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How to prevent wrinkles

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
March 23, 2011 Reviewed by Marta 21 Comments

When I posted my review of ReLuma’s serum, I went out of my way to discourage anyone without wrinkles from buying it. The active ingredient is a complex of growth factors that were originally developed for wound healing. These things need something to repair and if you don’t have anything, you’d be disappointed with a perceived lack of results. It’s a rather good problem to have, but someone with good skin still needs to take preventative measures. What should you be looking for?

A good place to start is ingredients that I highlighted in a post for 30-somethings last year: astaxanthin (prevention of free radical damage), carnosine (an amino acid that extends the number of times cells turnover), teprenone (also extends cell life), and SNAP-8, a neuropeptide that  inhibits wrinkles caused by facial expressions.

Antioxidants are the most important preventative weapons. They fight the unstable molecules that attack cells, targeting those that cause inflammation. You can get antioxidants from eating blueberries, pomegranates, goji, grapes and a host of other fruits and veggies (see our new superfoods section in Beauty 360). However, the skin is the last organ to receive ingested nutrients and so a helping hand from topical applications is definitely needed even if you have an impeccable diet.

Unlike growth factors, copper, AHAs or retinol that all work to reverse existing damage, antioxidants do their work ahead of time. Continuous use should help prevent cell degradation, protect cellular membranes, defend fibroblasts, and minimize photosensitivity.

You should be looking out for the antioxidant polyphenols that exist in superfruits like pomegranate or high tech free radical scavengers such as the new active lipochroman-6. There are a few other types of antioxidants including phenolproponoids (which contain ferulic acid), flavenoids found in berries and citrus fruit, and tannins such as resveratrol in grapes. They all work on different components of the skin, so formulators recommend potions that provide a potent blend of various antioxidants. One way to get a good dose of antioxidants is to use a regular face mask, such as Tilvee’s pomegranate and acai fruit powder mask.

I often find that 30-something skin is beginning to look a little dull and needs brightening and exfoliating. So judicious (perhaps only once or twice a week) use of a cream with alpha hydroxy acids or glycolic acid will be really helpful. Take a look at Kiss My Face’s  budget–priced Peaches And Cream AHA moisturizer and La Vie Celeste’s lovely glycolic mask.

Talking of La Vie Celeste, just about any of this natural products’ line would be worth investing in, especially the cleanser.  Also look for some of the newer products from Your Best Face – as always, they have cutting edge ingredients, but formulated for younger or less damaged skin. Some of them, including the Refresh eye cream and Antioxidants Concentrate can be sampled in a trial kit that has been exclusively packaged for Truth In Aging. For makeup and skincare, 30-somethings will like 100% Pure. The color cosmetics use fruit pigments and the 100% Pure Potent Mushroom Concentrate is a favorite of our regular reviewer, Kim.

  • January 30, 2013

    by Wendy

    Hi -
    This thread has been so interesting and helpful - thanks so much to all for taking the time to write us, especially Noel. I am wondering if anyone does at home glycoliic peels at 30% - I just did a series of about 6, every two weeks, once a month at first. What do you think of this - maybe not necessary while using retinoids? I am currently using Avene Triacneal. I am going to check out the products you mentioned! Thanks again.

  • October 29, 2011

    by Ana

    Hi Noel,

    Thank you so much for all the information, I am truly grateful for it. I in fact have Dr. Denese's Retinol Max and after I use it up I will try the Pete Roth Thomas Retinol that you recommend and say is more effective. My question pertains to the order in which you layer these products. After cleansing (and exfoliating if necessary) would you then put Dr. Denese's WrinkleRx Extreme pro peptide gel first followed by Peter Roth Thomas retinol fusion serum. I just read Dr. Denese's site and she suggests starting off with the product that contains water as the first/ or main ingredient. Do you agree with that? Kindly advice. Thanks so much.

  • June 27, 2011

    by NoeyD77

    Hey Talia-I forgot to address your question on Paula's Choice! I never tried any of her products, though they seem well formulated. My choice, though probably not to, though probably not the wisest is the fact that I just don't take Paula Begoun seriously and her reviews. How can a product reviewer be impartial when she is selling her own skin care line? Additionally, it seems as of late that her reviews of products are becoming more sarcastic and negative which ascertains her self-serving agenda. Plus she reviews products based on INDIVIDUAL ingredients, not as a whole, which biochemically speaking one shouldn't do. She has lessened the scientific data in her reviews and increased the sarcastically negative tone in her reviews.

