Anti-Aging Ingredients 101

Wrinkle cream makers and sellers will say anything to get you to buy their product. Most advertising, as you probably already know, is a scam. When comparing wrinkle creams, you have to get past the manufacturer's claims and examine the ingredients. In my research, I have found that the following list of wrinkle ingredients are the most effective, have the most science, and are most credible in their claims. These ingredients, listed in order of importance, are the ones you should be looking for in the products you purchase. Some are better than others.


Deanol, otherwise known as dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, prevents sagging, reduces saggy eye syndrome, increases circulation and tone to lips. Cosmetic companies say that it increases tension of the muscles underlying skin, thus increasing skin firmness and wrinkle reduction. Both LifeCell and Revitol contain Deanol. Get the full report about Deanol and find out what an awesome wrinkle cream ingredient it is.


D3PA stands for dithiolane-3-pentanoic acid. Skincare products that use D3PA claim that it boosts levels of antioxidants Vitamin C, E, and glutathione in the body, and is a potent anti-oxidant in its own right. Application of D3PA to the skin stimulates nitric oxide production in the epidermis, resulting in dilated capillaries in facial skin and bringing nutrients to the skin surface, giving a skin a youthful glow and reducing skin roughness. LifeCell uses this as one of their main ingredients. Here's the rest of the story for D3PA


Ubiquinone, otherwise known as Coenzyme Q10 or Idebenone, is one of the most powerful and universal antioxidants out there. LifeCell uses ubiquinone and Revitol uses Coenzyme Q10. It has been clinically shown to protect cells against oxidative damage and increase the levels of other anti-oxidants, including vitamin C. Read more about Ubiquinone.

Vitamin C

As most of us know, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant in fighting oxidative damage to skin. What most of us don’t know is that L-ascorbic acid, the form of Vitamin C in most skincare preparations, is highly unstable and worse, potentially irritating to the skin. Fortunately, there are safer and more effective forms of vitamin C out there are highly successful in the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles. Both LifeCell and Revitol use ascorbyl palmitate, which is one of the best forms of vitamin C to use. Get the full report about Vitamin C and learn what kind to look for in anti-aging ingredients.

Hyaluronic Acid

According to Wikipedia, hyaluronic acid, otherwise known as hyaluronan is a major componment of skin, where it is involved in tissue repair. For our purposes, it is important also in maintaining skin firmness and struture. Photodamaged skin produces less hyaluronan, and contributes to hyaluronan deficiency, thus resulting in wrinkles. Topical application of hyaluronan has been shown to help maintain healthy collagen levels and moisturize the skin.


Matrixyl is a patented ingredient in Revitol, and it contains palmitoyl pentapeptide-3. Indeed, the results of early research on its stunning effects on wrinkled skin caused a stir at the 20th World Congress of Dermatology in Paris (Matrixyl 1999™). A six-month study revealed that it temporarily produced a significant reduction in deep and moderate wrinkles. In fact, they documented changes as high as 68%. Read more about peptides in skincare.

Skin Tightener ST™

This is a trademark name for a combination of ingredients in Revitol anti-wrinkle cream, including kelp, palmitoyl tetrapeptide, acetyl hexapeptide-3, and some other undisclosed herbal ingredients. According to the website, Skin Tightener ST™ enhances collage synthesis resulting in firmer skin and reduced wrinkles. It also contains palmitoyl tetrapeptide which promotes healthy skin; and Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, which reduces the skin movements that may contribute to wrinkles. Here Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is reviewed, and the benefits of peptides (including palmitoyl tetrapeptide) in skin care products is reviewed in the section about Peptides

Palmitoyl Oligopeptide

Skincare companies claim this ingredient stimulates GAG production and collagen production which increase skin firmness. Can’t find a specific study on it, but I did find several studies that back up the use of peptides in treating fine lines and wrinkles.

Matrixyl 3000™

Matrixyl 3000™ is an antioxidant that is made up of two peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. It is an ingredient in Hydroxatone, and according to the website, stimulates collagen synthesis resulting in firmer skin.

I did find one clinical trial that reported  Matrixyl 3000™ led to a 33% decrease in wrinkle density, a 23% decrease in the volume of wrinkles and a 20% decrease in the depth of wrinkles. The only problem is that this research was conducted by Sederma, the manufacturer of Matrixyl 3000™, and I haven’t been able to find any independent research. See more about using peptides to treat fine lines and wrinkles here: Peptides


Argireline™ is touted as the new, safe and non-invasive alternative to Botox™ injections. Like Botox™, it is said to relax facial muscles thus reducing fine lines and wrinkles by inhibiting the nerve/muscle connection. Unlike Botox™, it takes some time to take effect, and is has a cumulative effect. So does Arigeline™ really measure up? Does it do what it says it does? Here is a link to more information about Argireline™ or Acetyl Hexapeptide-3.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea is becoming very popular in skincare preparations. It has shown remarkable protection against photoaging and UV induced skin cancer, and has proven to be a safe, effective and natural treatment. Read more about Green Tea.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a natural ingredient that comes from a nut, and it has been traditionally used as an excellent natural moisturizer and skin tightener. It is commonly used in West Africa as soap. The fatty acids in Shea butter promote healthy skin.


Peptides are widely used in anti-wrinkle creams and claims to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and result in overall improved appearance of photoaged skin.

In the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, a 2005 study reported that topical palmitoyl pentapeptide resulted in significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after 12 weeks application. This was tested on Caucasian females, ages 35-55 and was double blind split face study (which means they only treated half their face and had no clue what they were applying). Its mechanism of action? Stimulation of collagen synthesis. “Wrinkles are nothing more or less than the depletion of collagen in the skin,” according to Robert Garonne, Professor of Cell Biology at Lyon University in France.

Edelweiss Extract

Edelweiss extract is a traditional herbal remedy that has been known for ages as a strong antioxidant. According to the Revitol website, scientists have also discovered this plant has UV absorbing chemicals that make it a good addition to sun block. I did not find any scientific studies to back up these claims, but Edelweiss extract is well known in holistic circles.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil helps maintain the shape and texture of the skin, working to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and limiting the effects of skin aging by maintaining fatty acid levels. It has been used for a century in the treatment of eczema. Here's a link to read more about evening primrose oil's effects on aging skin.

Almond Oil

Almond oil is widely used as a skin emollient and moisturizer. A 2007 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported that topical almond oil is capable of preventing the structural damage caused by UV irradiation and it was also found useful in decelerating the photoaging process.

Avocado Oil

Wikipedia reports that avocado oil is used in cosmetics for regenerative and moisturizing properties. It is high in monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. I could not find any studies on its use in cosmetics, but it is widely used.


Retinoids are a class of anti-wrinkle ingredients derived from Vitamin A. While retinoids have been used for years as an effective treatment for acne, use of these compounds has also emerged in the anti-aging market. Tretinoin, a form of vitamin A, has been shown to reduce the changes due to sun damage and if used long term, may reduce some fine wrinkles and age spots.

Vitamin A must be used with caution, however, as it can irritate the skin. Excessive use results in redness, dryness and peeling, and it most likely will increase your chances of sunburn. If you decide to use a product containing vitamin A, please exercise the following precautions:

  • To start, only use it on alternate nights. If you do okay, then gradually increase the frequency of application.
  • If it stings when applied, try applying 30 minutes after washing your skin.
  • Use it sparingly, and don’t get it in your eyes or mouth.
  • Always, always, always use a sunscreen of spf 30 or greater.
  • If your skin gets very red even with cautious use, then switch to a non-retinoid product. Listen to your body!!