Crow’s feet. Laugh lines. Wrinkles. However you want to label fine lines, the truth remains that they aren’t exactly fun to talk about when they start appearing.
Luckily, anti-aging therapies and products have advanced leaps and bounds in the last few decades as far as effectiveness, with research emerging every day on novel natural ingredients that can prevent all types of aging signs, including fine lines.
From key moisture molecules to plants and antioxidant compounds, we’re overviewing the best ingredients you should look for in your products to help fight fine lines.
The Best Ingredients to Beat Wrinkles
Moisture is extremely important not only reducing the appearance of wrinkles but also in reducing their formation. For instance: picture a wet leaf versus a dry leaf. Or alternatively, damp paper versus dry paper. When you bend the wet paper or leaf, it folds easier, without creases. When you fold the dry leaf or paper, however, it either breaks or a crease (aka a wrinkle) forms.
In this way, keeping skin hydrated slows the process of wrinkle formation.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a key molecule involved in helping your skin hold moisture. As we age, levels of HA begin to decline, resulting in less flexibility and plasticity in your skin, which leads to wrinkles and other forms of wear and tear. [*]
By choosing topical products that contain HA (or eating antioxidant-rich foods that boost HA, like sweet potatoes) you can help your body keep its levels steady as you age, which can prevent damage. Adding more moisture can also plump up your skin, reducing fine lines.
You’ve probably heard that pomegranate is super high in antioxidants, which can help reduce signs of aging by preventing DNA damage. However, while this is definitely true, there is another deeper reason scientists have discovered pomegranate may be one of the top foods to help prevent aging.
A team of scientists has recently discovered that a molecule in pomegranates is transformed by microbes in the gut, where it enables muscle cells to protect themselves against one of the major causes of aging. Researchers have mentioned that in animal studies, the effect is “nothing short of amazing.” Pomegranate works by helping to regulate dysfunctional aspects of our mitochondria, which are the energy powerhouses of our cells. When dysfunctional mitochondria build-up, it sets the stage for all types of issues associated with aging even beyond our skin, such as diseases like Parkinson’s. [*]
Pomegranates can be eaten (and they’re thankfully tasty!) or you can apply products with pomegranate extract directly to your skin for an anti-wrinkle boost.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an extremely potent antioxidant that fights wrinkles in major ways. It is highly concentrated in several layers of our skin, and like HA, it begins to decline as we age.
However, researchers have found that when applied topically, vitamin C is one of the best skin rejuvenators. The main reason being is that vitamin C boosts collagen synthesis.
Collagen is the major protein matrix that makes up our skin and connective tissues. When we’re young, this collagen matrix is strong and tightly linked, resulting in taut and supple skin. As we age, collagen becomes weakened and damaged, causing wrinkles to form and skin to sag.
Vitamin C boosts the restructuring of this collagen matrix so our skin maintains its youthful suppleness. Studies have shown topically applied vitamin C is highly rejuvenating for the skin, and also significantly reduces signs of aging like sunspots and wrinkles. [*]
4. Aloe Vera
You’ve probably experienced the benefits of aloe post-too-much-sun. Interestingly, the same reason aloe can help heal a sunburn is one of the reasons it may reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Studies show aloe contains molecules called sterols, which help promote the production of collagen, along with HA to help skin retain its crucial moisture. [*] Other studies show “skin fatigue” and weakening in delicate skin areas have been improved after using aloe. [*]
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another potent antioxidant that can help protect your skin from DNA damage from environmental toxins, chemicals, stress, and other factors that cause aging. Researchers have found it helps prevent collagen crosslinking, a phenomenon that occurs as we age that involves a buildup of proteins that damages cells and tissues, while also helping to heal sun damage (one of the major causes of signs of aging). [*]
Vitamin C and E work synergistically, so it helps to look for products that feature both.
6. Olive Oil
Not only is this kitchen staple great to drizzle on, well, everything due to its healthy fatty acids and high antioxidant content, but it’s also a staple that should be highlighted in your skincare regime.
Research shows that out of many of the popular oils used in skincare, olive oil is the most penetrative. [*] In other words, it is the oil that is most easily absorbed by the outer layer of your skin and into your pores, meaning it’s also an ideal “vehicle” for other oils and nutrients in skincare products to hitch a ride on.
In addition, olive oil is also high in vitamin E, which carries with it the benefits we mentioned earlier.
When you do look for olive oil in a skincare product, or even as a standalone, be sure that it’s an organic, extra virgin variety so you’re getting maximum nutrients and the oil wasn’t exposed to excessive heat, which can cause it to go rancid.
What to Look For in Wrinkle-Fighting Products
When shopping for a quality anti-aging serum or wrinkle-fighting product, keep these tips in mind:
• Choose organic and natural ingredients.
Products with added chemicals and fragrances can cause more damage to the skin by disrupting its sensitive oil barrier, and also create excess stress by throwing our hormonal system out of whack (adding another layer of wrinkle-promoting inflammation and oxidative stress).
Many of the vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants in these ingredients work together to penetrate and help heal skin effectively. Because of this, it helps to choose a product that has at least two key age-fighting ingredients.
Keep in mind that it’s extremely beneficial to also consume foods that are high in vitamin C and E, such as berries, citrus, nuts, and seeds, pomegranates, aloe vera gel (add it to smoothies), and cook with olive oil. This gives you an internal and external one-two punch against wrinkles and sagging.
As you can see, research is still emerging on just how effective natural ingredients can be when it comes to the key pillars of anti-aging: maintaining collagen levels and preventing DNA damage with antioxidants. It’s never too late to notice an effect when using these ingredients, so don’t be afraid to add a night cream or eye serum to your regime.