What is does: The term describes vitamin A derivatives that unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin—sometimes in as little as four weeks. The first retinoid—tretinoin—was FDA approved (under the brand name Retin-A) almost 40 years ago as a prescription acne treatment. Dermatologists soon noticed that patients on Retin-A experienced not just clearer but softer, brighter, less-lined skin. Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids: tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova), tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and adapalene (Differin). Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective.
What it does: It has been shown to increase collagen production (including dermal collagen, which is significant for wrinkle reduction), reduce the appearance of skin discolorations, strengthen skin’s barrier response, enhance skin’s repair process, reduce inflammation and help skin better withstand exposure to sunlight, whether protected by sunscreen or not,”
What it does: it works in several different ways including helping to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage and preventing collagen from being destroyed. It also works in powerful synergy with vitamin C. Vitamin E on an ingredient label may be listed as tocopheryl acetate, tocopheryl linoleate, tocotrienols, alpha tocopherol and tocopheryl succinate
What it does: This component of vitamin B3 “has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis. It also has a growing reputation for being able to lighten skin discolorations and reduce acne
What it does: The antioxidant components work to reduce inflammation, build collagen and reduce cell damage by impeding the harmful effects of sun exposure. EGCG, when found in cosmetics, is a more potent, stable way to get the antioxidant benefit on skin
What it does: This antioxidant significantly reduces free-radical damage [and] combining it with other antioxidants greatly enhances its efficacy. It also has wound-healing properties. For fighting wrinkles, it is one of the top superstars,
What it does: Found in the spice tumeric, it has potent anti-inflammatory properties, both internally and externally. It also works “to suppress excess melanin production in the presence of sunlight” and will help “chronic inflammation, irritation and sun damage that causes skin to look older and become less able to repair itself
Soy isoflavones/ extract
What they do: Soy and its components have an amazing amount of research showing them to be powerful antioxidants that are extremely beneficial for skin. Studies show that these derivatives inhibit environmental damage, reduce irritation, improve skin texture, build collagen and fight sun damage
What they do: They make up about “20 percent of the skin’s intercellular matrix, the ‘glue’ that holds skin cells together, [and] helping skin maintain its appearance while protecting it. When your skin suffers from “sun damage, a dry environment or irritating skin care products, ceramides decrease, leaving the skin vulnerable, [therefore,] replenishing the skin’s ceramide content is a powerful way to protect skin, helping it act and look younger
Linoleic/ linolenic acids/ phospholipids
What they do: “These fatty acids replenish the skin’s intercellular matrix, preserving its appearance. In addition all of them function as cell-communicating ingredients, working to ‘tell’ the appropriate skin cells how to function in a healthier manner. They also help reduce inflammation, believed to be a key factor in how the skin ages.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
What is does: Alpha lipoic acid is one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatories available. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is called “the universal antioxidant” because it is both fat- and water-soluble. This means that ALA is easily absorbed through the lipid layers of the skin and works equally well as a free-radical fighter in the cell plasma membrane and in the watery interiors of the cell. Further, it is 400 times stronger than vitamins E and C combined (both of which are renowned for their antioxidant properties).
What is does: Incorporating neuropeptides dramatically improves the appearance of skin’s resilience, tone and texture, while decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It combats the appearance of crepiness by re-energizing and hydrating the skin, while increasing firmness. It is safe for damaged, mature or fragile skin.
Polyenylphosphotidyl choline (PPC)
What is does: Polyenylphosphotidyl choline (PPC) is unsurpassed in relieving dry skin. This is because the chief moisturizing agents in skin are phospholipids. When we apply an unsaturated phospholipid like PPC, the moisturizing action is even more effective and powerful than that of the natural phospholipids we find in our skin.