Skin changes as the years pass, that's undeniable. At 30, 40, and 50, signs of its evolution become apparent. It loses some of its radiance, dries out, and wrinkles and spots appear. Inevitable? Not entirely. It depends on a good understanding of your skin, recognizing the warning signs, and knowing which are the right active ingredients, those that can prevent and counter these changes.
Vitamins, anti-aging stars:
Vitamin PP or Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide, reparative: This vitamin, present in the body and involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions, plays a role in cellular energy production and cellular repair. Depending on its concentration in a cosmetic product, it contributes to improving the skin's barrier function, better hydration, accelerated cell differentiation, wound healing, or anti-inflammatory effects (beneficial for both aging and acne or atopy) and anti-spots effects.
Vitamin A (retinol and its derivatives), stimulating: The molecule used by the body to promote cell renewal is actually retinoic acid, which can only be prescribed by dermatologists. In cosmetics, there are molecules that transform into retinoid acid (called precursors): encapsulated retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, or linoleate, which are more stable and less irritating. Retinol acts on all layers of the skin. On the surface, it has an exfoliating effect that promotes pore unclogging. It stimulates cell renewal, thickening the epidermis. It also has a strong antioxidant role. In the dermis, it stimulates collagen and elastin production, increases glycosaminoglycan (GAG) levels, and reduces existing collagen destruction. Therefore, it is a very good anti-wrinkle agent that also acts on skin tone uniformity.
Vitamin C, super-vitamin: Although it is present in all plants, especially fruits (citrus fruits, kiwi, acerola...), cosmetic L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C is generally synthetic. As its pure version is highly effective but also very unstable, it is usually used in the form of cures where the powder is mixed with a solution. In serums or creams, it is stabilized, especially by sugars.
It is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It is both directly and indirectly anti-radical, as it reactivates the effects of vitamin E, another superb antioxidant. It boosts both epidermal cells (keratinocytes) and dermal cells. Within two weeks of use, its effect on skin radiance becomes visible. After one to two months of use, its effect on skin texture and wrinkle reduction, through collagen stimulation, becomes apparent. Finally, with consistent use for three months, it is one of the most effective anti-spot agents. It acts on wrinkles, spots, skin texture, and skin radiance.
Hyaluronic acid, moisturizing and anti-wrinkle: Hyaluronic acid, a complex sugar found throughout the body (cartilage, skin, eyes), retains up to 1000 times its weight in water and is the most abundant component of the dermis. But be aware, there is not just one type of hyaluronic acid. High molecular weight hyaluronic acid (large molecules that do not penetrate) forms a hydrating film, smoothing and filling surface wrinkles by nestling into them. Very low molecular weight or fragmented hyaluronic acid penetrates deeper into the epidermis, where it is recognized by cells that will produce more hyaluronic acid themselves. Then, they instruct dermal cells to produce more collagen. It thus inflates the dermal mattress, plumps the skin, and pushes wrinkles out from the inside.
Fruit acids, multitasking: Also called AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), they are acids derived, as the name indicates, from fruit sugars: apple for malic acid, sugar cane for glycolic acid, grape juice for tartaric acid, lemon and citrus fruits (citric acid), fermented milk (lactic acid), but also in bitter almonds, honey, etc. Nowadays, they are synthesized. The most commonly used ones are glycolic and lactic acids, which have a particular ability to penetrate the skin.
Refined skin texture, radiance, reduced spots, wrinkles, and acne scars... their actions are numerous. They have moisturizing power because they transform part of the skin's keratin into amino acids, essential constituents of our natural hydration system, making the skin softer, smoother, and more radiant. Fruit acids also have an exfoliating power because they reduce the cohesion of the cells in the stratum corneum, causing accelerated desquamation and thus better epidermal cell renewal. At the dermal level, in a minimum one-month course, they help to rebuild the cell environment (hyaluronic acid, collagen production...), promoting the smoothing of shallow wrinkles. Smaller acids, especially glycolic acid, can cause irritation and photosensitivity. Those with sensitive skin prefer polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), such as gluconolactone, which are better tolerated.
