Do Anti-Aging Creams Work? Argumentative Essay Samples

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Skin, Vitamins, Acid, Study, Aging, Protection, Security, Tort Law

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2021/01/01


Aging is the process of growing older with time showing the effects of declining health. It is one of the highly studied topics in the field of biology. In order to overcome this problem, antiaging compounds have been studied. In these compounds, retinoids are found to have potent antiaging effects on the skin. They can help in reducing fine lines and wrinkles in the form of creams or oral products. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) such as citric, glycolic, malic, lactic, tartaric, and pyruvic acids are found to decrease the calcium level, thereby improving the appearance of skin. Antioxidants are helpful in reducing the deterioration as a result of free radicals, thereby avoiding damage to cells. They are also helpful in inhibiting the inflammation and give protection from photo-damage and skin cancer. Antioxidants including vitamins such as vitamin B3 and vitamin E, cofactors and peptides are also found to have important role in removing the problem of aging. However, these compounds are not showing results that can be considered as final. So, this paper deals with all the important points and related concepts for further studies.


Retinoids are used to modify the spread of melanosomes. They are of various types that can help in giving protection against aging. Retinoic acid (also referred to as “Tretinoin”) is found to have potent activity against the signs of aging, such as stains and fine lines, but it is important to use this compound with caution as it can result in adverse effects such as burning and stinging. Retinol, which is biologically active form of vitamin A, is applied on skin. It shows a small amount of retinoid-like action as compared to the topically applied retinaldehyde as well as retinoic acid. It has also shown antioxidant action. Retinaldehyde, which is an intermediate compound produced during the alteration of retinol into retinoic acid, has also been found beneficial in decreasing the problem of wrinkles.
Other than topical retinods, some information has also been found on the use of cosmetic vitamin A compounds, including retinyl propionate and retinol. Usually, retinoids are very strong, so they can show significant effect in the dose of less than 1% on the surface of body parts. Studies have shown that retinol as well as retinyl propionate showed significant effect in decreasing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and facial wrinkles. Retinaldehyde in the dose of 0.05% is also found to have clinically effective results. Retinylpalmitate has low potential of irritation but also show decreased efficiency, even at high concentration, i.e. dose of about 2% is required to produce an effect.
The selection of retinoid may help in decreasing the irritation of the skin. Retinol works better on skin as compared to trans-retinoic acid; retinaldehyde shows the same level of irritation as retinol, whereas retinol esters show better effects as compared to retinol.
It has to be considered that the safe use of retinoid in child-bearing women need further studies, as the safety in their case is still controversial. Oral retinoid can show teratogenic effects, and this can create a problem in the prescription of topical tretinoin. Disturbed function of ear in a baby that was born to a woman, who was using tretinoin cream, has been reported in a study. However, in a research of over 200 women using topical tretinoin in the initial stages of pregnancy, major congenital disturbances have not been found. Presently, it is considered best to prohibit young women from using topical retinoids during different stages of pregnancy or at the time of becoming pregnant. Further studies are required to confirm the absorption of the compound and the extent to which it can be absorbed.
Topical retinoids are also added as antioxidents in sunscreens, but this is controversial as retinoids are unable to give protection from ultraviolet rays and they are unable to block these rays, although they may show beneficial effects on scavenging of free radicals. Retinylpalmitate, an ester of retinol, is also thought to have some antioxidant properties. It has been added in some sunscreens to decrease the chances of skin cancer. However, it is not an active sunscreen or sunscreen preservative.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

AHAs include citric, glycolic, malic, lactic, tartaric, and pyruvic acids. Their mechanism of action is poorly illustrated, but according to one hypothesis, AHA could decrease the concentration of calcium ions in the epidermis that can result in the promotion cell differentiation and development, therefore producing skin with younger appearance. On the other hand, its action is considered advantageous for the photo-aged skin as it causes a decrease in the corneal layer, modulates the cohesion of stratum corneum, and induces the dermal as well as epidermal thickening by the increase of dermal glycosaminoglycans, in addition to improving wrinkles and lines, and elevating collagen density.
AHAs in increased amounts are helpful in exfoliation of the stratum corneum, permitting its rejuvenation, leaving the smooth skin with fewer stains. However, the use of these compounds in high concentration is controversial as they can cause adverse effects such as skin erythema, and these adverse effects can be increased with increased concentrations. AHAs can also aggravate the problem of skin photosensitivity.


Antioxidants are helpful in reducing the deterioration as a result of free radicals, thereby avoiding damage to cells. They are also helpful in inhibiting the inflammation and give protection from photo-damage and skin cancer. Antioxidants include L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), α-tocopherol, niacinamide (B3 vitamin), and ubiquinone. As topical applications of sunscreens are unable to provide full protection from UV damage, antioxidants have been included in the formulations for protection from sun’s rays.
A novel concept of nutricosmetics has also been introduced in the recent years. The term nutricosmetics refers to any substance that is either a food or a component of food giving medical and/or health benefits such as the prevention and treatment of illness. In this case, most important claim is that of antioxidant and antiaging effect with the help of nutricosmetics that can help in decreasing wrinkles by working against free radicals developed by sun’s rays. However, greater attention is required in this subject especially in clinical studies and federal regulations.

