Anti Aging Skin Care Info

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A Critical Eye On Anti Aging Skincare

Filed under: Overview by admin

If you’re using anti aging skin care products, or are thinking of starting to use them, read our non-biased information on how the products  actually work here. Click on our categories on the right for the in depth guides to some  major trends in the anti ageing skin care beauty industry, or read our sumaries below.

Anti ageing skin care is obviously a sizeable industry, with companies lining up to sell anti ageing creams, lotions, treatment devices, pills and supplements, not to mention cosmetic surgery. On the other side of the coin, some skin care experts claim no products can halt the appearance of fine lines and that some products sold actually damage the skin over time.

Women today are under more pressure than ever to stay younger looking longer, like the stars in the magazines – and lets not forget many magazines now routinely airbrush their photos.

Retinol Creams

Retinol (vitamin A) is reported to reduce wrinkle depth. The effect is due to a mild inflammatory response provoked when the vitamin is applied to skin. The skin responds by puffing up, which gives the wrinkles a shallower appearance. Whilst the creams are hugely popular, some controversy exists due to their mode of action (1).

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs or ‘fruit acids’)

These creams have skin effects documented by the American Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA). They note products containing AHAs are used in cosmetics as they cause exfoliation of surface skin. The effect depends on the concentration of AHAs in the products in combination with the effects of other ingredients (2). Again, some controversy exists (1).

‘Botox’ injections

One of the most famous ‘fixes’ for wrinkles and fine lines, this has been the subject of both controversy and praise. The generic name for the substance injected is Botulinum, and the most famous brand name within beauty treatment is “Botox Cosmetic” or “Vistabel” in the UK). It is injected into to muscles to stop the nerve impulse that tells the muscle to relax or contract, paralysing the muscle. The area around the injection is smoothed whilst the rest of the face remains the same. Botox has been declared as legal for use only by suitable qualified professionals in the USA and UK. In some places, its use is regulated by precautionary measures, which professionals must legally follow (3).


Another huge controversy currounds the use of parabens in cosmetics – chemicals which help prolong the shelf life of the products and keep them fresh and hygienic. Cancer research scientists have raised terrifying concerns that using parabens may be linked to certain cancers and they have been held responsible for rashes and allergic reactions (4). On the other hand, there are also cancer reserach organisation that refute any link to cancer and the FDA has not ruled parabens harmful yet (5). Read the real story of how the scientiifc ommunit, the beauty industry and consumers are reacting to parabens in countless everyday skin care and beauty products.

Natural skin care treatments


Roundup of benefits of comsetic acupuncture (dubbed the ‘acupuncture face lift’), facial massage, natural products and sun advice. Natural treatments usually claim to be safer, less damaging to skin than the ‘science in a jar’ brigade.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: NONE of the above advice can be a substitute for medical or professional skin care advice – please only consult qualified general medical and/ or dermatology physicians for serious skin complaints. The information here may reflect manufacturer’s claims and this site cannot be held responsible for such claims made.

RS Brown


  1. Mir, G. Anti Ageing and Sun Care. [online] Hertfordshire, UK: Mir. Available at:

2.       American Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Alpha Hydroxy Acids in Cosmetics. [online] Washington: Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

3. Singer, N. (2009). FDA Orders Warning Label for Botox. [online] New York Times.  Available at:

4. Dabre, P. (2009). Underarm Antiperspirants/Deodorants And Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer Research 2009, 11(Suppl 3):S5. Available at:

5. FDA. Parabens. FDA [online]. Available at:

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Retinol creams

Filed under: Retinol creams by admin

‘Retinol’ is a term used widely in manufacturer’s names and promotions for anti ageing skin care creams. Such creams most commonly contain retinyl palmitate. This should undergo a catalytic process of enzyme reactions once applied to the skin, to convert into the skin’s active form of vitamin A, trans-retinoic acid (1). Let’s just say Retinol is marketed as a miricale product:

Rough and ready guide to skin smoothing mechanism

The deeper layers of the dermis (skin) contain collagen, a substance which allows the skin to maintain its shape and elastin, which allows skin its degrees of quite literally, elasticity. Production of elastin stops after puberty, hence some of the effects of ‘age’ on the skin. When the creams are applied, the skin reacts by producing more cells and more collagen, meaning cells seem fuller and rounder. The new cell production moves older cells to the outer layers of the skin where they are exfoliated. This creates the much vaunted effects of the creams, to make skin seem smoo9ther and more radiant (as new cells are less pigmented by UV rays).

Interestingly enough, the concentration of retinol in the creams seems to influence their effect. A fascinating sample by national UK newspaper The Daily Mirror in 2007 (2) found that many manufacturers were shy to disclose exactly how much was in their product, or in what form.

Remember, the mechanism at work is the conversion of the product’s active ingredient to a retinoic acid. Creams which contain retinoic acid itself are classed as pharmaceuticals, because they have significant, demonstrable effects on the skin – effectively making them a medicine. So retinoic acid creams are only allowed to be prescribed – meaning the beauty industry can’t use them in its creams.

Instead, forms such as retinyl palmatate are used instead which convert to much smaller amounts of retinoic acid in the skin.  This has advantages and disadvantages for the consumer. Whilst the effect is less potent than prescribed creams, the products are likely to be better tolerated. The prescribed creams can sometimes lead to adverse reactions such as dry, red & flaky skin in susceptible individuals.

Photosentivity increased & those with sentitive skin:

Retinol over the counter creams leave skin more sensitive to sunlight (3), so sunscreens should always be used even in climates where the sun may seem weak or non-existent some days! Those with sensitive skin are probably best advised to consult a professional before trying it. Pharmaceutical chain Boot’s suggest using their retinol creams by building up the number of times they are used first (2). Always consult a professional qualified doctor for health concerns.


Giselle Mir states she qualified as Cosmetic Scientist before founding her own cosmetic company having become disillusioned with misleading cosmetic industry product claims. Mir has publicly stated creams containing retinol essentially irritate the skin, leading to moisture loss from the top layer and premature aging (4).



IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: NONE of the above advice can be a substitute for medical or professional skin care advice – please only consult qualified general medical and/ or dermatology physicians for serious skin complaints. The information is not sponsored by manufacturers here but may reflect their claims and this site cannot be held responsible for such claims made.

RS Brown


1. Draelos, Z.D.D. (2006). Cosmetic Formulation of Skincare Products: 30 (Cosmetic Science and Technology). Informa Healthcare.

2. Daily Mirror Retinol (2007).Retinol: Is It Really A Miracle Cream?. [online]. Daily Mirror. Available at:–is-it-really-a-miracle-cream–98487-19248887/

3. Food and Drug Administration. (2008)  Photocytotoxicity of Retinol and Retinyl Acetate. [online]. FDA. Available at:

4. Mir, G. [undated]. Anti ageing and sun care. [online] Mir. Available at:

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