Your anti-aging friends are SPF, AHA/BHA, vitamin C, retinol & peptides. Here's what to look for and our product picks, all Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty free!
A moisturizer with SPF is a great dual-purpose product. By having the SPF as part of your moisturizer, you'll be more likely to use it every day, which is what you need to do.
Use SPF every day, rain or shine, winter or summer. Cold and clouds don't stop UV rays. If you see daylight, UV rays are there.
Foundation with SPF? Don't rely on it for your sole sunscreen. If you use the quantity needed to get the SPF protection, you'll be wearing way too much foundation. Use an adequate SPF product beneath your foundation, even if your foundation says it's SPF 30.
Here are good SPF moisturizers that work well under makeup, too:
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliate dead skin cells that build up on your skin's surface, revealing healthier new skin.
AHAs and BHA are equally effective. The main difference is that AHAs work on the surface of skin, while BHA works on the surface and within pores. If you have blackheads or enlarged pores, BHA can be better because it can help unclog pores.
Removing dead cells helps in these ways:
Important: When using an AHA/BHA product, daily use of sunscreen or an SPF moisturizer is critical (get SPF 30). If you don't, you are exposing new, vulnerable skin to UV rays, and you can cause more harm than good.
These percentages are suitable for daily use. If you need a major reset, higher percentages are available, but be sure to follow the label and don't use more often than specified on the label.
Leaping Bunny brands with standout AHA/BHA products are DeVita and Paula's Choice:
For Paula's Choice, get their newsletter to take advantage of frequent sales. Paula's Choice has the widest selection of AHA/BHA products and has trial sizes available. Paula's Choice is also available locally at Pharmaca, but product selection varies by store so call ahead.
Vitamin C is a multi-talented anti-aging ingredient. Here are some of its benefits:
Vitamin C has several forms: l-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) or sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate are the ones with the most documented research. If you don't respond to one form, try another. For example, some people who don't respond to MAP respond to l-ascorbic acid, and vice versa.
L-ascorbic acid is generally the most effective form, but its low pH can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Always test this product on a patch of skin first. If it's too harsh, go with a magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or sodium ascorbyl phosphate form of vitamin C instead.
Vitamin C degrades quickly in light, air, and heat. Do not buy a vitamin C product that is in clear packaging. Store your product where it won't be exposed to heat. The telltale sign is if it has turned orange. If so, it has degraded enough that you should not use it.
Here are good vitamin C products with proper packaging:
If there's a single best anti-aging ingredient (after SPF), it's retinol. Retinol has the ability to signal our aging skin cells to behave like younger cells again. Here are the benefits:
Retinol is potent, and you'll want to be careful when you start it. Be sure to follow label instructions. Usually, it's recommended to use at night, but again, read the label instructions for proper use of that particular product.
As with AHA/BHA products, using an SPF 30 sunscreen is critical when using a retinol product. If you don't, you are exposing new, vulnerable skin to UV rays, and you can cause more harm than good.
Here are effective, Leaping Bunny-certified retinol products that also have proper packaging:
Like retinol, peptides also have the ability to signal cells to behave better. Different peptides have different effects. Palmitoyl tripeptide-5 and palmitoyl oligopeptide may boost collagen production. Palmitoyl oligopeptide may also boost production of hyaluronic acid (the stuff between our skin cells that binds water and plumps our face). There are several other peptides, which generally may help aging cells function better.
Peptides are usually added as supporting ingredients to products. Look for them in the ingredient list. Many of the products shown in this article include peptides.
As an example, here's what I use. I have normal skin, but my T-zone tends to get clogged pores. Caution! Everyone's skin is different, so my routine may not be the best one for you. This example is just to show you how an anti-aging routine might look. If you have sensitive skin, for example, you may want a lower strength product or to use products less frequently. If you aren't sure or if your skin reacts badly, stop and ask the brand for advice.
Morning (after washing face)
Night (after washing face)
I need just light moisturizing, so these products provide enough for me. If your skin is a little dry, you may want to add an evening moisturizer to your routine.
Last updated: November 2017
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