinoids if you are trying to get pregnant, are currently pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Also, be sure to use SPF 30+ sunscreen on your face daily, due to the increased sensitivity to the sun with this product.

The problem? Rough or dull skin. The solution: alpha hydroxy acids

The top layers of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, can increase in thickness with age, possibly because older cells are less able to renew and turn over. This can lead to roughness of the skin and interfere with its “glow” or luminosity. Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid or lactic acid, are natural substances that help break down the bonds between cells in this top layer of the skin, which results in smoother skin as well. little that 24 hours. Over time, regular use can also improve fine lines, yellowing of the skin, spots and dark spots.

Glycolic acid in concentrations of 30% or more is used in the dermatologist’s office as a peel. But it is proven that over the counter preparations in concentrations of around 10% can give you real results and can be used safely at home.

Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid can also be found in over the counter body lotions. They help smooth the skin from the neck down.

The most common side effect is excessive redness, and this can be made worse by using several new irritants at once.

The problem? Dry skin. The solution: hyaluronic acid

An important (but often overlooked) sign of aging skin is dryness. As we age, our skin naturally loses its ability to retain moisture. This is due to the depleted stores of hyaluronic acid, an important component of healthy skin that has the ability to suck in water. Replacing hyaluronic acid with serums or topical moisturizers can help boost overall skin hydration. Hyaluronic acid can also improve the appearance of wrinkles and skin firmness.

A few words of farewell

Start slowly. If you’re new to skin care, you don’t want to start using all of these ingredients at once (this is especially true when using a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid together). Start in stages and increase the frequency or add additional products only to your tolerance. Remember that improving the appearance of skin with any skin care regimen can be subtle and can take time.

Once your skin has gotten used to these ingredients, consider combination products that combine at least two of the ingredients you’re looking for. Finally, no skin care regimen is complete without good sun protection, so limit sun exposure, wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses outside, and apply sunscreen daily.)

For the treatment of deep wrinkles or sagging skin, or for medical skin problems, see a certified dermatologist.

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Jothi Venkat

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