Anti-Aging Ingredients Not Worth the Hype

Airdate: 12/13/13

Are apple stem cells the new fountain of youth? Which antioxidant is best? Is retinol a must-have ingredient? What about peptides or hyaluronic acid? Paula’s Choice Research Team members Nathan Rivas and Bryan Barron share which anti-aging ingredients really work and are worth looking for and which ones you can ignore. This show is filled with tips everyone shopping for anti-aging skin care needs to ensure they’re making the best decision for their skin!

Bryan Barron: Hey everyone. It is Bryan Barron. I am here with my coworker, my team member, um, Nathan Rivas who is our -- I didn’t forget your name.
Nathan Rivas: It’s just Nathan. There’s no “um” before it.
Bryan Barron: There’s no Um Nathan. He is the Social Media Community Manager at Paula’s Choice as well as a Research Team Member of the Paula’s Choice Research Team. And we are here to keep you beautifully informed so you can make the best decisions about everything from skincare, to makeup, hair care, Botox, cosmetic surgery. You name it and we will discuss it.
00:00:35 We’ll tell you the truth. And we’ll take your questions on our Facebook page and through other social media outlets such as Twitter. And now Google Plus.
Nathan Rivas: Google Plus.
Bryan Barron: Although who knows -- by the time you’re listening to this show you might think, “Yeah, yeah, Google Plus, I know they’ve been doing that forever.”
Nathan Rivas: That’s true. Yeah.
Bryan Barron: So, today we are going to be talking fast and furious about anti-aging ingredients that are not worth the hype. And I mention fast and furious because this will be good news: If you’re wondering what the heck to use, what’s good, what’s not, it could be summed up fairly succinctly.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. Very succinctly!
Bryan Barron: The number one takeaway is that there isn’t a single best anti-aging ingredient. There isn’t a single best antioxidant. There isn’t a single best type of retinol.
00:01:27 There isn’t a single best form of hyaluronic acid or a single miracle peptide that you must have or you are simply not going to look as good or as young as everyone else who may be in on this secret. The cosmetics industry at large thrives on the concept of one super star ingredient. “This is our vitamin C serum. This is our hyaluronic acid gel. This is our peptide concentrate. This is our moisturizer with Argan oil. Everything is all about one single ingredient and then at some point you have to wonder can’t you just put all of those ingredients, those great for skin ingredients into one or two products and that’s what we’ll use.
00:02:08 Now, there’s many considerations -- different skin types, blah, blah, blah. There are certain ingredients that cannot be mixed together. For example, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide don’t play well together in one product. Other considerations, but for the most part --
Nathan Rivas: That’s exactly true. I mean, there are a lot of really good ingredients out there, but at the same time you can’t just rely on that single ingredient for all the needs of your skin.
00:02:32 You can’t just rely on retinol to hit all of those shortcomings that your skin might have. There are a lot of good things that you can use, but by and large there is not one single best ingredient or one single best product that will do it all for you, especially if you have more complex concerns like Rosacea or acne or something. Forget it; you’re going to be lucky to get it down to three or four products at best.
Bryan Barron: So, we’re going to talk about some of the ingredients that really work for signs of aging and we know that they work because we take a look at what the published research has to say, not necessarily what some company-funded or ingredient supplier-funded or conducted study has to say.
00:03:11 What does published scientific substantiated, preferably third party, meaning no bias, research have to say -- that is exactly the research that we consult when we’re formulating products for Paula’s Choice and it’s what we support on the product page, the product details tab. You can take a look at the sources for the ingredients that we use to support the claims on our products.
00:03:34 We wish more companies would do that. It would make our jobs reviewing products a lot easier.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: But some of the ingredients that we know are the most effective, and of course you’ve heard about a lot of these -- retinol, vitamin C.
Nathan Rivas: Vitamin A.
Bryan Barron: Vitamin A.
Nathan Rivas: [Unintelligible]. So, vitamin A is one of those funny ingredients because it can appear in a variety of ways. You can see it as retinol, as retinyl palmitate. There are a lot of different variations.