    A couple years back she was soooo anti-retinoil, now she is a complete advocate. She currently slams stem cell technology and peptides, but lets see if that changes when she brings out a peptide/stem cell serum! She rates ALL of her products with the highest regards!

    If a product of hers landed on my lap I would indeed give it a whirl, but I just wouldn't purchase any.

  • June 27, 2011

    by NoeyD77

    Hey Talia! If you're still around I LOVE niacinamide! I rank that ingredient up there with Vitamin C! Using that with tretinoin and 10% glycolic acid, hon you really can't do much more topically for your skin! Thats a powerful regimen you have going on!

    I as well use some form of RX retinoid, either Atralin/Refissa/Retin A/RAM/Tazorac. One thing though is that I switched from Nia24 to the fairly newly reformulated Strivectin. I heard that Nia24 bought them out, though I'm not certain about that. It contains 8% of Nia-114 which is there "version" of niacinamide, plus its less expensive since you can get value sets on QVC.

    Regardless opf any other products I use, I will FOREVER use a RX retinoid of some sort (prob Atralin), a vitamin c serum, a niacinamide product, a glycolic pad of at least 10% glycolic aciud and and a physical sunscreen!

  • May 19, 2011

    by Ann

    Hi Talia, Your skin sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing. What skin type do you have? And also, would you mind sharing the brands you are using in terms of the alpha hydroxy peels you are doing along with 10% glycolic acid? Many thanks

  • May 18, 2011

    by Talia

    Noel, what do you think of paulas choice resist line? All of her ingredients are backed by peer reviewed research. I also have been using nia24 and love the skin strengthening complex. The 5% niacinimide, along with my tretinoin and 10% glycolic acid has transformed my skin. Nutraluxe makes an awesome 15% vitamin c with no preservatives or stablilizer (in an non-aqueous base) for $20. These are some of my favorites...

  • May 15, 2011

    by Sunday

    The main reason we all LOVE this site is because of different opinions and ideas and THAT is a good thing. When someone posts a favorite product, or disagrees with an article or comment, THAT is still a good thing for all of us!!! Noel do keep commenting, your situation is right for someone...not for me (I'll never use retinols again)...but for others who can relate to your situation. I do not think Jana comments were negative, just not in alignment with your ideas...THIS is still a good thing for all of us. Our common sense should dictate our final decisions and well my final decisions are usually based with an older age set, who are pre menopausal and have leopard spots and the beginnings of jowl sag...I'll leave it at that lol...oh and crows feet, ok NOW I'm stopping

    Your passion is strong and believe me we like that, well I like that. Just sometimes we want to know if its is backed by credentials or not...hell by the time your my age, 43, you'll be able to claim 15+ years of trial and error and believe me life experience are credentials in my book...but some of us know retinols are not the way to go, the end result isn't pretty or in your case handsome...just my opinion!

  • May 15, 2011

    by Noel

    Hello Jana-I actually typed a very lengthy response to your post but at the last moment opted not to post it. The manner in which you addressed me is blatantly negative and I don't participate in such activity.

    The reason I am so obsessed with skincare and why I talk about it to everyone is fairly simple. When we feel good about our appearance, it makes life's daily
    stresses just a little bit easier to deal with.

    Since I've graduated in 2001, I've worked in finance, which not only forced me to hide my true identity but also caused me to be the recipient of hate. I recently left the financial world and am now freelancing. If you are truly interested in my educational background, or clarification on anything I have written, feel free to email and I will be more than happy to share. But please address me in such a negative fashion. I'm a really nice lovable guy who adores skincare!

    Talia, Susan, Anne and all the others, thank you very much for allowing me to share my current faves with all of you. If any of you beauties have a moment, I
    would love to hear some of your personal faves as well!

  • May 15, 2011

    by Justd

    Jana, as a novice in this field, and by no way do I mean to disparage what Noel wrote or shared, but I thank you for what you wrote and for what I believe is intended by it. I depend heavily upon what others state and write about themselves here to help me make the wisest decision I can, based on subject matter that I have had no prior knowledge or experience with, prior to joining the TIA community. For this reason I appreciate the genuine intent of your statement, it helps others, like me, to find some addied confidence in what is being shared by all of us here. Thanks.

