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  • Writer's picturekatedee

Anti-aging Ingredients 101


What are the top ingredients to keep your skin healthy and youthful? I talk with people every day about skin care. Whether you’re a skin product aficionado with a cabinet full of creams and serums or someone who barely remembers to wash your face, this information is critically important. We can make a huge difference in how our skin looks and feels AND decrease the risk of skin cancer with some basic ingredients.


Retinoids. Retinoids are different versions of Vitamin A, best known as Retinol. Retinoids also include prescription tretinoin and over-the-counter products like differin. Retinols are antioxidants, which means they protect your skin from sun damage including not just the “age spots” but also DNA damage that can lead to skin cancer. Retinols decrease skin pigment and stimulate collagen. And, most importantly, they speed up turnover of those dead cells that build up on the skin surface as we age, leading to nice young happy cells at the surface, decreasing those fine lines yielding brighter, smoother skin. Our recommended Retinol product: SkinMedica Retinol.

  • Shown in laboratory studies to be as potent as prescription tretinoin

  • Medical grade quality and purity, no fragrances added

  • Packaged in an opaque airless pump to ensure it remains potent

  • Reasonable pricing


Vitamin C. Eat it and use it on your skin-- both will increase collagen. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and is critical for protection from UV rays. Vitamin C also decreases brown pigment and sun spots. The great thing about this is that it does this by a different mechanism on the skin than most skin-lightening creams and serums. So, if you’ve got sun damage or melasma, go ahead and use Vitamin C and a Lightening serum and they will work synergistically. Our recommended Vitamin C serum: Obagi 15% 

  • High-quality medical grade product

  • No fragrance added, mild citrus scent

  • Non-irritating

  • Opaque airless pump packaging

  • Reasonable price


HSA. HSA is Heparan Sulfate and it is the newest kid on the block for anti-aging. In your skin are large sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). They are like the jello of the dermis, keeping it plump and supple. HSA is a small version of these GAGs that can actually penetrate into the skin and plump it up. But not only that, the HSA molecule has this amazing ability to turn on collagen synthesis in a very powerful way. Plus it is a potent anti-inflammatory and decreases redness. So, HSA is the BOMB!!! Our recommendation: Sente Dermal Repair Cream or Daily Pressed Serum

  • Proprietary molecule found only in Sente products (the eye cream is amazing too)

  • No fragrances or additives

  • Opaque airless pump packaging


Glycolic Acid. As we get older our epidermis slows way down and we get a build-up of dead cells. Those cells are dull and retain all the wrinkles and the pigment they’ve picked up along the way. Glycolic acid will exfoliate those cells and get into the pores and keep them clean. This leads to brighter fresher skin and has the added benefit of allowing better absorption of the great ingredients you’re adding to your regimen. Our recommended product: 10% Glycolic Moisturizing Cleanser

  • Does not dry the skin if used once/day

  • Brightens skin in just a few weeks

  • Very reasonable price, lasts for a very long time


Sun Block. The number one thing you can do to prevent aging and skin cancer is to stay out of the sun and wear sun block every day. Sun is the source of age spots and DNA damage that will leave you looking decades older than you feel inside. UVA rays come right through the clouds all winter and cause the same damage that the burn-inducing UVB rays do, so yes, you have to use the sun block all winter long. This does not mean you’ll get no Vitamin D! You’ll need about 15 minutes/day of sun to your arms and legs to get enough Vitamin D. If you’re living in the Pacific Northwest, this is NOT happening and you’ll need Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is critical to your health, not just for your bones, but for cancer prevention. Our recommended sun block: EltaMD 

  • Several choose from, pick the feel you love the most

  • Tinted or Untinted: great coverage

  • Feels amazing on the skin

  • All-physical options

  • Fairly reasonable price compared to other medical grade sun blocks


This is not an exhaustive list and they are not all for everyone. We design regimens specifically for each person’s skin type. If you haven’t had your skin type assessed, come in any time to take our skin typing quiz. You don’t need an appointment to take the quiz, but if you’d like to schedule a consultation to go over and customize the regimen we are happy to meet with you! 


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