Let’s face it, anti-aging skincare products remains one of the hottest commodities in the world of skincare. We’re always searching for the next lotion or potion to give us a dewy glow, youthful firmness, or make us look taut and toned. But, what if we worked backwards? Instead of searching for the next best thing, let’s focus on the ingredients we need to stimulate collagen production.
To start, collagen is a protein rich fiber located in the dermal layer of our skin. As we age, the collagen fibers become weaker and begin to break down, causing our skin to appear loose, wrinkly, and saggy. Think of a new pair of Loubs. When you first get them, they’re firm, a bit stiff, and look fresh AH in the photos on your Instagram feed. After a few years of wear? Not so much. Now imagine you took those same Loubs and left them on your balcony all day long in the Dubai sun. The harsh sunrays would accelerate their demise. Just like our fancy footwear, the sun contributes to breaking down our collagen fibers at a more rapid rate. One of the many reasons why we reapply our sunblock every two hours.
Luckily, we have ingredients that work synergistically to kickstart our collagen production and give our skin a boost of firmness. Here are four that should be on your radar and in the products on your vanity.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid and lactic acid do so much more than exfoliate. Alpha hydroxy acids unglue the dead bonds between our skin cells and slough away the upper layer of our epidermis, revealing bright skin underneath. As the dead skin is removed, these chemical exfoliators penetrate deeper into skin, removing collagen fibers and stimulating the production of new collagen.
One of skincare’s most loved ingredients, retinoids are the industry standard for firming skin. This antioxidant (also known as a derivative of vitamin A) penetrates deep within the skin to stimulate collagen production while simultaneously preventing your healthy collagen from breaking down. It also enhances your skin’s epidermal exfoliation and inhibits the production of melanin. Not all retinols are created equal. Reinoids are an umbrella term encompassing the various strengths of vitamin A derivatives. Prescription strength retinoids like tretinoin will work the quickest while over-the-counter retinol esters are the weakest. It takes longer to see results.
This powerful and popular antioxidant is famous because it fights free radical damage from environmental stressors (like the sun) and for its brightening effects, but did you know that vitamin C also helps to firm skin and minimise fine lines and wrinkles? This potent antioxidant firms skin by kick starting collagen synthesis. Look for the stable vitamin C derivative tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. It’s a favorite among derms.
You may have come across the skincare ingredient, centella asiastica, once or twice. Turns out, it’s in a lot of the products we use, and, for good reason. Centella asiastica, also known as cica, is an aqueous plant found in Asia. It boasts a wealth of skincare benefits including stimulating collagen production. In addition to firming skin, cica is a favorite among those than are prone to redness. It’s anti-inflammatory benefits help to soothe irritated skin.