The Healthy Age Rage: 10 Age-Fighting Ingredients That Need to be on Your Radar


Consumer obsession with all things skin shows no sign of slowing down. In 2018, Pinterest reported a 345% increase in saved pins for gadgets like facial rollers including ice, derma and semi-precious stones like jade and rose quartz.1 Social sites like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook provide neverending streams of skin and beauty related user generated content (UGC).2 Oh hello there Kardashian family member being micro-rollered... again! This eye-opening content has shone a bright light on what we professionals do every day, traditionally behind closed “treatment room” doors. From pre- and probiotics, to smart ingredients to boost collagen to every type of electrical gizmo and mask, the skin and beauty industry is booming.

The global anti-aging market was evaluated to be worth $250 billion in 2016 and now has an estimated reach of a staggering $331.41 billion by 2021.3 The major growth drivers for this are the growing aging population and increased awareness about the advantages of using anti-aging products. One of the biggest shifts, however, is the movement away from “anti-aging” products and skin shaming toward consumer demand for products designed to promote functionality and healthy aging.4,5 The healthy aging trend is in full effect with women and men alike, and the industry has responded with a plethora of ingredients that support healthy, youthful skin.

Aging Skin Review

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Let’s recap the aging process so we can better understand how ingredients help address the signs of aging. As we age, our skin undergoes structural changes that affect its appearance. These changes can be broken down into two categories: intrinsic (natural) aging, which is controlled by our genes and health; and extrinsic (environmental) factors like pollution, particulate matter, UV rays and the latest newcomer, high energy visible light (blue light).6,7 As we all know so well, lifestyle choices like diet, smoking and vaping also negatively impact the skin.8 Over time, these factors lead to visible damage, which we recognize as hyperpigmentation, age spots, lines and wrinkles and lack of skin integrity and firmness.

There are three main biochemical reactions within the skin that lead to aging: reactive oxygen species (ROSs), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).

ROSs. Aggressors such as UV rays and pollution generate ROSs, which can damage cell structures, causing wrinkles over time and compromising the skin’s ability to repair itself. ROSs also destroy lipids and cause inflammation.9

MMPs. MMPs are enzymes activated by UV exposure and inflammation. They contribute to the breakdown of collagen and inhibit new collagen formation.

AGEs. Formed by a reaction between sugar (e.g. glucose) and proteins (e.g. collagen), AGEs contribute to the crosslinking of protein fibers, which over time results in a loss of elasticity.

Advanced Anti-aging Ingredients

In the past, treatments addressed just the symptoms of skin damage, but today, advanced ingredient technology enables us to halt the biochemical reactions that trigger these structural changes, preventing skin damage at its source. Seek out these 10 age-fighting cosmeceutical and supercharged botanical newcomers in your professional and retail product offerings.

1. Bakuchiol. Extracted from the babchi seeds that have Ayurvedic origins, this plant-derived alternative to retinol provides similar anti-aging and texture smoothing benefits. Bakuchiol helps to improve the look of uneven pigmentation, elasticity and firmness for a renewed complexion.

2. Brown algae oligosaccharides. Shown in-vitro to maintain the balance of cell neuroprotectors, these oligosaccharides have also been shown to re-establish the healthy communication between nerves and fibroblasts. The unique oligosaccharide helps control the neuroaging process and of course are well known scavengers and antioxidants.10

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3. Edelweiss stem cells. This herbaceous plant grows spontaneously on mountain ranges from the Pyrenees, the Alps to the Himalayas. Edelweiss is what we call an extremophile that survives extreme climatic changes. An extract obtained from a plant cell culture of the edelweiss has been shown to have excellent antioxidant properties, which help to protect against oxidative stress caused by environmental aggressors. These aggressors can damage various cell structures and harm the integrity of the extracellular matrix. Edelweiss plant stem cells were also shown to preserve collagen production, reduce MMP formation and increase the formation of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), which control MMPs.

4. Himalayan gentian. As the skin ages, cell turnover slows down and skin becomes thinner. Besides horizontal lines, more vertical wrinkles appear like the marionette lines and “elevens” between the brow. This is largely due to collagen and elastin degradation. Based on a cell-to-cell communication pathway between hypodermis and dermis, this ingredient promotes the production of growth factors and stimulates keratinocyte proliferation, increasing the number of cell layers. Skin will be firmer, vertical lines softened and texture appears more toned and sculpted.

