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Choosing Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients

Retinol

Retinol is made from vitamin A and goes on your skin. It boosts collagen production and plumps out skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone and color, and reduces mottled patches on the skin.

Many dermatologists prescribe retinol's stronger counterpart, tretinoin, or similar products to slow skin aging, improve irregular pigmentation, and clear up acne. Over-the-counter products containing retinols may be weaker, but are still effective in improving skin appearance.

Using a retinol-based product may cause the skin's top layer (the epidermis) to become dry and flaky. Be sure to wear moisturizer and sunscreen when using it or speak to your dermatologist about alternatives.

Vitamin C

As you age, your body slows down its production of collagen and elastin, which keep skin strong, flexible, and resilient. The antioxidants found in vitamin C may stimulate the production of collagen and minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.

Vitamin C is being added to skin care products such as creams and lotions. If you want to use a topical vitamin C-based product, ask your dermatologist which one would be right for you.

CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)

Your body naturally makes CoQ-10 to neutralize free radicals in cells. As you age, you make less  CoQ-10. That may make skin cells more vulnerable to damage by free radicals. That's the reasoning behind the use of the antioxidant in skin care products such as toners, gels, and creams to be used alone or with a moisturizer. One study shows that CoQ-10 helps reduce wrinkles around the eyes known as crow's feet.

CoQ-10 is bright orange, so products containing it will be orange or yellow.

Caffeine

Caffeine is also an antioxidant, but whether it can be used on the skin to reverse aging isn't known. Still, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams based on evidence that shows caffeine can inhibit the growth of skin cancer and, when applied to the skin, may make wrinkles less deep, especially ''crow's feet'' around the eyes.

Other Popular Ingredients

Skin-care and cosmetics companies are adding natural ingredients to their products, such as the following:

Brush Up on Beauty

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