00:04:01 But yes, beyond that you have a lot of good -- there’s so many good antioxidants. There are so many good antioxidants. We could talk about antioxidants all day long. Green tree extract I think is one of the more popular ones you’ll see in a lot of products though.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. And that one actually has a lot of research around it.
Nathan Rivas: Absolutely.
Bryan Barron: The B vitamin, niacinamide, not really an antioxidant. Eh, sorta, kinda, but more of a cell communicating barrier repair type ingredient. Glycerin is a great ingredient. Ceramides. Hyaluronic acid, or its salt form, sodium hyaluronate. Those are wonderful moisture-binding agents.
Nathan Rivas: Just plant oils, too.
00:04:37 I mean, there’s a lot of great plant oils that --
Bryan Barron: Well, let me just preface that by saying non-fragrant.
Nathan Rivas: Non-fragrant. Thank you. My god, what was I thinking? Non-fragrant plant oils, yes. And a lot of these are fairly ordinary. Olive oil, for example, or grape seed oil -- you can buy grape seed -- one thing I just thought was really funny I saw in Whole Foods the other day, they had a bottle of cosmetic, you know, of skincare grade grape seed oil which was I think about 4oz and $15.
00:05:03 And if you walk over to the kitchen aisle you’ll get like this 8oz container of grape seed oil, exact same thing, and it was like $6 or something along those lines. It was pretty funny. But, there’s a lot of good plant, non-fragrant plant oils, and actually that little analogy there just kind of underscores the fact that there is no single best non-fragrant plant oil. Olive oil can be just as good as coconut, which can be just as good as Argan, which can be just as good as another type of plant oil.
00:05:31 A lot of that is preference.
Bryan Barron: And we understand the compulsion, if you will, to find a product that has one or two ingredients that you’ve heard of, that you know are supposed to be good, and then you want to just use that product, because skincare can get very complicated. It can get very confusing. And wouldn’t it be nice if somebody could just spell it all out for you and say, “Nope, I don’t care what you’ve read. This is exactly what you need to use and nothing else ever again.”
00:06:00 We have to liken that to food. Just like there isn’t one single best anti-aging ingredient, or one single best ingredient for healthy skin, there isn’t one single best food that you can eat for the rest of your life that’s going to keep you healthy. It’s all about the choices. It’s all about the balance.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. I mean, a lot of ingredients have the things that they do -- happen to do really well, but then they come far short in other areas. And again, as I mentioned, especially if you have any special concerns when it comes to skin you’re not going to find it all in just one product or just one ingredient.
Bryan Barron: Right. Right.
00:06:32 So, the best advice we can give you is to call off the search for that one superstar miracle anti-aging ingredient. If you’re watching an infomercial for a new skincare line, regardless of whose beautiful face is fronting the line, and they’re talking ad nauseam about a certain plant extract or a certain ingredient that you’ve never heard of before, but oh, this oil just sounds amazing. Don’t get so swept up in it. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard to not get swept up in it.
00:07:01 And you can ask us what we think of it, if we’ve heard of it. We always love looking into that type of stuff. But we have yet, and we’ve been doing this for a long time, we have yet to find a single ingredient where we can say, “Oh yup, that’s it; as long as every product you’re using contains ingredient X you are going to have the skin you’ve always wanted.”
Nathan Rivas: No good can come from infomercials, I firmly believe.
Bryan Barron: Well, yeah.
Nathan Rivas: What are some of the ingredients that you hear about a lot from customers who mail into Beautypedia and they ask, “What does this ingredient do?
00:07:36 I’ve read about this one and this one is supposed to be the best.”
Bryan Barron: Hyaluronic acid is very popular. And especially if the product with hyaluronic acid is making any sort of a claim to work like dermal filler.
Nathan Rivas: It holds one thousand times its weight in water!
Bryan Barron: Yeah. So, really quickly to clarify that -- although hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient for skin and it can bind many times its weight in water, that’s not necessarily a good thing but it sounds impressive.