  • May 15, 2011

    by Jana

    Sorry to be the fly in the ointment but I have been reading this thread with growing unease as the days pass. So, I'm going to give my 2cents worth. I agree with everyone that Noel is certainly passionate. Noel, I also am not disagreeing with your choices of skin care products. In fact, I've used a particular PTR product in the past and had good, although not fantastic, results. What I am concerned about is that you, Noel, claimed several times to have a "scientific background," however, you failed to give credentials.

    Further, in your second post you refer to silicones: "That 'smooth as glass' feeling that comes from most creams and some serums are almost always due to dimethicone (silicone) which is actually not moisturizing at all, but they simply just hold in whatever moisture is present underneath."

    I agree with you about silicones in products, however, the ingredients in the two retinol products you recommend both contain silicones:
    Ingredients for Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM
    Cyclopentasiloxane, Squalane, Retinol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheral, Water (Aqua), Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Lechitin, Bisabolol, Alcohol.

    Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone and is the first listed ingredient in PTR.

    Dr Denese - Wrinkle Rx Extreme Pro Peptide Gelc Super Size | $91.20


    Water, Cyclomethicone, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Glycereth-26, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Retinol Palmitate/Carrot Polypeptide, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caproyl Tetrapeptide-3, Tripeptide-1, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-11, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Euterpa Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture (Botanical Stem Culture from Plant Stem), Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Dimethicon/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Astaxanthin, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Lecithin, Dextran, Butylene Glycol, Guanidine HCL, Lysolecithin, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Sodium Bisulfite, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

    Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, and Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone are just a few of the silicones in the Dr. Denese product.

    I also am not disputing the good results you've seen with any of these products, Noel. Skin care is certainly a personal choice and each person has to find what works for them. However, someone with a "strong" scientific background surely knows that "pod ash" is simply "pot ash" or LYE, which indeed has been used for centuries as the basis of soap. See, for example, or or

    Moreover, in your first post you stated: "Again totally IMO, since this website is called Truth In Aging, products that carry heavy scientific research behind them, i.e. sunblocks, retinoids, retinols and AHA’s should be emphasized, not peptides and even more so, stem cell products!"

    Then, in your second post, you seemed to reverse your position and stated: "Besides the amount of stable vit c, Dr. D’s serum also contains stem cell biology and SEVEN peptides at the level HIGHER in which their manufacturer’s state is effective! Use this product for one night, you will definitely see change."

    Again, I am not disputing the results you've seen with these products. But I am questioning your claim of "scientific knowledge" while not presenting credentials to back up those claims. One purpose of TIA is for its readers to share their experiences with various products, which you and I both have done. Like you, I am a "skin care addict." I also am a researcher, like you, who investigates ingredients in the products I buy. And, although I have a Ph.D., I am not a scientist nor a person with a "strong scientific background," yet I still know lye when I see it. If you make claims and influence others, I would appreciate that you at the least present your credentials. If, instead (and like me), you are a skin care addict who is familiar with quite a number of ingredients, then please identify yourself as such. We each have a responsibility to this community and to ourselves to full disclosure.

    I do not intend for this post to be disparaging of you, Noel. I simply am asking that you clarify your statements. Thank you.

  • May 15, 2011

    by Ann

    Noel, Thanks a million for your comprehensive response and also for you sharing your HG products. Based on your knowledge I will now order some of these products. Ann

  • May 15, 2011

    by Susan

    Noel, your input is fantastic, as is your energy. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.
    Your passion is believable; therefore, I will take a look at PTR Retinol Fusion.

  • May 14, 2011

    by Talia

    Noel, thanks so much for your post. I agree with you 100% on prescription retinoids and vitamin c. I've been using trentinion for over two years (I'm 37) and the difference between my skin and my friends is night and day. My mom has used it for 21 years and she looks 10 years younger than her friends. I also use Paula's choice Resist Antioxidant in the morning, mixing it with .25 grams of ascorbic acid. I added Nia24 to the mix about six months ago and think its amazing. Woman will literally come up to me and ask me how they can get skin like mine. I also do frequent alpha hydroxy peels along with 10% glycolic acid 4 times a week. It's nice to find someone else giving kudos to these amazing ingredients. They do work.

