Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients (cont.)

L-Ascorbic Acid

This is the only form of vitamin C that you should look for in your skin care products. There are many skin care products on the market today that boast vitamin C derivatives as an ingredient (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate, for example), but L-ascorbic acid is the only useful form of vitamin C in skin care products. Vitamin C is the only antioxidant that is proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen as well, which is essential since your body's natural collagen production decreases as you age. Sun exposure will also accelerate the decrease in collagen. Studies have shown that vitamin C helps to minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic Acid

Skin care products containing this substance are often used in conjunction with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration. Hyaluronic acid (also known as a glycosaminoglycan) is often touted for its ability to "reverse" or stop aging. In news reports, you might have heard of hyaluronic acid as the "key to the fountain of youth." This is because the substance occurs naturally (and quite abundantly) in humans and animals, and is found in young skin, other tissues. and joint fluid. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the body's connective tissues, and is known to cushion and lubricate. As you age, however, the forces of nature destroy hyaluronic acid. Diet and smoking can also affect your body's level of hyaluronic acid over time. Skin care products with hyaluronic acid are most frequently used to treat wrinkled skin.

Copper Peptide

Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, even though it's only been on the market since 1997. Here's why: Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production, and also acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes production of glycosaminoglycans (think hyaluronic acid, as an example). Studies have also shown that copper-dependent enzymes increase the benefits of the body's natural tissue building processes. The substance helps to firm, smooth, and soften skin, doing it in less time than most other anti-aging skin care products. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin's system responsible for those functions.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

You may have heard of alpha-lipoic acid as "the miracle in a jar" for its anti-aging effects. It's a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage. Alpha-lipoic acid has been referred to as a "universal antioxidant" because it's soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, gives skin a healthy glow and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)

If you've heard of fish referred to as brain food, you can thank DMAE. This substance is naturally produced in the brain, but DMAE is also present in anchovies, salmon and sardines, boasting the production of acetylcholine, which is important for proper mental functions. DMAE in skin care products shows remarkable effects when applied topically to skin, resulting in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dermatology.

Edited by Michael W. Smith, MD, April 2003, WebMD.


Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003.


Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 6:16:09 AM



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