00:08:03 But the hyaluronic acid in skincare products does not work like the hyaluronic acid in dermal fillers. Although they are the same ingredient, there is a difference between applying something topically to skin and what it can do versus injecting it underneath the wrinkle, underneath an expression line where it fuses with the surrounding substances in the lower layers of skin and helps plump up that wrinkle from the inside out.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
00:08:30 I can’t roll around in my lunch and get nourishment from that. There’s a big difference between eating something --
Bryan Barron: Yeah, I’m not going to rub a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my stomach and feel satiated, like I’ve just eaten a sandwich. It’s going to be like I’m still hungry.
Nathan Rivas: Yeah. It’s not going to work!
Bryan Barron: And maybe that’s not quite the best example because it’s not hyaluronic acid as an ingredient is a “do nothing” ingredient; it’s just that the companies selling products that say it’s going to work just like an injection are -- they’re fibbing.
Nathan Rivas: Well, peanut butter would absolutely be moisturizing if you rubbed it on the surface of your skin.
Bryan Barron: That’s true.
00:09:00 Although if it was the chunky kind…eh. So, the other ingredient, it’s more of an ingredient category, but I get asked about peptides a lot.
Nathan Rivas: Peptides. Peptides. Peptides.
Bryan Barron: Because there’s always a new one being touted. This one is supposed to work like Botox because it interrupts the neurotransmitter. This one is supposed to change gene expression in skin --
Nathan Rivas: Just absolutely something you want to mess with. Ha!
Bryan Barron: Right. “Let’s go ahead and affect the DNA in our skin.”
00:09:26 I have a product that we’re in the middle of reviewing now that by the time you listen to the show the review will be up on our site, but it’s LifeCell All-in-One Anti-Aging Treatment from South Beach Skincare. And this is about $218, $220 for 2.5oz.
Nathan Rivas: Something absurd.
Bryan Barron: So, hey, you’re getting a larger than average size and they call it all-in-one because it’s supposed to be fast-acting anti-wrinkle, intensive firming, 24 hour hydration. First of all, I don’t have dry skin and we have this product. We did buy it.
00:10:00 I actually tried it on my face and although we don’t review products based on or personal experience with them, we look at the ingredient list, what the research says, what the claims are saying, and whether or not any of that mumbo jumbo is true, as someone who doesn’t have dry skin I didn’t find this hydrating in the least.
Nathan Rivas: Ah, wah-wah. HA!
Bryan Barron: It felt okay, but I actually think that if you’re going to buy LifeCell, and I don’t encourage you to spend the money, I actually think it’s best for normal to oily skin.
Nathan Rivas: The packaging is absolutely compelling.
Bryan Barron: Yes, oh, it just goes on and on and on. We’re not going to go into every detail. But, it’s not surprising we’re getting asked about this because it is claiming to do it all.
00:10:39 It’s your under eye treatment. It’s your antioxidant. It’s your dehyperpigmentation product. And, if that wasn’t all enough, it is --
Nathan Rivas: Oh, inspired by Nobel prizewinning research!
Bryan Barron: Yeah. I could be inspired by Nobel prizewinning research. It doesn’t mean a darn thing.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: “Inspired by” is one of those catch-all type phrases where you’re like “it seems to,” “appears to,” “skin looks lifted -- looks -- looks lifted from within.” Just because something looks a certain way doesn’t mean it is a certain way.
Nathan Rivas: The packaging for that is like the equivalent of one of those wacky waving inflatable arm things they use to sell used cars. Because pretty much every side you look there is some type of flashy marketing phrase.
Bryan Barron: All over the box.
00:11:25 But LifeCell, I think a lot of people are curious about it not just because of “it does everything” claims, but because it contains several different peptides. It’s got Acetyl Hexapeptide-3. That’s the alleged “works like Botox” peptide. It’s got something called Oligopeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3. On, and on, and on. Here’s the issue with peptides. Peptides can, in theory, be great ingredients for skin. Second of all, just as a quick aside, if you ever are looking at a natural brand that uses peptides, they’re lying.
Nathan Rivas: Yes.
Bryan Barron: There is no such thing as a natural peptide that can survive and remain intact in a skincare product.