  • May 14, 2011

    by Noel

    Hello Ann! I forgot to address your eye cream question! I am admittedly a hypocrite regarding eye creams. See my comment under the post The Five Best Eye Creams. But I choose to ignore the scientific knowledge I have and continue to buy them since I'm a skin care addict!

    I have 2 HG eye creams. The first is 100% Pure's Coffee Bean Eye Cream. I have NEVER been so unbelievably shocked over a product as I have been with this!!! I bought this on impulse because there was a great buy one get one deal on QVC. When I started to use it, I had ZERO expectations on getting any results because I have learned that organic products do not contain high concentrations of the actives necessary to make a difference. I was just hoping that it moisturizes. Very very very much to my surprise, this eye cream not only moisturized extremely well, it tighten the appearance of the eye area. If I lacked sleep, which is an often occurrence, I simply apply this cream and within about 15 minutes the puffiness is gone! I naturally have droopy eyelids, and apply these on my lids and it tightens them. Its is screamingly obvious when I use this eye cream vs when I don't.

    I now know that this eye cream contains high levels of caffeine, which is the reason behind the firming and tightening affects I have experienced. Caffeine, like DMAE is one of those ingredients that lean towards the instant gratification side. The eye cream does have good amounts of antioxidants so I know its helping in the long run.

    I have tried many other eye creams with caffeine. I have found that Dr. Denese has this eye product in a roller ball thing that contains the highest amount of caffeine, I can't recall exactly the percentage but its around 15%. While the tightening affect with that product is better, actually its crazy, its nowhere near as moisturizing. Thats is why 100% Pure's Coffee Eye cream is my HG eye product. It moisturizes, tightens, firms and brightens better than any other eye product I have used and possesses the science to back up the ingredients as well. Plus its only $20!!!!

  • May 14, 2011

    by Noel

    Hello Anne! I will be honored to share my HG products with you. Remember I have VERY few HG since the criteria in which a product must suffice is near impossible.

    I discovered my HG cleanser fairly recently! Its is Shea Terra's Lemon Grass Black Soap Elixir. Its fairly cheap at $20 a bottle. This cleanser is amazing and the results are DRAMATIC! The results are driven by the fact that this cleanser contains a large amount of pod ash. For some strange reason, most american brand cleansers do not contain ash, but every where else in the world does. It may be listed as either ash, coal, charcoal etc. Ash/charcoal has been in cleansers for hundreds of years. Almost all asian brand cleansers contain ash/charcoal because it works. It prevents and dries up acne almost immediately. It causes cellular turnover which gives the skin an awesome glow! The only downside about it, is if you have dry skin this will exacerbate it so just use a moisturizer afterwards. There is a reason why AUTHENTIC African Black Soap is en vogue right now, because the results are insanely dramatic!

    I haven't found a HG neck cream simply because I haven't found used all that many. I'm 33 yrs old so obviously I do not have sagging next skin. I do however have neck rings, and I have had them sine I was a child. I probably got then because I was sadly a fat kid! Anyway I know for a scientific fact that those etched in neck circles can not be erased, but superior hydration can lessen their appearance. Due to the limited experience with neck products I can rec any. What I personally do is use some form of RX retinoid underneath my latest fave night cream Un-Wrinkle and I have noticed that the circles are less noticeable.

  • May 11, 2011

    by Jina

    Noel, thanking you for sharing your scientific knowledge and experience but from my understanding aren't retinols detrimental to the skin long term causing sensitivities and redness which most of us it seems are battling. Do you experience any of these? Also I have read that mens skins are much thicker and perhaps can take more punishment from some harsh products. Look forward to more of your knowledge for example what do you think about led light therapy?


  • May 11, 2011

    by Ann

    Noel, Thanks for sharing with us some of your products that have reached "HG status". Fascinating reading. Can you recommend any cleanser, eye cream and neck cream that have reached "HG status". Thanks, Ann

  • May 11, 2011

    by Noel

    Hello Susan!

    I would be happy to share my favorite products. Remember, the determining factor in which I choose to dictate my skin care product purchases is based on my scientific knowledge. My education is in the field of science so the amount of scientific knowledge that I have is strong. I applied my education to the world of beauty products! The following is my personal skincare philosophy, which again is based on actual science, NOT marketing.

    Remember, REGARDLESS of what anybody says, retinoic acid products, i.e. Retin A, Tazorac etc are the ONLY products to be scientifically proven to work against aging. Retinol is to retinoic acid what Advil is to Morphine.

