Powerful Ingredients for Younger-Looking Skin

If you're like many women, you probably find it hard to consume the daily recommended servings of all your fruits and veggies. Popping a multivitamin every day can be an easier way to get your fill of nutrients that are essential for good health.

Think of the following product recommendations as healthy supplements for your face — they're chock-full of glow-boosting ingredients that will instantly give you a healthier-looking complexion. That's because applied topically, vitamins and minerals are powerful anti-agers. Look for these ingredients on your skin care labels for brighter, younger skin.

Vitamin C

Found in citrus fruits, vitamin C doesn't just fend off colds — it also stimulates fibroblasts, which help make wrinkle-reducing collagen, says Jeannette Graf, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Additionally, vitamin C helps fade pesky brown spots by inhibiting tyrosine, an enzyme necessary for melanin production.

But not all forms of vitamin C are equal. "The skin only absorbs l-ascorbic acid," notes Graf, so be sure to check the label before purchasing a product with vitamin C. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid, which boosts collagen synthesis and increases skin firmness, contains l-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin has been used in medications for years to treat psoriasis because it helps ease inflammation — and now it can be found in the skin care aisle. "Vitamin D works to modulate the control of skin cell growth, inhibits skin cell proliferation, and calms the immune system," explains Eric Schweiger, MD, a New York City dermatologist.

To reap the soothing skin care rewards, try Dr. Dennis Gross Active Vitamin D Serum-Oil, infused with other anti-aging ingredients like ferulic acid, retinol, and CO-Q10.

Vitamin A

This highly effective anti-aging vitamin — which comes in forms including over- the-counter retinols and prescription retinoids — is as close as you'll get to the Fountain of Youth in a bottle. "It's the only topical that's FDA-approved to treat fine lines and wrinkles," says Schweiger. "Vitamin A corrects epidermal atrophy, which is thinning of the skin, making it a little thicker. If I had to pick one topical [ingredient], this would be it."

Retinols can be irritating (especially when you first introduce them into your regimen), so start out with a gentler formula, like RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream, which is specifically formulated for those with sensitive skin.


Although it's most well-known as the ingredient in milk that bolsters bones, calcium also has major skin benefits. "Calcium regulates cell turnover by stimulating certain enzymes, giving you plumper skin," says Graf. Calcium also helps improve skin barrier function, which protects your skin against invading pathogens and locks in moisture. People with dry, fragile skin in particular benefit from calcium-rich skin care products.

Let your skin drink up Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream, featuring calcium, copper, and apricot kernel oil to smooth lines and soften skin.


Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is found in lots of foods including green veggies. It's a hydrating, repairing agent that improves skin barrier function and helps produce ceramides. "I can't overstate the importance of barrier function — it's the door to your house," says Graf. What's more, it also fights acne. "Niacinamide helps soothe redness and improves acne scarring," says Alex Khadavi, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California.

Find this skin-strengthening, breakout-busting ingredient in CeraVe Facial Moisturing Lotion PM, which works overnight to repair skin and soothe redness.


Research shows that applying copper peptides promotes collagen and elastin production, both of which act as firm, foundational layers of the skin. "If you don't have copper, you don't have collagen," says Graf of the spongy material vital to a youthfully plump complexion.

To turn back the clock on your skin, try Neova Créme de la Copper, an intensely moisturizing treatment that lessens the signs of free-radical and UV damage.


While zinc's greatest skin care achievement is wound-healing, the zinc oxide found in physical sunblocks is one of the most effective sun protection ingredients on the market. "Zinc oxide is even better than titanium dioxide because it has a wider spectrum of sun protection," explains Khadavi, who adds that new micronized versions are more easily absorbed. In other words, you can avoid that white-nosed lifeguard look while still effectively shielding your skin from the sun.

Protect yourself from UV rays by applying EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, which also doubles as an anti-ager thanks to the hyaluronic acid and vitaim E found in the formula.

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