5. Peptide 4. Skin follows its own circadian rhythms just like the body, creating waves of activity which trigger cells to perform important processes at specific times of the day. While we sleep, skin cells are actively working to renew and repair. Disturbed sleep, environment, pollution and lifestyle factors can cause a cumulative effect; skin can become out of sync and unbalanced, and its healthy glow can become compromised. It is believed that more than 20% of a cell’s function is regulated by circadian rhythms. This peptide derived from yeast uses advanced molecular biology to help support the skin’s own synchronized internal clock. It maintains the balance and synchronization of the skin’s natural processes, i.e. encouraging cells to repair, renew and protect when they need to do it.

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6. Persian silk tree. This powerful skin care ingredient helps support the cell’s recycling mechanism. As we age, proteasome activity is reduced and lipofuscinis can accumulated in cells as a byproduct of free radical action. Proteasomes degrade unneeded or damaged proteins by breaking peptide bonds, functioning as the body’s garbage disposal system. Lipofuscin is known as the “wear and tear pigment” and excess amounts can also result in dull, sallow skin and formation of age spots. Persian silk tree has been shown in vitro to stimulate the rest and activity cycle in fibroblasts cultures, and significantly reduce the quantity of lipofuscin.

7. Rosa damascena flower. This flower is grown and farmed in Turkey, where the growing conditions produce specific and delicate fragrance properties. Pickers gather the flowers by hand in rose gardens each morning before sunrise, ideally before the first dew leaves the petals. The fragrance contains both essential oils, produced through steam distillation and absolute, which involves extraction using organic solvents, followed by distillation. It not only smells divine, has a relaxing and soothing effect on the psyche but is hydrating, anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.11

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8. Sea holly plant stem cells. Sea holly stem cells are lyophilized, which means the stem cells are freeze dried to preserve the integrity of the ingredient. These plant stem cells have been shown in vitro to work on the three critical skin layers: the epidermis, the dermal epidermal junction and the dermis. It stimulates the renewal of the epidermis by increasing proliferation of keratinocytes. It also reinforces the dermal epidermal junction and acts on the protection of dermis components, stimulating collagen production even in the presence of UVA, for a re-plumping effect.

9. SMART drone peptide technology. Look out for this high-tech newcomer. Developed using principles of drone navigation technology, this pioneering ingredient targets specific areas of the skin to boost the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and elastin within the extracellular matrix. It helps skin to look smoother, hydrated and less crumpled and improves visible bounce back. You’ll find this new drone delivery technology coupled with key peptides.

So how exactly does it work? The first peptide, a tetrapeptide, is wrapped inside a biocompatible polymer capsule. It has been shown in vitro to boost the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. This peptide is not released from the drone until it has reached the correct site in the skin, for good bioavailability. The second peptide, a heptapeptide, called the ligand surrounds the outside of the delivery capsule. This peptide guides the actives to the fibroblast cells and its receptor site. While acting in a manner similar to the sat nav of a real drone and guiding it to the site within the skin, the peptide also has a second action of stimulating elastin synthesis.

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10. Starflower seed oil. Grown mainly across the eastern coastline of England, the seeds from the starflower plant are the richest natural source gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid recognized as a key component in the effective treatment of extreme dry skin conditions. Starflower oil grown in the U.K. contains over 20% GLA. It promotes a healthy skin appearance by helping to maintain skin moisture levels and is incredibly nourishing and hydrating. Starflower oil is also bee friendly; it relies on bees for pollination and in turn is a valuable source of nectar.

The Future Looks Bright

From stem cells and bee friendly oils to high tech, peptide-laden drones, we have much at our fingertips to impact aging skin. We have come a long way, so put on your shades, as the future looks dazzlingly bright. The skin aging category continues to blossom, largely driven by emerging consumer demands and interesting new technologies.

Combine these scientific and sexy ingredients with your hands and skin penetrating technology to drive them into the skin where they can go to work, resulting in a major wow response from your client. Thanks to you, now she’s ready for her selfie and for the thousands of likes that will follow.


Si Author A King 300 2017

Annet King is vice president of global education for Elemis, where she develops the brand’s global education and establishes its Education Hubs and Training Academies across the United States.

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