00:12:05 Peptides are incredibly unstable ingredients. The best peptides with the most research behind them are synthetic. And peptides actually start breaking down immediately. If they’re not somehow protected or stabilized, you have enzymes in your skin that break down peptides. Skin is very good at keeping things out. That’s why it is absolutely not true that anything you put on your skin gets into the body, gets into the bloodstream.
00:12:31 No way. There are ingredients whose molecular size does allow that to happen, but it is a short list.
Nathan Rivas: It’s one of the more difficult things about cosmetic products is actually getting something even to just those superficial layers of skin. It’s very difficult.
Bryan Barron: Yes. Research into peptides in terms of use in cosmetics has come a long way in terms of them being engineered to be smaller, to be more stable, to be able to travel through the uppermost layers of skin without getting caught by its defense system. Because, remember, skin is designed to keep things out, not suck everything in.
00:13:04 Getting that peptide to its target cell where it can stimulate collagen or help rebuild some damaged elastin. It’s tricky. So, although we recommend and we actually use certain peptides in Paula’s Choice Products. We’re still a little bit on the fence as to just how effective they are. We’re kind of hoping they’re working the way we think they are.
Nathan Rivas: And the thing with peptides is that there’s really only just a handful that actually have research behind them, have any research.
00:13:31 When you see these kind of wacky trade name peptides, you know, $$$ Hexatiplopolis Peptide, you know, those sorts of things. Anyone that says, “Oh, I’ve got a brand new peptide.” Well, basically what they’re saying is, “I have no research at all behind this peptide. And that’s really something that you want to pay attention to. Because if a brand is making claims you want to know, well, do you have any research to actually back that up aside from the infomercial that’s saying that it does work?
Bryan Barron: Exactly.
00:13:58 But clearly the message about peptides being good for anti-aging has reach consumers en masse because we frequently hear from customers who say, ”I’m looking for products with peptides, or what do you have with peptides?”
Nathan Rivas: You know what I think is a really good goal is to put something on you that will help you grow into a fruit. And I’m talking about stem cells. The fruit stem cells. And I wanted to make sure we were able to touch on that.
00:14:27 Because we do hear a lot about stem cells, plant stem cells. Just to clarify, stem cell research is just in its infancy. We’re only really just now beginning to understand how we can use it for human application. So, any brand --
Bryan Barron: I’m sorry. I have to break in here. I want to hear what you have to say about this, but one of the things that just always strikes me is how quickly the cosmetics industry will seize on something and supposedly claim that it’s a breakthrough. And there’s a tie-in to the medical world.
00:14:59 But the cosmetics industry always seems to figure things out and have these big breakthroughs before the medical industry --
Nathan Rivas: “Why haven’t we cured cancer?”
Bryan Barron: Well, yeah, “Well let the cosmetics company do it!”
Nathan Rivas: Exactly. Let them do it.
Bryan Barron: Because medicine isn’t doing anything for us! And the reason for that is because medicine, pharmaceuticals, they are regulated. And they have to prove their claims. Cosmetics do not. You could have any number of peptides or stem cells from seashells and fruits and whatever in a product and you can say whatever you want and not necessarily have to provide any proof that it does anything of the sort.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
00:15:33 As long as you can demonstrate it’s not going to kill somebody, you know, in a product.
Bryan Barron: So, tell our listeners why stem cells are definitely one of those anti-aging ingredients that just isn’t worth the hype.
Nathan Rivas: Stem cells, obviously, they’re going to come from some type of plant or fruit. And no one is going to be able to obtain human stem cells to put in their moisturizers. So, you’re looking at stem cells from like an apple, for example, is I think a pretty popular one that’s popped up in some products. When it comes to stem cells really the only way that a stem cell is going to do anything for anyone is if that stem cell is still alive.
00:16:04 You know, for your body, in a sense very quickly to explain, for it to make that stem cell into something else to do a specific function. You know, a stem cell from a fruit isn’t going to do anything for you. You are not a fruit. You are a human being and your body wouldn’t know, even if it could get a hold of that stem cell and your moisturizer, it wouldn’t know what to do with it. And you certainly wouldn’t want a fruit stem cell in your body, you know, reproducing itself and introducing fruit DNA into your --
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:16:36 It just gets... -- And you’ll go to the cosmetics counter and they’ll talk about these stem cells as being survivor molecules.