Antioxidants, protectors: Present in almost all plants (green tea, grapes, red fruits, citrus fruits), they help plants defend themselves against external (cold, heat, UV...) and internal (stress, oxidation) aggressions. Polyphenols, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10, vitamins C and E are part of this large family. Through their anti-radical effect, they preserve the skin from oxidation and thus slow down its aging. But besides being key molecules for anti-aging prevention, they have been discovered to have anti-glycation properties, stimulate fibroblasts (and therefore collagen, elastin...), and depigment.
Peptides, messengers: These chains of amino acids, constituents of proteins, are naturally present in the skin. Dipeptides, tripeptides... hexapeptides or polypeptides, the number of amino acids that constitute them determines their name. They act as messengers, binding to certain cell receptors to initiate various actions. Some boost cell renewal, others stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, others are moisturizing or soothing, or even anti-glycation. Argireline, a hexapeptide, reduces expression lines. Proline boosts collagen synthesis... In short, the possible effects are multiple since almost every peptide corresponds to a specific action. They are effective at very small doses but are costly to produce.
Calcium, fortifier: Our body is composed of 2% calcium, an essential mineral for the body and especially our bones. It also has this fortifying role in the skin. However, the amount of calcium in the epidermis decreases, especially after menopause, making the skin more fragile. Calcium in cosmetic care helps the proper cohesion of the epidermal barrier. It helps defend the skin against external aggressions and makes it less permeable to allergens and microbes. Additionally, calcium promotes water transport through the epidermis, leading to better hydration.
To delve deeper into this topic, Pauline Hauchecorne, our Director of Scientific Communication and Medical Visits, explains which active ingredients to use based on specific needs.
Which Active Ingredient for Each Sign of Skin Aging?
Dehydration: The skin's barrier function is impaired, making the skin more permeable. Water evaporation increases, known as insensible water loss (IWL), and the skin becomes dehydrated.
Dry and Rough Skin: Hydration is poor, and consequently, the skin's barrier function is impaired.
Dull Complexion: Repeated exposure to UV rays from the sun, pollution, or an unhealthy lifestyle (stress, smoking, alcohol...) produce oxidizing free radicals that damage skin cells. Additionally, cell renewal slows down, dead cells accumulate on the epidermis' surface, and the complexion becomes dull.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines: Dehydration lines, expression lines, or aging wrinkles, wrinkles are one of the first visible signs of skin aging, mainly on the face.
Dehydration lines are due to poor skin hydration and are the first to appear.
Expression lines are superficial wrinkles usually found in areas influenced by facial muscles: outer corner of the eye (crow's feet), forehead, and between the eyebrows (frown lines). On skin losing elasticity over time, these folds, which remain the same, eventually mark the skin tissues.
Deeper aging wrinkles are related to skin laxity, loss of firmness and tone, and the effects of external aging factors like the sun. Examples include nasolabial folds, neck wrinkles, and décolleté wrinkles.
Retinol reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by stimulating the production of new collagen and increasing the number of fibroblasts and keratinocytes that decrease with aging.
Vitamin C or peptides, by stimulating collagen synthesis, help reduce wrinkles.
Essential fatty acids and ceramides, contributing to strengthening the skin barrier, fill wrinkles.
Loss of Density, Skin Laxity: With time and hormonal changes, the synthesis of essential skin components slows down: hyaluronic acid and collagen, key molecules of the skin's support tissue, become scarce. The skin's architecture weakens, loses density, slackens, and becomes less resistant.
Loss of Elasticity and Firmness: Over time, collagen and elastin production in the dermis slows down, leading to a reduction in substances that make the skin elastic, especially elastin.
Pigment Spots: With age, melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color, accumulates, especially on areas frequently exposed to the sun (face, back of hands, décolleté). During sun exposure, pigmentation disorders appear as brown spots.