The anti-aging skin care field has boomed, with hundreds of new products being introduced to the market on what feels like almost on a daily basis. This has resulted in what we may call “skin care overload.” People have become overwhelmed and confused by the countless number of ingredients we are told are necessary for anti-aging. It has become impossible to access and apply even a fraction of these ingredients due to the cost and time involved. We feel compelled to buy multiple products every month and layer them on in order to do the most for our skin. But, as we fill our medicine cabinets with creams and serums, we are faced with the daily questions of which shall we use, which are safe and which actually work?
It has been long overdue that the various categories of anti-aging and the anti-aging ingredients themselves be ordered and categorized so that a comprehensive approach to anti-aging may be put into place. Firstly, there are many features to skin aging and people will show one or more features over time, but may differ in the features of skin aging that plague them. For example, some people develop sagging or laxity to the skin due to genetic factors, but may have little or no sun damage. Others may be covered with sun spots but have no sagging or wrinkling. The following is a validated classification scheme which allows for each clinical feature of skin aging to be assessed separately on a 4-point grading scale (mild, moderate, advanced, severe):
Classification of Skin Aging:
Solar elastosis (Yellowing)
Abnormal growths (keratoses).1
This classification scheme of skin aging includes a severity scale as mentioned above (0=None, 1=Mild, 2=Moderate, 3=Advanced, and 4=Severe) which allows researchers or users to rank each individual person’s skin aging according to feature and severity. This scale was shown to be very useful in testing anti-aging treatments and has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.1 Older scales tended to lump different features together into broad categories, which became less useful as treatments became more specific in targeting various facets of skin aging; for example as anti-pigment or anti-redness or anti-wrinkle. With this current anti-aging scale, our anti-aging products may be quantitatively tested to determine which individual categories of skin aging they treat and how effective they are in each category. This also allows us to hone our anti-aging regimen to our needs and to compile or group the ingredients in each category that are most effective so as to cover all categories of anti-aging in a logical manner.
The next challenge was to classify the plethora of anti-aging ingredients on the market based on the features of skin aging that they targeted or treated. I then created a classification scheme of the categories of anti-aging targeted by the ingredients that have emerged over the past decade:
Anti-Wrinkle – DNA Defense – Barrier Fortification
Anti-Redness – Cellular Restore – Emollient/Moisturizer
Anti-Brown Discoloration – Damage Reversal – Pro-Skin Thickness
Anti-Oxidants – Aging Repair – Re-Texturize
With this classification scheme, we can appreciate why people have become so overwhelmed and why they have accumulated shopping bags full of skin creams in order to meet their needs! Nevertheless, as anti-aging ingredients have emerged targeting each of these categories, ideally one would want to incorporate the best ingredients of each category in a single daily regimen to optimally treat skin aging.