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)

ALA has anti-inflammatory properties and can work as exfoliant, thereby decreasing the roughnes, and wrinkles, but it is not able to give protection from UV damage.

L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

Vitamin C is commonly used in topical formulations as they can increase the synthesis of collagen and antioxidant property. It helps in giving protection from UV radiation. Some authors are of opinion that the use of topical Vitamin C in improving fine lines, and decreasing pigmentation has not been supported by reliable clinical data. Others have shown that these formulations are ineffective on the skin as they have very low concentration of L-ascorbic acid. Some studies have also shown that L-ascorbic acid molecule is not effectively absorbed and/or metabolized by the skin.
One issue in the inclusion of ascorbic acid to cosmeceuticals is that it is inherently unstable in formulations and intact molecules can stay on the skin. Though chemical modification of ascorbic acid through the process of esterification of the hydroxyl group has partially solved the problem; it must be available in the form of L-ascorbic acid for optimal use by the skin. Most of the stable forms that are commercially available have not been studied for the conversion of the modified form to the L-ascorbic acid form or extent of penetration through the skin. One study showed that L-ascorbic acid can optimally be delivered to the skin at a pH of less than 3.5 and at a concentration of less than 20%. That study revealed that ascorbyl-6-palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and dehydro ascorbic acid (which are other derivatives of ascorbic acid) on daily application are unable to enhance the levels of L-ascorbic acid in the skin, thereby making their use controversial in improving the aged skin. In the present times, it is considered as important to recommend L-ascorbic acid for treating the problem of photoaging, as it has shown clinical efficacy without any serious side effects. On the other hand, there are no clinically controlled trials in the support of more stable derivates of ascorbic acid commonly present in cosmaceuticals.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has moisturizing as well as antioxidant property. It is found to have topical action protecting the skin from damaging effects of UVB radiation. It can produce synergistic effects along with Vitamin C as it can help in regeneration of oxidized Vitamin E.
In contrast to oral Vitamin E, use of topical Vitamin E has been considered safe with minor adverse reactions such as slight irritation. However, further studies are required in determining the effects of vitamin E in improving discoloration, skin wrinkling, or texture. Many products are available in the market, but scientific studies are scarce regarding the penetration and bioavailability of any specific form of vitamin.

Ubiquinone or idebenone (CoQ10)

Idebenone, obtained from co-enzyme Q10, is a potent antioxidant capable of stimulating the production of collagen. It can inhibit the oxidative stress produced by UVA and UVB rays. Very few studies are showing the efficacy of 1% CoQ10 cream in wrinkle improvement.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3)

Niacinamide is one of the well-tolerated and potent antioxidants. Research is showing the significant reduction of wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. It can also help in improvement of skin elasticity.
Topical niacinamide has shown a range of cosmetic effects. It can improve skin color, decrease hyperpigmented spots, and red blotchiness. Relatively high doses of vitamin B3 (2%-5%) are used to get these effects as the skin is highly tolerant to niacinamide even in long-term use, so high doses can be used. Myristoyl-nicotinate in the topical doses of 1%-5% can also be used to get similar results.
One of the most important tasks in the use of niacinamide and nicotinate esters is the hydrolysis of these compounds into nicotinic acid, which can result in flushing response even at low doses. In order to avoid this problem of hydrolysis, it is better to formulate the product in the pH range of 4-7.


Peptides are formed from amino acids and work as cellular messengers. Conflicting opinions have been found whether peptides are better than moisturizers or not. However, they are considered as the important compounds in future.
Peptides are present in many cosmetic products, but due to little information and conflicting results in the literature, they must be used with extreme caution.

Concluding Remarks

Aging is the process of growing older with time showing the effects of declining health. It is one of the highly studied topics in the field of biology. Scientists are working hard to reduce the problems related to aging. They have developed many strategies in order to overcome this problem of aging. Many of these are therapeutic strategies such as the use of pharmaceuticals in the form of creams and oral drugs, and many of these are related to natural treatments or preventions such as nutraceuticals and nutricosmetics. Retinoids are among the most important compounds found to have antiaging effects. Vitamins such as vitamin B3 and vitamin E are also showing antiaging effects especially on skin. Peptides and certain cofactors are also found to have antiaging effects. These compounds can work alone but in some cases their combination can show better therapeutic effects against aging. However, it has to be considered that most of the studies are not showing the perfection of results against aging phenomenon. Large scale clinical trials are essential regarding the use of every compound against aging.

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