FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH PART –II

Anti Aging Cosmetics

We all are aware about the process of Aging…..Skin aging is a natural, complex biological process influenced by a combination of endogenous (internal) and exogenous (external) factors. Endogenous factors include genetics, cellular metabolism, hormone and metabolic processes and under exogenous chronic light exposure, pollution, ionizing radiation, chemicals, toxins are the factors. Simultaneously different organs, tissues and cells also age with time.  All these factors lead together to cumulative structural and physiological alterations and progressive changes in each skin layer as well as changes in skin appearance, especially, on the sun-exposed skin areas.

Evidently one would see a thickened epidermis, mottled discoloration, deep wrinkles, laxity, dullness and roughness. Gradual loss of skin elasticity leads to the phenomenon of sagging. Here’s where the rescue team of anti aging cosmetics and cosmeceuticals come in. Skin anti-aging therapies aim to achieve a healthy, smooth, blemish-free, translucent and resilient skin. In a scientific perspective it is necessary to stop the degradation of the skin’s primary structural constituents, such as collagen and elastin to prevent the formation of wrinkles.

Array for treatment for aging is growing rapidly and it could be only topical therapies as a solo treatment or as an adjunct to the various surgical options to improve upon and maintain the desired anti-aging results. They may also be used as a preventative therapy in younger men and women.

The most frequently used topical drugs include retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), vitamin C, beta hydroxy acids, anti-oxidants, and tocopherol (Vit E). Combining  retinoids and AHAs are common or with other agents are also available. Systemic therapies available include oral retinoids and vitamin C.

Sunscreens

Sunscreen is the most biologically active antiaging ingredient in skin care products .Sunscreens are the most important cosmeceutical as they protect skin against solar radiation,( single most important damaging environmental agent). When one chooses a sunscreen it should be broad spectrum coverage that includes both UVA and UVB blocking agents to inhibit photoaging. The recommended application is 2mg/cm2 and should be applied daily. 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

You must have heard of fruit acids? They usually include Citric acid, Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, Malic acid, Pyruvic acid and Tartaric acid in various concentrations, are a common ingredient found in cosmeceutical products. AHAs improve skin texture and reduce the signs of aging by promoting cell shedding in the outer layers of the epidermis and by restoring hydration , thus giving rise to younger looking skin.

Antioxidants 

Antioxidants reduce free-radical damage, thereby preventing impairment at the cellular level. They inhibit inflammation, which leads to collagen depletion, and they offer protection against photodamage and skin cancer.Common antioxidants include alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide (vitamin B3), N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG), á-tocopherol, and ubiquinone (CoQ10).

Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha-lipoic acid has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an exfoliant. In a study, topical 5% for 12 weeks reduced skin roughness, lentigines (dark spots) and fine wrinkles. This agent does not protect against UV-induced erythema (redness) or reduce the number of sunburn cells.

L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

Vitamin C is used in many cosmeceutical formulations has been scientifically proven to improve fine lines and reduce both pigmentation and inflammation.  High concentrations, at least 10% of the nonesterified, optimal isomer as antioxidant does inhibit UV damage. If the concentration of L-ascorbic acid is too low or the product is exposed to air and light then the effectiveness of the product is very effective. A formulation that has an acid pH of approximately 3 has optimal absorption.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) 

Niacinamide is a potent antioxidant which also improves the lipid barrier component of the epidermis. This reduces transepidermal water loss thus moisturizes and acts as an inhibitor of melanosome (pigment cell) transfer, resulting in reduced hyperpigmentation (dark patches). Studies have revealed significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness, as well as improved skin elasticity.

N-Acetyl-Glucosamine (NAG)
NAG is a more stable form of glucosamine. This prevents sun damage  from occurring, and fade existing imperfections by interrupting the chemical signals that promote melanin production. When combined with other ingredients they produced synergistic effects.

á-Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it  inhibits the acute UV damage of erythema, sunburn, and tanning, as well as chronic UV photoaging and skin cancer.Vitamin C regenerates oxidized vitamin E, the combination in a cosmeceutical formulation is synergistic – particularly with regard to UV protection and anti aging.
When taken orally it reduces sunburn cells after UV exposure, neutralize free radicals, and act as a humectant.

