As we age, our skin can start to show signs of wear and tear. Sun exposure, wrinkles, dark spots, and acne can all be common issues that arise. Fortunately, there are a number of chemical treatments available that can help combat the signs of aging. From sunscreen to retinoids to vitamin C and more, there are a variety of options to choose from.
In this article, we'll explore the best chemical treatments for aging and how they can help you maintain a youthful complexion. Sunscreen is one of the most important products you can use to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Not only does it help prevent sunburns, but it also helps prevent wrinkles and dark spots from forming. Sunscreen comes in both physical and chemical varieties, and today's formulas are much more lightweight and easy to apply than in the past. Be sure to check out SELF's guide to sunscreen for more information. Retinoids are another popular anti-aging treatment.
Retinoids are naturally occurring forms of vitamin A, and they work by accelerating the skin's natural cell renewal process. This helps address problems such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and acne. Retinol is the most common form of retinoid found in over-the-counter products, but it's important to note that these products are regulated as cosmetics rather than medicines, so you can't be sure what you're getting. Retinol can also cause irritation when first used, so if you experience this you may want to try products with retinal or bakuchiol instead. Prescription medications such as tretinoin (Retin-A) and isotretinoin (formerly Accutane) are also forms of retinoic acid that can be used for anti-aging purposes.
These drugs are more potent than over-the-counter options, so they can cause more severe side effects such as dryness, peeling, itching, and tenderness. Be sure to moisturize well when using these medications and always wear sunscreen. Vitamin C is another popular skincare ingredient that acts as an antioxidant to counteract free radical damage. It can also be used to lighten dark spots over time. However, it's important to buy vitamin C products that come in opaque packaging that protects it from degradation.
Vitamin C also comes in varying concentrations, so effects and side effects such as irritation can vary greatly between products. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to have anti-aging benefits such as reducing free radical damage and lightening dark spots. It is often touted as a natural alternative to retinol with fewer side effects or irritation. Niacinamide is not available on its own by prescription but can be combined in many other topical recipes. Salicylic acid is another popular skincare ingredient that is often used for acne treatment but also has exfoliating powers that make it a good choice for managing signs of aging. It is oil-soluble which allows it to penetrate deeper into greasy pores than other chemical scrubs.
It may also increase collagen production. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is often used in peels, tonics, pads, cleansers, and creams. It works by dissolving the bonds between skin cells which helps reduce hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. The concentration of glycolic acid in the product will determine its effectiveness.