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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

All Anti-Aging Creams Are Not Created Equal

by Olga Ingram and Lana Finley

Even though people use expensive brands of over-the-counter skin products, their skin issues often do not improve, and many women feel that there is just no hope to stop their skin from aging. Unfortunately, skin care today is too focused on “revealing new skin” by continuously using retinol, acids, peels and scrubs to file away the surface cells and expose the new skin cells underneath. What that does, ironically, is exhaust the skin cells’ ability to divide and produce new, healthy cells. Eventually, this process stops working because the T-cells can only divide so many times. After that, it just does not matter what moisturizer, serum or other anti-aging product we use—the skin is exhausted and ages more rapidly.

Instead of peeling away skin layers, we can go the opposite way and feed the skin nutrients that it needs to better support collagen. But not with acids, silicones and other chemicals; give it some lipids and moisture and it will do wonders. Lipids are used to support collagen fibers in our skin, much like a good-quality mattress is supported by lots of filling. Research shows that once skin is given the nourishment and moisture that it needs, collagen levels rise dramatically in all age groups, and that includes 80-to-90-year-olds. There are three conditions that must be met for an anti-aging product to really work.

First of all, the active ingredients must be able to penetrate the skin surface and reach deep into the derma, where the cells can absorb them. Many natural ingredients, including oils, are unable to do so on their own. Their molecules are too large, so they just sit on top of the skin. Like train cars without a locomotive, they must be attached to a molecule that will ensure “safe passage” through the cell membranes. That’s why it is not enough to just use coconut or other oils on the skin.

Secondly, the product must be fresh when it gets to the client. It must not contain ingredients that could oxidize all the valuable active ingredients. Natural skin care that contains water or glycerin as first or second ingredient has too much oxygen for anything of value to survive and be effective. This free oxygen reacts with everything very quickly, and such products are rendered ineffective before they ever leave the store shelf. Instead, water should be encapsulated inside the lipid molecules (cupuacu butter is the best source of encapsulated water), so that it has a chance to make it to where the skin cells can actually use it.

Thirdly, the product must be 100 percent chemical-and preservative-free. There are very few truly natural preservatives that humanity has been using for centuries—sugar, vinegar, salt and a handful of others. Usually, if there is no water or glycerin in the product, it won’t need preservatives either, because nothing will mold in the absence of water. Look for products that use only active ingredients, with no fillers.

Olga Ingram and Lana Finley are co-owners of Golden Phae Cosmetics, in Sandy Springs. For more information, visit

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