Ubiquinone (CoQ10)
Ubiquinone is a naturally occurring, fat-soluble antioxidant. Evidence based studies have shown suppression of  fibroblast production thereby reducing collagen breakdown( which is the reason for loss of elasticity). Ubiquinone can strongly inhibit oxidative stress in the skin induced by UVB. It is an effective antioxidant protecting the dermal matrix from both intrinsic and extrinsic aging.

Silibinin

This is a flavonolignan compound from Silybum marianum (milk thistle plant) that possesses strong antioxidant activity and also modulates many molecular changes caused by xenobiotics and ultraviolet radiation to protect the skin.

Botanicals

Botanicals comprise the largest category of cosmeceutical additives found in the marketplace today. Their use is unregulated and often unsupported by science.
Some botanicals that may benefit the skin include: green tea extract, ferulic acid, and grape seed extract.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea (Cammelia sinensis) polyphenols are potent suppressors of carcinogenic activity from UV radiation and can exert broad protection against other UV-mediated responses, such as sunburn, immunosuppression, and photoaging.17

Ferulic Acid
This compound is derived from plants and a potent antioxidant. This  has been shown to provide photoprotection to skin and when combined with vitamins C and E, the product has been shown to provide substantial UV protection for human skin by few researchers. Ferulic acid when added in sunscreens supplement the sun protection provided.

Grape Seed Extract
This is not only a potent antioxidant but also helps to speed wound contraction and closure. Topical application of grape seed extract has also been shown to enhance the sun protection factor in humans.

Depigmenting Agents

Skin-lightening agents added to product formulations have become increasingly popular. Common depigmenting ingredients include hydroquinone, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), kojic acid, and licorice extract (glabridin).

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone has been the agent of choice for skin lightening for several decades. The US FDA has proposed concentrations between 1.5% and 2% in skin lighteners. Hydroquinone though widely used has concerns over exogenous ochronosis (dark patches) and permanent depigmentation, as well as possible carcinogenicity. Routine topical application may pose no greater risk than that from levels present in common foods.

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

Ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.

Kojic acid
Kojic acid is off late commonly used bleaching agent. When combined with dipalmitate, there is improved skin penetration and greater stability.

Licorice Extract (Glabridin)
Glabridin is the main ingredient of licorice extract with affects on the skin. Topical application of  inhibitory  glabridin acts on melanogenesis(tanning),UVB-induced pigmentation and erythema in the skin.

In case of  hyperpigmentation and antioxidative properties, licorice, green tea, arbutin, soy, acai berry, turmeric and pomegranate are among those plants and compounds found to be most beneficial.

Moisturizers

Moisturizers restore water content to the epidermis, and provide a soothing protective film. They improve the appearance, dryness and aging skin, it restores the normal barrier function of the skin.

Topical Peptides

These are cellular messengers that are formed from amino acids. These pentapeptides play a role in signalling fibroblasts to produce collagen in the skin which can improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Retinoids

Interestingly these form the major ingredient in most of the anti aging cosmeceuticals. Retinoids contain natural and synthetic derivatives of vitamin A that reduce hyperpigmentation and inhibit enzymes from breaking down collagen. Some key retinoids include retinoic acid (tretinoin), retinol, retinaldehyde.

Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin)
This is the most potent compounds for treating the signs of aging and/or photodamaged skin, including fine lines, hyperpigmented spots, and wrinkles.

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Did you know this the biologically active form of vitamin A. Retinol is oxidized into retinaldehyde and then into retinoic acid.

Retinaldehyde

Retinaldehyde is an intermediate form during the conversion of retinol to retinoic acid. Studies have shown that retinoid can produce significant clinical improvement in the appearance of fine and deep wrinkles.

One should keep in mind that improvement in the appearance of wrinkles is a cosmetic action, as the effect is localized to the skin and is not concerned with treatment or correction of a disease condition. Usually four weeks of treatment with these products has shown to improve the smoothness of skin and to reduce the apparent depth of larger wrinkles.

Dr. HEMA SATHISH M.B.B.S., D.D., (UK)
Cosmetic Dermatologist | Sanche Cosmetic Centre
DEVADOSS MULTI SPECIALITY HOSPITAL

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