Navigating Anti-Aging Skincare: The industry, the science, and the products

6 min read

JUL 9, 2023 - annie moberg
SKIN SCIENCE

Navigating Anti-Aging Skincare: The industry, the science, and the products

6 min read

JUL 9, 2023 - annie moberg
SKIN SCIENCE
Getting older is a privilege. Yet, in today’s youth-obsessed culture, it can feel like anything but. If you stress when you see a new wrinkle on your face or a few new gray hairs, you’re not alone. The global anti-aging market is expected to reach over $60 billion by 2026 – which means we’re all spending some serious cash in the pursuit of staying young.1 From Botox and fillers to creams that promise unbelievable results, it can feel impossible to discern real scientific breakthroughs from marketing hype.
We’re here to help. At OneSkin, we see aging differently – as a joyful experience worth embracing. While the rest of the world focuses on looking young at all costs, we go deeper: exploring the science of longevity research to prevent age-related diseases and help people live longer lives in good health. Fewer wrinkles? That’s just a bonus of healthier skin. Are you ready to see aging differently? Join us as we explore the anti-aging industry, the options available, and what you can do to actually help your skin recover from age-related damage, or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Getting older is a privilege. Yet, in today’s youth-obsessed culture, it can feel like anything but. If you stress when you see a new wrinkle on your face or a few new gray hairs, you’re not alone. The global anti-aging market is expected to reach over $60 billion by 2026 – which means we’re all spending some serious cash in the pursuit of staying young.1 From Botox and fillers to creams that promise unbelievable results, it can feel impossible to discern real scientific breakthroughs from marketing hype.
We’re here to help. At OneSkin, we see aging differently – as a joyful experience worth embracing. While the rest of the world focuses on looking young at all costs, we go deeper: exploring the science of longevity research to prevent age-related diseases and help people live longer lives in good health. Fewer wrinkles? That’s just a bonus of healthier skin. Are you ready to see aging differently? Join us as we explore the anti-aging industry, the options available, and what you can do to actually help your skin recover from age-related damage, or prevent it from occurring in the first place.
01

What causes skin aging?

All skin aging falls into one of two major categories: intrinsic and extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging is our body’s natural biological aging process which is largely controlled by our genetics. With intrinsic aging, damaged cells accumulate and collagen levels decline over time, resulting in visible signs of aging such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and loss of elasticity.Extrinsic aging, caused by mostly preventable external factors, expedites the aging our skin naturally experiences. UV radiation from unprotected sun exposure is responsible for up to 90% of extrinsic aging, inducing widespread DNA damage that leads to the accumulation of senescent cells.
01

What causes skin aging?

All skin aging falls into one of two major categories: intrinsic and extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging is our body’s natural biological aging process which is largely controlled by our genetics. With intrinsic aging, damaged cells accumulate and collagen levels decline over time, resulting in visible signs of aging such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and loss of elasticity.Extrinsic aging, caused by mostly preventable external factors, expedites the aging our skin naturally experiences. UV radiation from unprotected sun exposure is responsible for up to 90% of extrinsic aging, inducing widespread DNA damage that leads to the accumulation of senescent cells.
02

What factors influence skin aging?

Do you feel like you’re aging faster than some of your friends? You might be right. This is largely due to factors such as:Biological Sex
: While the basic structure of the skin is universal across human beings, sex hormones play a key role in determining the rate of aging. Across several studies, men have been found to have up to 30% thicker skin than women, which may help them resist signs of aging for longer. 2 Plus, hormonal changes during menopause have been found to decrease levels of hydroxyproline, an amino acid that is positively correlated with skin thickness and firmness, leading to earlier signs of aging in women.3
Skin Type:
While intrinsic aging is similar across different ethnicities, there is a strong correlation between skin tone and extrinsic aging. People with darker, melanin-rich skin are less susceptible to skin damage, skin aging, and skin cancer because melanin dissipates UV radiation from the sun. 4,5 With more protection from UV rays, darker skin is less likely to experience rapid photoaging, maintaining its integrity, pigmentation, and texture for longer.
Diet: The way you eat has a huge impact on how you age. Adequate hydration is necessary for skin barrier function, while a high protein diet with plenty of iron and vitamins provides enough energy and nutrients to maintain skin structure and prevent skin oxidation. On the other hand, a diet high in processed sugars has been linked with elevated levels of skin inflammation, a hallmark of skin aging.Lifestyle and Health:
Though a single glass of red wine at dinner may have its benefits, excessive alcohol consumption has been found to decrease skin barrier function, alter the lipid composition of the skin, and cause noticeable changes in facial skin integrity. 6 Similarly, smoking has been found to decrease epidermal thickness, alter skin pigmentation, and even cause rapid skin cell death, which increases your risk of skin cancer. 7
Environment and Pollution:
Our skin serves as a barrier between our internal and external environments. This means the skin is the first to be exposed to pollutants in our environment. Studies have shown that ozone created by cars, refineries, and chemical plants activates a class of skin enzymes known as metalloproteinases (MMPs) that break down collagen and accelerate aging. 5
02

What factors influence skin aging?

