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Anti-aging: Beyond Wrinkles

By Tracy Sherwood June 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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TRACY SHERWOOD addresses the need for skin care products to move beyond simple wrinkle reducers. Sherwood is a communications graduate of Indiana University in South Bend, where she was managing editor of the school’s newspaper, The IUSB Preface. She previously has interned as a reporter with the South Bend Tribune in South Bend, Indiana, and currently is the assistant editor of Global Cosmetic Industry (GCI) magazine.


Society as a whole does not appreciate age reminders, particularly those that appear in the mirror. To correct signs of aging, women had nearly 10.5 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2005, accounting for 91.4% of the total number of procedures.1 Consumers want to look younger, and they are willing to pay for it.

Not just wrinkles
        Wrinkles are just one of several signs of aging that products attempt to reverse or reduce. Skin clarity, darkening pigment and loss of firmness all contribute to the aging process. In addition, age spots, acne and uneven skin tone contribute to the skin’s overall appearance.
        Combating acne is a problem for adults as well as teenagers. Anti-aging products deliver a variety of ingredients to limit or prevent breakouts while addressing traditional concerns, such as collagen breakdown. One skin care company uses chelators, an organic complex, to sequester heavy metals and free radicals to prevent damage and collagen breakdown. Heavy metals can lead to skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, irritation and inflammation.
        “Additionally, acne scars can look worse as the skin ages and loses collagen. The depth and the diameter of the scars increase,” says Dennis Gross, MD, creator of MD Skincare, a professional skin care company. “The anti-inflammatory ingredients, because they decrease deep acne, will allow for better aging.”
 Dark circles also contribute to a tired and worn out appearance. As a person ages, the skin around the eyes becomes thinner, and the fat that plumps the skin disappears. “Skin thins and you can see the circulatory system,” says Lyn Ross, president and CEO, Institut’ DERMed. Additionally, over time, hemoglobin degradation occurs, which is when the circulatory system under the eyes begins to leak and causes blue-red pigmentation. Products must target the thinning skin, visible circulation and hemoglobin degradation under the eye to create a lighter effect.
        Natural high potency-based carriers, in addition to skin thickeners such as vitamin K, can reduce the appearance of dark circles with long-term use. One company’s product  reduces hemoglobin degradation by-products by optimizing enzymatic activity, causing the red-blue pigmentation of dark circles to fade while strengthening the capillary matrix to help stop the leaking, and thus protecting against further damage.
        Today’s products include enzymes to stimulate or boost the effects of active ingredients, while peptides act as a bond, fighting the breakdown of collagen and stimulating its growth. But these formulations now include other ingredients for value-added skin care.
        While facial aging is a primary target of anti-aging products, it is not the only area of concern. Consumers are looking for products that work to prevent or decrease these apparent signs of aging in other areas of the body. For example, hands show signs of aging due to their thin skin with little fat underneath. Aging reduces this fat even further to showcase the veins and bones, while exposure to the sun contributes age spots and dryness. To combat this, hand creams are including sunscreen, skin brighteners and moisture barriers to avoid overdrying.

Brighter skin
        Often, the biggest factor of an aging appearance is the overall tone of the skin. “As we approach the age of 30, skin becomes duller,” says Nathalie Chevreaux, PhD, R&D, director of Women’s Health at Basic Research, an R&D and product development lab. “And interestingly enough, this change in skin tone and color can occur in all ethnic groups.”
        According to Richard Wells, director of scientific affairs for Bremenn Research Labs, changing skin color has a lot to do with light waves, color frequencies and how light is reflected. “As we age, proteins in the skin’s epidermis become cross-linked and rigid, thus losing transparency and the ability to reflect warmer pink tones. Unlike simple age spot removers, new generation facial brighteners are designed to be used over the entire face. They make you look younger by increasing skin’s brightness scale and amplifying full-spectrum reflectivity, luminescence and clarity,” Wells says.
        Following the naturals trend, ingredients in face brighteners now include natural extracts and essential oils, such as kojic acid. And all skin brighteners are targeting sun damage, so sunscreen, found in some moisturizers and cosmetics, is still the traditional way to prevent this sign of aging.
        Consumers want to look and feel beautiful inside and out. As a result, dietary supplements working in concert with topical methods and products with active ingredients producing changes to the skin are becoming popular, complementing the increased focus on lifestyle as part of the aging process. A recent report from the online data provider Datamonitor predicted the overall European cosmeceuticals market to grow to $4.4 billion in 2009, which includes all cosmetic products containing at least one bio-active ingredient for the skin. The same report stated that 63.7% of women over the age of 50 are prepared to spend more on cosmeceuticals.

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