After we pass 25 our skin starts ageing, not only skin but the whole body. Horror! We are not even close to half of our life but we are already ageing. The process of ageing is very complex. But it is up to us whether we speed it up or slow it down. We vote for slowing it down, how about you?

What is ageing?

Ageing is a genetically caused process, where degenerative (decompositions) changes take over the regenerative (building) changes. Very simply imagine taking apart lego cubes faster than building them back. If we are consistent we will break down all the cubes. And the same goes for the skin if we don’t take care of it properly. Besides the genetics, hormones also play a role in ageing. First there are morphological changes, only after that we start seeing visible changes.

First let’s take a look at morphological changes

Changes happen in more skin layers. In epidermis there are some subtle changes, meanwhile dermis is going through more intense changes. Changes don’t happen overnight, and especially not all at once. When you are in your 30’es some changes are happening in your upper skin layers, and very little is happening in deeper skin layers.

Changes in epidermis

  1. Lower water content in stratum corneum – leads to drier skin
  2. Lower number of the cells, especially melanocytes and corneocytes (cells become bigger and have troubles replicating)
  3. Longer cycle of skin renewal, which is normally 28 days long (bigger keratinocytes are harder to remove, the result is rougher skin)

Changes in dermis

Of Course changes in your 30. are not so drastic as in your 50., but something is still happening.

  1. Thickness of dermis is constantly decreasing (1% per year)
  2. Skin elasticity is decreasing due to lower content of collagen and elastin
  3. Lower amount of glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid
  4. Lower number of sebaceous and sweat glands

Consequnce of thinner dermis, lower amount of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid is occurence of small fine wrinkles. Especially between the eyes and between nose and mouth.

There is more than one type of ageing. Photoageing can be slowed down.

Photo Ageing is the type of ageing that is influenced by external factors, most commonly UV light. Smoking, wind, polluted air aid as well. Photoageing speeds up the chronological ageing. Run for your life, ok kidding.

Photoageing is connected with increased amount of radicals (ROS), that are formed in the body because of the increased production or inability to remove them. Radicals damage proteins, lipids and DNK.

This type of ageing makes more obvious changes

  1. Faster thinning of dermis and lowering the amount of collagen
  2. Damage in stratum corneum and changes in skin barrier
  3. Higher and faster enzyme activity – matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) starts to function. This enzymes affect the integrity of extracellular matrix. MMP decompose components of the matrix (collagen, elastin) and lower the skin firmness and elasticity. This enzymes are activated under the UV light.

The most obvious signs of photoaged skin are deep wrinkles, occurence of hyperpigmentation, changes in skin texture, extended capillaries and teleangiectazii. There is a possibility of cell proliferation and occurrence of tumors.

As we see photoageing affects the chronological ageing and this process can be slowed down.

Active cosmetics for slowing down the skin ageing

Slowing down the ageing can be done in more ways. The most common are:

-acceleration of moisture

-acceleration of peeling

-stimulating synthesis of collagen and elastin

-substituting hyaluronic acid

Here are one of the most important cosmetics active ingredients that we use for slowing down this process. Antioxidants are important as well.

Retinoids

Retinoids are natural or synthetic ingredients. They are derivates of all-trans retinoic acid or vitamin A. They are famous for their anti-ageing effects. Not only they regulate growth of epitel cells and their differenciation, but they also normalize the process of keratinization. Are the effects visible? Yes, the skin is smoother and wrinkles look smaller.

Tretionin (all-trans retinoic acid) is a golden standard. Clinical studies prove it’s effectiveness already at very low concentrations. Tretionin stimulates formation of collagen, reduces hyperpigmentation and reduces skin roughness. BUT, it is prohibited for use in cosmetic products. So, back to the beggining.

In cosmetics manufacturers use retinol that thickens epidermis. Studies show increasing amount of proteins and collagen in the skin. It is safe in concentrations up to 1%. To get the maximum effect on the skin it needs to convert to retinoic acid, but for this effect higher concentrations are needed.

There are also other forms of vitamin A like retinylpalmitate, retinylacetate, retinal and other much less effective forms.

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Boost of moisture

We already discussed all about cosmetic humectants. As moisturizers we can also use hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA, PHA). Fun fact that many people don’t know about is that hydroxy acids don’t only possess a exfoliating effect, but also a moisturising one. In low concentrations they stimulate renewal of epidermis, influence the collagen synthesis and have a moisturising effect.

For moisturizing we can also use hyaluronic acid, that binds the mass of water, that is 1000x bigger than her own mass. Penetration in the skin depends on the molecular mass.

How about lightening pigmentation marks?

The golden standard for treatment of the sunspots is hydroquinone, that is forbidden in Europe. But we can always use the alternatives such as azelaic acid, kojic acid, arbutin and other ingredients that inhibit enzyme tyrosinase, that takes part in melanin synthesis.