Do you feel like you’re aging faster than some of your friends? You might be right. This is largely due to factors such as:Biological Sex
: While the basic structure of the skin is universal across human beings, sex hormones play a key role in determining the rate of aging. Across several studies, men have been found to have up to 30% thicker skin than women, which may help them resist signs of aging for longer. 2 Plus, hormonal changes during menopause have been found to decrease levels of hydroxyproline, an amino acid that is positively correlated with skin thickness and firmness, leading to earlier signs of aging in women.3
Skin Type:
While intrinsic aging is similar across different ethnicities, there is a strong correlation between skin tone and extrinsic aging. People with darker, melanin-rich skin are less susceptible to skin damage, skin aging, and skin cancer because melanin dissipates UV radiation from the sun. 4,5 With more protection from UV rays, darker skin is less likely to experience rapid photoaging, maintaining its integrity, pigmentation, and texture for longer.
Diet: The way you eat has a huge impact on how you age. Adequate hydration is necessary for skin barrier function, while a high protein diet with plenty of iron and vitamins provides enough energy and nutrients to maintain skin structure and prevent skin oxidation. On the other hand, a diet high in processed sugars has been linked with elevated levels of skin inflammation, a hallmark of skin aging.Lifestyle and Health:
Though a single glass of red wine at dinner may have its benefits, excessive alcohol consumption has been found to decrease skin barrier function, alter the lipid composition of the skin, and cause noticeable changes in facial skin integrity. 6 Similarly, smoking has been found to decrease epidermal thickness, alter skin pigmentation, and even cause rapid skin cell death, which increases your risk of skin cancer. 7
Environment and Pollution:
Our skin serves as a barrier between our internal and external environments. This means the skin is the first to be exposed to pollutants in our environment. Studies have shown that ozone created by cars, refineries, and chemical plants activates a class of skin enzymes known as metalloproteinases (MMPs) that break down collagen and accelerate aging. 5
03

What happens to my skin as I age?

Noticeable changes in skin health start to appear in each decade of your life.Skin aging in your 30s:
In your 30s, you might notice that your skin looks duller and drier. This is due to a natural decrease in cell turnover, the rate at which your skin replaces old cells with new cells — from roughly every 18 days to once every 28 to 35 days. 8 Older skin cells reflect less light, leading to an increase in dullness. You might also begin to notice the first signs of sun damage accumulated in your teens and 20s. This includes wrinkles, fine lines, and dryness. 9
Additionally, most people start to significantly accumulate senescent skin cells around age 30. However, the aging process likely starts even earlier. In fact, some evidence shows that the skin becomes less efficient at clearing away senescent cells in our 20s.Skin aging in your 40s:
Wrinkles become more pronounced as the skin loses more of its elasticity in your 40s. Accumulated sun damage triggers a decrease in collagen, the primary structural protein that gives your skin firmness and bounce. Collagen production decreases by 2% every year beginning in your mid-20s, which is why most people start to notice a difference in their 30s and 40s. 10
Skin aging in your 50s and beyond:
As you enter your 50s, you may notice that your skin has become much thinner. This is particularly true for women, thanks to a significant hormone shift post-menopause. This era also marks the beginning of bone resorption, the slow degradation of our bones, which can make the skin look less taut and full. Changes in skin pigmentation due to sun damage may also become more visible. 10
03

What happens to my skin as I age?

