Getting old is unavoidable. We know the obvious signs, our hair turns grey, joints begin aching and wrinkles slowly creep onto our faces. The body is less obvious. Nothing works as well as it used to.
Organs start to slow down and don’t work as well as they used to. We lose muscle mass due to decreasing levels of growth hormone and testosterone and we just wish we could be 25 again.
Nowadays people try anything to stop the process in it’s tracks and anti-ageing pills are a part of this.
What are they?
People claim that it is a magical pill that will help you to look younger instantly. It’s all well and good saying that but where’s the proof? How do we know it works? Maybe they can’t turn back the hands on the clock but they could help slow down the process.
The companies that create the pills say that it is possible to reset the body’s hormonal clock, erasing wrinkles and raising energy levels. They’re mainly advertised towards women over the age of 40 as that is when most changes start happening to the body. These sorts of supplements must be combined with a healthy lifestyle to work effectively.
They contain antioxidants, which have had many claims about the effects over the years, which are often found in fruits and vegetables. Examples of these are vitamin C and E, selenium, lycopene and beta-carotene. Said to protect cells from damage caused by organic compounds called free radicals. It explains why people who eat more fruit and veg seem to have fewer illnesses.
There are supplements that are suitable for different conditions such as laxity (Sagging), rhytids (wrinkles), categories of photoaging such as erythema (redness), dyspigmentation (brown discolorations), solar elastosis (yellowing) and ketatoses (abnormal growths).
Do they work?
There’s a lot of skepticism surrounding these kinds of products, with many people saying that they are a rip off. Most brands say there is clinical evidence but we can never see the studies for ourselves, we just have to have faith and believe what they are promoting.
Not many of the products have been proven to work or give lasting or major positive effects. For example, there are so many anti-aging wrinkle creams, but in reality it has been proven that the best ones only reduce wrinkles by less than 10% over 12 weeks, which is not noticeable to the human eye. Some cheaper brands even worked better than the more expensive ones.
Some people say that what we put into our bodies affects the outside, which is why some people say that pills are better than face creams as they get to the source of the problem. By swallowing a tablet, the nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the gut wall, reaching all of the skin.
Dr Daniel Sister, a French cosmetic doctor and anti-ageing specialist who developed Youth, a food supplement says:
Face creams don’t work as they don’t penetrate deep enough to generate a real physiological change…Your skin is a reflection of what’s happening on the inside, so a healthy diet is important.
What does the evidence suggest?
There are studies that have found antioxidants to have benefits.
But now they are saying that taking supplementary C and E vitamins can switch off the body’s ability to protect itself against disease and damage, increasing the risk of premature death. Could prevent us from benefiting from exercise. They are key to the multi-million-pound anti-ageing beauty industry. Could even make ageing happen at a faster rate. The free-radicals break down cell’s protective membranes and damage the DNA inside. This is thought to make cells age faster.
California-based Buck Institute for Research on Ageing published a study that suggested that free radicals are essential for skin healing and healthy regeneration in people under 50. The Study’s lead author Dr Michael Velarde, said that it seems that nature has harnessed their powers to ‘optimise skin health.’ It suggests that we need to challenge our cells to remain robust and test them for later on in life. Much like in a workout, to keep your muscles strong.
Michael Ristow, a professor of energy metabolism at the Swiss Federal Institute of Techonology in Zurich, found that we create free radicals when we work out intensely. This makes us have better defences against the free radicals, strengthening our cellular defences.
What do they contain?
Anti-ageing creams usually contain ingredients such as:
- Retinol: reduces fine lines and pores.
- Epidermal growth factor: made of 53 amino acids to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production in the skin.
- Fatty acids: designed to maintain skin moisture and seal in other moisturising agents within the cream.
- Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs), beta hydroxyl acids and other chemical peels: help to dissolve the intracellular ‘glue’ that hold the dead cells together on the skin.
- Peptides: such as acetyl hexapeptide-3
- Coenzyme Q10
- Anti-oxidants: protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals.
- Sunscreens: high level of UVA protection is needed to delay the process of wrinkles.
- Vitamin C: one of the most effective and commonly included ingredient in wrinkle creams, known to help the healing process.
It all depends on the concentration and mode of application, sometimes it is recommended to use a combination of ingredients to combat side effects that some will produce. For example, AHAs can make the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun, so sunscreen is recommended.
What are the side effects?
Dietary supplements aren’t regulated as much as medications, which means it may not always do what it says it will on the box.
For example, the supplement Co-enzyme Q10 which is a popular anti-ageing supplement. It is a naturally occurring nutrient that is present in all cells and is highly concentrated in the energy-intensive cells of the heart. But it has side effects such as dizziness, fainting, allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhoea and gastrointestinal conditions.
HGH, the Human Growth Hormone, is said to reduce body fat, build muscle, protect cells and improve skin tone and quality. The side effects are high blood pressure, joint pain and facial bone growth in some cases. Can lead to irregular heart beat, high risk of diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Always check with your GP before you take any kind of supplement.
Some people say that traditional moisturizers or sunscreens would be just as beneficial as some anti-aging creams. Exfoliation helps to deep clean your skin and tighten pores, and it is advised to do so every so often.
A healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fats and has healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre is recommended. Have lots of fruit and vegetables to get antioxidants the natural way, as it is best for our bodies.
Learning how to manage stress will help people live longer and healthier lives. Try to use meditation, yoga etc. to keep calm and balanced. Exercising regularly can reduce the risk of many illnesses and help you feel better as you get older. You’ll have mobility and enjoy being able to still get out and do stuff.
Nothing will stop you from getting older, it’s inevitable, but you can make it easier and not as harsh.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.