The most important step you can take is to protect your skin with everyday use of sunscreen. Even if there are clouds and snow outside. UV rays are always there.

Did you know that vitamin E is so unstable that it may not remain in the product/formulation? Probably his “working age” is gone before using a product. In this blog post we’ll ˝give˝ you vitamin E with all its advantages and disadvantages.

The basics about vitamin E

First, let’s look at the basics, even though we already know them. Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Antioxidant is any substance that, at low concentrations, reduces or prevents the effects of radicals. The main purpose of vitamin E is to delay or prevent the oxidation of sensitive compounds in the product. It provides defense against reactive oxygen compounds. If we don’t provide protection against reactive oxygen compounds, the cosmetic product can decompose and cause premature aging or/and DNA damaging.

We already have explained antioxidants and radicals in a post about vitamin C, if you have any doubts go to the post, to make clear, what we are talking about.

Unlike vitamin C, tocopherol is a lipid-soluble vitamin. It acts as a free radical catcher in lipophilic parts of the cell. Effective antioxidants are usually unstable because they are highly reactive. Vitamin E is for example very sensitive to UV light. So if we aren’t careful enough and we don’t store it in dark packaging, there is a chance that it will no longer be ˝successful˝ in the tasks that it has by the time we need it.

What types of vitamin E exist?

First, we can differ between tocopherols and tocotrienols. They differ in the application and percentage, which is allowed to be incorporated into a cosmetic product. There are four different forms of each: α, β, γ, and δ. So in total 8 different forms of vitamin E.

SortTocopherolTocotrienol
Role in cosmetic productsAO, smoothing, maskingStabilizer, in oral hygiene products, skin smoothing
% allowed in cosmetic products5,4%0,12%

What positive features does vitamin E show on the skin?

• smoothes fine wrinkles caused by photo ageing

• humectant

• after application the skin is softer and smoother (smoothing effect)

• few side effects because it forms a part of our body (if we add it to the skin, it recognizes our body for its own)

• accelerates wound/scar healing

• inhibits inflammation

• reduces damage caused by UV light

• protects our skin against harmful chemical substances

In cosmetics it’s used in concentrations from 1 to 5%. Normally we use vitamins E esters because they are more stable and better soluble in formulations. For example, tocopheryl succinate and tocopheryl acetate are the most used. Tocopheryl acetate is allowed in products up to 36%. Tocopheryl acetate has another good property it’s not phototoxic. What does that mean? If the substances are phototoxic, it means that if we go to the sun, the sun will burn us even more and leave the consequences for a longer period of time.

Natural presence of vitamin E?

Tocopherol is found in seeds, fruits and latex. Oils with the largest amounts of vitamin E are: oil of pomegranate and sea buckthorn oil. It’s also found in sunflower, peanut, walnut, sesame and olive oil. Palm oil is one of the richest sources of tocotrienols and it’s also found in coconut oil, cocoa butter and soy. However in cosmetic products we need to add extra amounts of vitamin E, since its content in oils isn’t sufficient to provide a good antioxidant role.

The permanence of vitamin E dependents on the fatty-acid composition of the oils (especially unsaturated fatty acids – those with double bonds, which can be oxidized very fast).

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How do we isolate it?

Tocopherol is isolated from vegetable oils (natural tocopherol). Tocotrienols can be isolated from the vine and oats. Alternatively, it can be obtained by other synthetic methods.

How does vitamin E come to cells?

Do you remember when we mentioned keratinocytes (epidermis cells) in skin composition? Well, vitamin E is also stored in keratinocytes, which are moved while the process of keratinization to the surface of the skin. So vitamin E ˝travels˝ with them. Another possible way is that vitamin E comes on the surface of the skin with sebum, since vitamin E is also secreted by the sebaceous glands. Why did we complicate things?

The activity of sebaceous glands begins to decrease after 50 years in women and after 70 years in men. And what do we usually do if something is running out of our body? Yeah, let’s help our body. The application of vitamin E shows positive effects for our skin and that’s delayed aging. Of course, it doesn’t prevent it, just to be clear.

What about metabolism?

α-tocopherol incorporates into lipoproteins (VLDL), these allow the distribution of this form of tocopherol over the body. Other forms pass into the bloodstream and are rapidly metabolized and secreted from the body. That’s why in skin can be found a lot higher amounts of α-tocopherol and very small amounts of γ-tocopherol.

Vitamin E is another indispensable ingredient in the cosmetics industry. Manufacturers incorporate it in oils and butters to prevent their oxidation. It can also be a MUST in your skincare routine, now that you know its positive effects, we believe that you will at least consider including vitamin E in your routine.