Cutting-edge ingredients to smooth out signs of aging

With so many face-savers out there, you may feel like you need an advanced degree in chemistry to navigate the beauty aisle. While no beauty cream will give you back velvety, flawless newborn skin, several ingredients can help restore youthful texture and smooth out fine lines—here we round up six of the most promising.

"The idea of all these ingredients is that they’re going to help reverse the signs of aging that occur in the skin, minimizing redness, brown spots, fine lines and wrinkles," says New York City dermatologist Doris J. Day, M.D., author of Forget the Facelift. "They help your body repair itself and replenish faster."

Look for the following age-defying solutions:


What it is: "It’s one the most potent antioxidants," says dermatologist Bruce E. Katz, M.D., director, Juva Skin and Laser Center in NYC and director of the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Clinic at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "It’s shown to have twenty percent higher antioxidant potency, neutralizing free radicals and taking away damaged skin cells." Idebenone is an amplified version of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a substance—present in virtually every cell—that helps restore and refresh skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

What it is: An antioxidant. "Alpha lipoic acid is an important player in cellular energy," says Dr. Day. "It affects the mitochondria [the energy-producing factory of the cell] and improves cell metabolism so cells stay fresher longer." The result of all of this, she says: Cells are more productive and have a longer lifespan.


What it is: An anti-irritant. Because irritation has been found to age the skin, caffeine applied topically plays an important role in safeguarding skin from premature aging. It also helps enhance the effect of sunscreen, says Dr. Day.


What it is: A redness diminisher. Nicomide plays a role in reducing redness in the skin, which is helpful for those with rosacea, sensitive skin or spider veins.


What it is: "Pentapeptide is a strand of five amino acids that was discovered in wound healing research to regenerate damaged skin," explains Lauren Thaman, global director of Procter & Gamble Beauty Science. Pentapeptide is used in beauty products to renew the skin’s outer layer by accelerating newer cells’ rise to the surface, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving skin condition.

Yeast extract

What it is: Potent extracts of yeast. Topical application disperses globules of melanin, diminishing intensity of brown spots.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 23 Aug 2010

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2014