Nathan Rivas: Thank you. I wanted to touch on that.
Bryan Barron: And they help a plant survive in the harshest conditions and yet it somehow manages to thrive. And, okay, great. That doesn’t mean in any way, shape, or form that it’s going to do the same thing for your skin.
00:17:00 You also have to consider that the way that stem cell may work in a particular plant species has everything to do with it remaining intact. Whole plant, in the soil, with sunlight, thinking that you could pull those stem cells out of that product, somehow keep them active, and stem cells are also very unstable, put them in a cosmetic, mix them with other ingredients, potentially a mixing process that generates a lot of heat, then they break down those stem cells.
00:17:26 By the time you get that stem cell onto your skin it’s dead.
Nathan Rivas: It is dead.
Bryan Barron: Stem cells need to be alive in order to work. Research, medical research, has proven this to be true. We don’t know why the cosmetics industry hasn’t quite caught onto that yet. So, yeah, let’s wrap up by saying that stem cells are something that you should avoid. And also just as a general rule, avoid any anti-aging ingredient that sounds too good to be true.
Nathan Rivas: Yes.
Bryan Barron: Or if it is somehow tied to a before and after picture where you’re seeing a very aged image -- crinkles and wrinkles and uneven skin tone, sagging, drooping, deep lines. And then after, and it’s what, after two weeks of use or whatever, or four weeks of use.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: The woman or whoever is in the picture looks like she’s 28 again.
Nathan Rivas: If you’ve seen Avatar you know that we can do things to imagery to make it look another way.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:18:20 And I think there’s what, maybe six people on the globe that haven’t seen Avatar?
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: Or at least have heard of it.
Nathan Rivas: Exactly.
Bryan Barron: So, Nathan, really quick, let’s do a 30, 45 second rundown of what a good -- independent of superstar ingredients and looking for that best ingredient -- what is a good anti-aging skincare routine? What products should it have?
Nathan Rivas: It’s a great question. So, number one of course is a cleanser. You really need a cleanser to use morning and night. It’s really the only thing that’s going to get everything off your face, from bacteria and dead cells. The next really important product would be an exfoliant, a daily BHA or AHA exfoliant, something that would help to slowly breakdown dead cells over time and there’s individual benefits to those that you can find in our site.
00:19:06 But then also then of course you need a sunscreen. Everyday something that is going to help protect your skin against damage from UVA and UVB rays. Make sure it’s a broad spectrum. And then some type of treatment, whether it’s a moisturizer for nighttime or whether it’s a serum, something that has a good collection of antioxidants and cell communicating ingredients. And, of course, there are more things you can add on top of that, but that is kind of my list of what the absolute bare, bare minimum would be for a routine.
Bryan Barron: That’s great. And we strive to use all of those types of ingredients in Paula’s Choice products.
00:19:38 And any skincare product, particularly with regard to anti-aging that we review favorably on our Beautypedia reviews has those ingredients in it, too. So, take a look at what we recommend from other brands. Consider Paula’s Choice if you’d like. And I’ll leave you with this -- you will read a lot about on our site that there isn’t one best anti-aging ingredient. There are many, many good ones.
00:20:01 But does that mean you have to use all of them? No.
Nathan Rivas: No.
Bryan Barron: So, on the other side of the coin, just as you shouldn’t look for a product that has one superstar ingredient as being the answer, don’t worry about making sure that everything you use has every anti-aging ingredient that ever has had anything good done or said about it in the product -- there are many good ones. And likening it back to food, it’s sort of like going up to a salad bar and putting everything on your plate because it all has nutritional value.
00:20:31 Pick and choose what you like. Experiment with different options. Alternate. You’re going to get great anti-aging results if you follow that approach and you’ll save money, you’ll stop falling for the too good to be true claims. And that’s what we want. We want you to have great skin. We want you to spend money wisely and we want you to get products that work, that do what they say. So, thank you for listening and we’ll talk with you again soon.
Nathan Rivas: Bye-bye.
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