    Stick to serums!!! Creams are the MOST misleading and scientifically false products in existence! At best, they can moisturize! In order for any ingredient to be effective, it must be absorbed in to the layers of the skin. The deeper the ingredient can be absorbed, the more efficacious the ingredient will be. The molecular weight and viscosity of facial creams can not permeate the skin layers deeply enough, so I leave creams to moisturize only!

    Remove the misconceptions and falsehoods that advertisers push on us. Skincare products should NOT feel good! In fact, the more negative feeling a product, the more effective it is. If a skincare product feels good, that is due to moisturization at best. That "smooth as glass" feeling that comes from most creams and some serums are almost always due to dimethicone (silicone) which is actually not moisturizing at all, but they simply just hold in whatever moisture is present underneath.

    To make Holy Grail (HG) status in my book, a product MUST provide measurable results. That criterion alone is why I have VERY few products that are holy grail status for me!

    My HG otc retinol product is Peter Thomas Rothes Retinol Fusion serum. It contains the 2nd highest amount of Retinol on the market at 1.5% (NCN being the only other product that has 2% but they are a questionable company IMO). The Retinol Fusion is awesome because the retinol is suspended in a very moisturizing base, which dramatically reduces the negative side effects that retinol is associated with. Dr. Denese's RetinolMax serum, I recently found out contains 1.2% retinol, which is very close to PTR's serum. Dr. Denese's retinol serum also contains peptides and is also very moisturizing, but sadly has quite a bit of silicone in it as well. I have tried both and I have found PTR's to be more effective.

    A Vitamin C serum is MANDATORY in my book. Vitamin C ranks 2nd only to retinoids in the world of skincare ingredients that has the scientific studies to prove the benefits. The studies about every single ingredient other than those 2 pale in comparison. The product should be in an airtight pump to prevent oxidation and should contain documented high levels of several forms of vitamin c, with either MAP or SAP as the form of vitamin c as the highest amount. I simply am not aware of any product that suffices this criteria than Dr. Denese's Wrinkle RX Extreme gel, which is a POWERHOUSE by both marketing standards and scientific standards!!! A very very very rare occurrence! This serum contains a whopping 15% vitamin c multiple stable forms, in an airtight container that costs $90+ for 3.4 oz!!! Check out the cost alone in any other vit c serum and look at the cost, the ingredients and the packaging!!! Besides the amount of stable vit c, Dr. D's serum also contains stem cell biology and SEVEN peptides at the level HIGHER in which their manufacturer's state is effective! Use this product for one night, you will definitely see change.

    I can continue but I already write too much. Just let me know if you want to know more!!!

  • April 11, 2011

    by Susan

    If you're still around, would you tell us which products are your favorites? Which products do you think have the best anti-aging properties?

  • April 11, 2011

    by Mar

    Does a product exists that contain all the above mentioned ingredients?

  • April 8, 2011

    by Noel

    Hello all,

    Totally IMHO, and I mean TOTALLY, I disagree with the overall theme of this column. A little info about me, I'm a 33 year old male. I'm a product junkie to the extreme, so extreme that I have yet to meet anyone who even comes close to rivaling my collection! My experience with different products run deeply!

    I used to have many issues with my skin as many here have/had but I noticed a significant change in my skin after 30. Although I obviously agree with the antioxidant portion of this column, I have to state that this column should be geared towards 20 somethings or even younger. 30 somethings IMO should place heavy emphasis on both mechanical and chemical exfoliation. I'm aware Marta, that you do not recommend this but I just have to disagree with all the science about exfoliation out there.

    But the most significant omission in this article was that of using the mandatory skincare product that is a prescription retinoid. Again, I'm aware this is yet another area Marta does not recommend. I just can't grasp the concept of a skincare website named TIA that does not promote the use of either Tretinoin or Tazarotene, the only 2 substances that scientifically NOT clinically proven by U.S. researches to provide anti-aging benefits! Every single other product in existence other than physical based sunblocks are based on clinical research, where bias always intervenes, either to prove or disprove the efficacy.

    Again totally IMO, since this website is called Truth In Aging, products that carry heavy scientific research behind them, i.e. sunblocks, retinoids, retinols and AHA's should be emphasized, not peptides and even more so, stem cell products!

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