Noticeable changes in skin health start to appear in each decade of your life.Skin aging in your 30s:
In your 30s, you might notice that your skin looks duller and drier. This is due to a natural decrease in cell turnover, the rate at which your skin replaces old cells with new cells — from roughly every 18 days to once every 28 to 35 days. 8 Older skin cells reflect less light, leading to an increase in dullness. You might also begin to notice the first signs of sun damage accumulated in your teens and 20s. This includes wrinkles, fine lines, and dryness. 9
Additionally, most people start to significantly accumulate senescent skin cells around age 30. However, the aging process likely starts even earlier. In fact, some evidence shows that the skin becomes less efficient at clearing away senescent cells in our 20s.Skin aging in your 40s:
Wrinkles become more pronounced as the skin loses more of its elasticity in your 40s. Accumulated sun damage triggers a decrease in collagen, the primary structural protein that gives your skin firmness and bounce. Collagen production decreases by 2% every year beginning in your mid-20s, which is why most people start to notice a difference in their 30s and 40s. 10
Skin aging in your 50s and beyond:
As you enter your 50s, you may notice that your skin has become much thinner. This is particularly true for women, thanks to a significant hormone shift post-menopause. This era also marks the beginning of bone resorption, the slow degradation of our bones, which can make the skin look less taut and full. Changes in skin pigmentation due to sun damage may also become more visible. 10
04

What anti-aging options are available to me?

So what can you do to keep your skin healthy for years to come? Because the skin care industry is a multi-billion dollar business, the options are endless. To begin, you’ll need to consider whether you prefer an invasive or non-invasive approach.

INVASIVE TREATMENTS

Invasive technology penetrates the epidermis to stimulate skin repair and rejuvenation. Generally more expensive than your average skincare product, these in-office procedures often require some downtime for recovery.
  • Laser therapy: Lasers emit high-energy waves that can be used to treat everything from facial wrinkles to hyperpigmentation to acne scarring. Dermatologists specialize in this type of treatment and can recommend which laser is best for your concerns. Most laser treatments will cause redness and sensitivity for at least some period of time and may require healing time of up to a month.
  • Injections and Fillers: Microinjections containing hyaluronic acid, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients have been shown to rejuvenate skin cells. Fillers, generally made from hyaluronic acid, help visibly plump and restore lost volume to the skin for a period of at least 6 months.
  • Botulinum Toxin (Botox):
    Botulinum toxin, more commonly known as Botox, is now one of the most popular anti-aging strategies. Administered via injection, botulinum toxin blocks the release of a neurotransmitter that controls muscle contractions. By preventing the muscle from contracting, Botox softens the look of wrinkles. While this can be an effective short-term strategy, Botox will not address the underlying causes of skin aging. 11

NON-INVASIVE TREATMENTS

Non-invasive anti-aging therapies include everything from lifestyle swaps to the application of topical products.
  • Daily Habits: The actions you take daily are some of the most powerful anti-aging tools at your disposal. A healthy diet and a quick rinse of your face every night to remove environmental pollutants are essential steps for maintaining skin integrity and texture for the long term.
  • UV Protection: Prevention is the best defense! Sun damage, or photoaging, is the leading cause of extrinsic aging. Daily sunscreen application, even on cold, cloudy days, helps protect your skin from premature aging caused by UV rays.
  • Chemical Peels:
    Whether used at home or performed in an office, chemical peels encourage cell turnover by removing surface layers of the skin. Benefits include a thicker epidermis, increased collagen production, improved hydration, and reduced hyperpigmentation. Risks include infection and irritation that can last for several months, depending on your skin type and the strength of the peel used. 12 Note that the stronger the chemical peel, the better off you are using it under the care of a trained professional.
  • Anti-Aging Skincare & Supplements: Topical skin care is one of the most popular tools for anti-aging. These products, which typically include ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, or retinoids, help repair and reverse signs of aging..
04

What anti-aging options are available to me?

So what can you do to keep your skin healthy for years to come? Because the skin care industry is a multi-billion dollar business, the options are endless. To begin, you’ll need to consider whether you prefer an invasive or non-invasive approach.

INVASIVE TREATMENTS

Invasive technology penetrates the epidermis to stimulate skin repair and rejuvenation. Generally more expensive than your average skincare product, these in-office procedures often require some downtime for recovery.
  • Laser therapy: Lasers emit high-energy waves that can be used to treat everything from facial wrinkles to hyperpigmentation to acne scarring. Dermatologists specialize in this type of treatment and can recommend which laser is best for your concerns. Most laser treatments will cause redness and sensitivity for at least some period of time and may require healing time of up to a month.
  • Injections and Fillers: Microinjections containing hyaluronic acid, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients have been shown to rejuvenate skin cells. Fillers, generally made from hyaluronic acid, help visibly plump and restore lost volume to the skin for a period of at least 6 months.
  • Botulinum Toxin (Botox):
    Botulinum toxin, more commonly known as Botox, is now one of the most popular anti-aging strategies. Administered via injection, botulinum toxin blocks the release of a neurotransmitter that controls muscle contractions. By preventing the muscle from contracting, Botox softens the look of wrinkles. While this can be an effective short-term strategy, Botox will not address the underlying causes of skin aging. 11

