6 Anti-Aging Ingredients That Actually Work

Are your anti-aging products actually working? Unless your lines and wrinkles have disappeared completely, you probably have no way of knowing.

J. K. Rivers, MD, a professor of Clinical Dermatology at the University of British Columbia, analyzed a number of ingredients purported to have anti-aging properties and we used his data to come up with this list of 6 ingredients that actually work.

The next time you’re shopping for skin care products, remember the names of these ingredients:

Recommended for Overall Skin Health: Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA)
Sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant,” Alpha-lipoic Acid is considered to be one of the most effective anti-aging active ingredients on the market. It addition to its antioxidant properties, Alpha-lipoic Acid has anti-inflammatory properties and exfoliating properties.

A recent study studied that regular use of topical Alpha-lipoic Acid over the course of 12 weeks reduced skin roughness, lentigines, and fine lines and wrinkles.

Recommended for Deep Wrinkles: Retinaldehyde
When dermatologists recommend retinol, they include a caveat: retinol is a powerful anti-aging cosmeceutical, but common side effects include dryness, redness, scaling, itching, and burning. Retinaldehyde is a relatively new form of retinoid that can reduce the signs of fine lines and wrinkles without causing a high degree of irritation. Much research remains to be done, but in the meantime, dermatologists suggest that people with sensitive skin give topical retinaldehyde a try.

Recommended for Skin Dryness: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
There’s a reason your skin looks better after you moisturize. As you’ve probably noticed on days when you forget to apply moisturizer, dry skin emphasizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Niacinamide improves the skin’s natural barrier function, thus reducingskin dryness. It has also been shown to improve skin elasticity, and reduce hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness.

Recommended for Reversing Photoaging: N-Acetyl-Glucosamine (NAG)
As any dermatologist will tell you, sun damage ages the skin. N-Acetyl-Glucosamine fades existing imperfections by interrupting the chemical signals that darken skin cells. Studies suggest that it may also prevent new signs of sun damage from occurring. If you want to wage an especially lethal war against pigmentation, find a product that combines n-Acetyl-Glucosamine with niacinamide.

Recommended for Melasma: Licorice Extract (Glabridin)
Although it may be more famous for its distinctive flavor, about 20 years ago, scientists discovered that licorice contains properties that are useful for skin care products. One of licorice’s properties is a skin whitening ingredient that works by inhibiting the production of the pigment that causes skin discoloration. Several studies have shown that after repeated application of topical licorice, the outer layer of the darker skin is replaced by lighter skin.

Recommended for Wrinkles and Fine Lines: Topical Peptides
There’s a reason peptides are often found in anti-aging and anti-wrinkle formulations:peptides are useful for a wide range of applications, including wound healing, collagen production, and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Neurotransmitter-inhibiting peptides have been known to have a similar effect to BOTOX.