Presently, there are at least eight topical products that are scientifically proven—beyond a doubt—to improve the appearance of your skin.
If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you know that I’m never one to hold back from sharing the latest and greatest high-performance science.
I love to dive deep into the scientific literature—and then summarize the findings to make the key takeaways simple and accessible for you.
This way you won’t have to spend hours perusing the scientific journals, like I tend to do (thanks PubMed.gov)!
Skincare Products that are Actually Evidence-Based
As mentioned, below are eight skin care products that are scientifically proven to improve aging skin and enhance skin health.
Given that your skin is your single largest organ, here’s how to “biohack” it so you can truly look your best.
These are vitamin A derivatives that help stimulate collagen production, smooth out wrinkles, and even out skin tone. They are available in over-the-counter and prescription forms.
Retinoids are a class of compounds that are derivatives of vitamin A. They are commonly used in skin care products to improve skin health due to their ability to:
- Increase collagen production: Retinoids stimulate collagen production, which helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.
- Speed up cell turnover: Retinoids help to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, allowing new, healthy cells to be revealed. This can help to improve the appearance of acne scars and other blemishes.
- Unclog pores: Retinoids help to unclog pores, which can help to reduce the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.
- Improve skin texture: Retinoids can help to improve the overall texture of the skin, making it feel softer and smoother.
- Reduce inflammation: Retinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce redness and swelling associated with acne and other skin conditions.
Overall, retinoids are an effective treatment for improving skin health and addressing a variety of skin concerns.
2. Hyaluronic Acid-Rich Products
Hyaluronic acid-rich products improve skin health in several ways and they have been extensively studied within the scientific literature.
Presently, there are over 4,100 research articles published about the role of hyaluronic acid in skin health.
Benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin health include:
- Hydration: Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that helps to retain moisture in the skin. When applied topically, it helps to keep the skin hydrated and plump.
- Anti-aging: Hyaluronic acid helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by filling in the spaces between collagen fibers and elastin.
- Healing: Hyaluronic acid has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, which helps to repair and rebuild damaged skin tissue.
- Protective: Hyaluronic acid helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors such as pollution and UV radiation.
- Soothing: Hyaluronic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in reducing redness and irritation in the skin.
To summarize, the use of hyaluronic acid-rich products can improve the appearance, texture, and health of the skin while providing hydration and protection against environmental stressors.
3. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a type of chemical exfoliant that helps to improve skin health by removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
While not as commonly studied as hyaluronic acid within the scientific literature, the role of alpha hydroxy acid in skin health has been explored in over 800 research articles to date.
Acting as exfoliants, AHAs help to remove dead skin cells and smooth out the surface of the skin. AHAs include glycolic acid and lactic acid.
AHAs are also known to improve skin texture and tone by increasing cell turnover, which promotes the production of collagen and elastin. These benefits can help to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin, giving it a smoother, more youthful appearance.
AHAs are used in a diverse range of skin care products, including cleansers, toners, and serums.
4. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)
Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is a type of exfoliant that is commonly used to improve the health of the skin. It works by breaking down the bonds between the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, allowing them to be easily removed. This helps to unclog pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.
BHA is also an anti-inflammatory agent, which means it can help to reduce redness and irritation on the skin. It can also help to reduce the production of excess oil, making it effective for people with oily or acne-prone skin.
In addition to these benefits, BHA is also able to penetrate deeper into the pores than other types of exfoliants, making it effective at removing impurities and excess sebum from within the pores. This can help to prevent the development of blackheads and whiteheads, and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.
Overall, BHA can help to improve the health of the skin by exfoliating and unclogging pores, reducing inflammation and redness, and controlling excess oil production.
Salicylic acid is the most widely known BHA.
5. Antioxidants, particularly Vitamin C and E
Antioxidants include vitamins C and E, as well as plant-based substances like green tea and resveratrol. (Because of the extensive research conducted on resveratrol, is is covered in more detail next).
Antioxidants help protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors like pollution and UV radiation.
Specifically, they improve skin health by neutralizing harmful free radicals that can damage the skin cells and cause inflammation. They also help boost collagen production, which helps to keep the skin looking youthful and firm.
Additionally, antioxidants can help to protect the skin from UV radiation and other environmental stressors, which can cause premature aging and skin damage. Overall, incorporating antioxidants into your skincare routine can help to improve the appearance and overall health of the skin.
Resveratrol is so important to skin health that it deserves its own section, even though it was just mentioned above as as an antioxidant. To date, 194 clinical trials have been conducted in human patients to explore the therapeutic effects of resveratrol.
Resveratrol has been shown to have a number of potential benefits for skin health, including:
- Antioxidant effects: Resveratrol has powerful antioxidant properties that can help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. This can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as prevent the development of new ones.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Resveratrol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation in the skin, which can help to reduce redness and swelling.
- Collagen production: Resveratrol has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which is a protein that helps to keep the skin firm and elastic. This can help to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Sun protection: Resveratrol has been shown to have some protective effects against UV radiation, which can help to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
- Hydration: Resveratrol has been shown to improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture, which can help to keep the skin hydrated and healthy.
Overall, resveratrol can improve the appearance and health of the skin by providing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and collagen-boosting effects, plus offering some protection against UV radiation and helping with hydration.
While this approach to skin health isn’t particularly exciting, as is effective. Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation, and with regular use, can prevent common signs of aging.
Sunscreen improves skin health by protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. These rays can cause sunburns, skin cancer, and premature aging of the skin. Sunscreen works by creating a barrier on the skin that absorbs or reflects the UV rays, preventing them from penetrating the skin and causing damage.
In addition to protecting the skin from UV rays, sunscreen can also help improve skin health by hydrating and nourishing the skin. Many sunscreens contain ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and moisturizers that can help keep the skin healthy and hydrated.
8. Peptides, like OS-O1 (Decapeptide-52)
If you’re looking to go a little higher tech, then look no farther than the peptide OS-01. Known among scientists as decapeptide-52, this unique peptide was discovered by the founders of the company OneSkin after five years of R&D work. These founders were the Ph.D. scientists, Dr. Alessandra Zonari and Dr. Carolina Reis Oliveira.
OneSkin’s skincare products are designed to nourish and protect the skin using the proprietary peptide, OS-01. It is first peptide to be confirmed in clinical studies to reduce the skin’s “biological age” by preventing the onset of cell senescence. Senescence is the process by which cell age and stop dividing.
The OS-01 peptide is included as the key ingredient in all of OneSkin’s topical products. In addition, OneSkin’s face and body lotions also include other ingredients that are known to nourish, hydrate, and protect the skin.
One of these is hyaluronic acid (mentioned above), which is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps to keep the skin hydrated and plump. It works by attracting and retaining moisture in the skin, which helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and give the skin a more youthful appearance.
Another active ingredient is Vitamin C, which was also mentioned above because it is powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from environmental damage and free radicals, while stimulating collagen production.
OneSkin lotions also contain plant extracts and essential oils, that include aloe vera, green tea, and tea tree oil, which have a variety of skin-nourishing and protective properties. In combination, these ingredients help to soothe and calm the skin, reduce inflammation, and improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.
Products that are Proven to Promote Healthy Aging
It’s important to keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products can vary depending on your specific skin type and concerns. Use these products as directed and to follow a consistent skincare routine for best results.
I’d also recommend consulting with a dermatologist or other skin care professional for personalized recommendations.