Anti-Aging Superstars


Is there a single best anti-aging ingredient? The answer is no, there isn’t. But don’t be disappointed! The good news is that there are dozens of brilliant ingredients for skin. To make the best decisions for you skin, you need to know what the research has proven is essential for truly combating aging and taking the best care of your skin.

In This Article

What Skin Needs to Fight Signs of Aging

There’s little everyone in the world of skin care can agree on but we think with few exceptions, to one degree or another, everyone would agree that the best types of products to truly combat the signs of aging need to include the following:

Sunscreen is the superstar of all superstars in the world of skin care but especially for anti-aging. It must be a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater.

We know that sunscreen isn't nearly as sexy as the latest anti-wrinkle cream dressed up in slick claims and packaging but it’s the most important. When used correctly, meaning applied liberally, 365 days a year, rain or shine, no matter how long you think you’ll be exposed (one minute is all it takes for sun damage to begin), sunscreen is your best defense against the visible effects of sun damage and being able to help prevent early skin aging.

Exfoliants can remove built-up layers of dead, rough, thickened, surface skin that makes skin look rough, dull, wrinkled, and dry. This surface renewal results in skin that’s remarkably smoother, more even, hydrated, radiant, and younger-looking.

The catch? We’re not talking about scrubs! Rather, we’re referring to non-abrasive, leave-on exfoliants that contain AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) ingredients. AHAs to look for include glycolic and lactic acids; the one and only BHA ingredient is salicylic acid. Paula’s Choice offers an extensive selection of effective, fragrance free AHA and BHA exfoliants.

Antioxidants defend against environmental stress, help to calm skin, and play a role in softening signs of aging. There are hundreds of antioxidants used in skincare, so don’t get caught up over any single one. Some of the most researched antioxidants for skin include green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, soy, genistein, pomegranate, and resveratrol—but these are just the tip of the iceburg! For best results, look for serums that are enriched with a mix of antioxidants.

Skin-restoring ingredients, can nourish skin in a way that helps it to return to its youthful, vibrant appearance. These ingredients also help improve skin tone and texture and soften the appearance of wrinkles. Examples include retinol, niacinamide, peptides, and adenosine.

Skin-replenishing ingredients are the same natural substances found in skin that help maintain its surface integrity. These replenishing ingredient make skin feel soft and supple, relieve dryness, and with daily use, keep skin safeguarded from environmental factors that lead to moisture loss and dehydration. Skin-replenishing ingredients include glycerin, ceramides, various fatty acids and lipids (including those found in plant oils), hyaluronic acid, and cholesterol. Paula’s Choice toners and moisturizers include a sophisticated blend of these ingredients.

Abundant research makes it crystal clear that all of these groups of ingredients are as good as it gets in the world of skincare when you’re concerned about wrinkling and other signs of aging.

These state of the art ingredients, especially when combined in one product, are the types of ingredients you need, regardless of the name on the label or the product category. If the product doesn’t contain these ingredients, then why bother?

Essential Shopping Tips

The price won't help you. There are lots of expensive products that deprive your skin of great ingredients and lots of affordable products that generously serve up what your skin needs, and vice versa. What counts most are the ingredients, not the final price.

You don't necessarily need an eye cream. There’s no research showing that eye area skin needs something different from skin on the rest of your face. There are many great eye creams on the market, but most of them contain ingredients that make them good moisturizers, regardless of whether you use them for your eye area.

If you want to use an eye cream, look for one that really differs from your facial moisturizer; for daytime, it would contain a mineral-based sunscreen and for nighttime it would be best if it had a balm-like texture and you wore it more as an overnight mask, applying a thick layer and allowing it to slowly absorb as you sleep.  

Never buy any "anti-aging" product in jar packaging because they very state of the art ingredients we mentioned above won’t remain stable once you've opened the jar and exposed the contents to air and light.

There Isn't One Ultimate "Best" Ingredient…

…there are just lots of great ones. All of the ingredients listed above—antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients—are the leading elements that contribute to making a state of the art anti-aging product. And there are many brilliant formulations in stable packaging that include these substances.

Remember, contrary to what cosmetics companies want you to believe about their products, there’s no single miracle ingredient for skin. Month after month, new skincare ingredients appear one after the other, all claiming superiority over their predecessors.

Even when there’s research showing that the ingredient can be effective for skin, that doesn’t make it better or more essential than hundreds of other ingredients—it's just another option, not a must-have.

Think about it like your diet. Although broccoli or grapes may be incredibly healthy to eat, if you eat only those foods your health will eventually suffer. Skin is the body’s largest organ and its surface requires a range of beneficial ingredients to remain smooth, resilient, and healthy-looking.

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula's Choice Anti-Aging Products.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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