NON-INVASIVE TREATMENTS

Non-invasive anti-aging therapies include everything from lifestyle swaps to the application of topical products.
  • Daily Habits: The actions you take daily are some of the most powerful anti-aging tools at your disposal. A healthy diet and a quick rinse of your face every night to remove environmental pollutants are essential steps for maintaining skin integrity and texture for the long term.
  • UV Protection: Prevention is the best defense! Sun damage, or photoaging, is the leading cause of extrinsic aging. Daily sunscreen application, even on cold, cloudy days, helps protect your skin from premature aging caused by UV rays.
  • Chemical Peels:
    Whether used at home or performed in an office, chemical peels encourage cell turnover by removing surface layers of the skin. Benefits include a thicker epidermis, increased collagen production, improved hydration, and reduced hyperpigmentation. Risks include infection and irritation that can last for several months, depending on your skin type and the strength of the peel used. 12 Note that the stronger the chemical peel, the better off you are using it under the care of a trained professional.
  • Anti-Aging Skincare & Supplements: Topical skin care is one of the most popular tools for anti-aging. These products, which typically include ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, or retinoids, help repair and reverse signs of aging..
05

How should I choose which topical ingredients to use?

While new anti-aging ingredients are constantly making their debut on the market, there are four primary ingredient families that continue to dominate the landscape.

RETINOIDS

Retinoids are a class of vitamin A derivatives known to speed up cell turnover and reduce the look of wrinkles. Available both over-the-counter and by prescription, retinoids go by many names including retinol, retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, and retinyl acetate. Retinoids have long been considered the gold standard in anti-aging skin care because they boost collagen, soften wrinkles, and reduce the look of dark spots. These results are possible because retinoids encourage rapid cellular division in deeper skin layers. New cells replace older ones at the surface, giving skin a more youthful look. 13
Unfortunately, retinol can come with some significant downsides, including extreme skin irritation and redness. Rapidly produced skin cells are often sub-functional and cause unhealthy peeling and inflammation. 14 In fact, in a study performed by OneSkin scientists, retinol was shown to significantly increase a biomarker linked to aging (
Zonari, et al., 2023 ). This means that while retinol effectively supports collagen production, it may not actually be the best treatment for skin aging. You can read more about the research behind retinol here.

ANTIOXIDANTS

Found naturally in a range of plants and fruits, antioxidants neutralize damaging molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) that accumulate as the skin ages. UV radiation is the leading cause of ROS generation in skin cells, which has been linked to greater skin inflammation, alterations to skin pigmentation, and reduced synthesis of collagen in the dermal layer.15 Vitamin C, one of the most well-known antioxidants, effectively battles ROS build-up and can help diminish signs of aging, particularly hyperpigmentation. 16

HYALURONIC ACID

When we’re young, our skin looks glowy and hydrated. This is thanks to hyaluronic acid, the main molecule responsible for water retention in the skin. Our body’s natural stores of hyaluronic acid are mainly found in the extracellular matrix, a system of fibers that maintain skin structure. 17 As we age and accumulate UV damage, hyaluronic acid begins to break down and disappear from our skin. Daily topical application of hyaluronic acid has been found to decrease wrinkle depth and restore up to a 50% increase in skin tautness.18

PEPTIDES

Peptides are small pieces of proteins that can have huge impacts on your cells. Unlike many anti-aging ingredients, peptides can absorb deep into the skin and address the root causes of skin aging. Peptides act as signaling molecules that can help your skin cells function optimally and even intervene in age-related processes like cellular senescence. One of these peptides is OS-01, the breakthrough ingredient behind our Topical Supplements.
05

How should I choose which topical ingredients to use?

While new anti-aging ingredients are constantly making their debut on the market, there are four primary ingredient families that continue to dominate the landscape.

RETINOIDS

Retinoids are a class of vitamin A derivatives known to speed up cell turnover and reduce the look of wrinkles. Available both over-the-counter and by prescription, retinoids go by many names including retinol, retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, and retinyl acetate. Retinoids have long been considered the gold standard in anti-aging skin care because they boost collagen, soften wrinkles, and reduce the look of dark spots. These results are possible because retinoids encourage rapid cellular division in deeper skin layers. New cells replace older ones at the surface, giving skin a more youthful look. 13
Unfortunately, retinol can come with some significant downsides, including extreme skin irritation and redness. Rapidly produced skin cells are often sub-functional and cause unhealthy peeling and inflammation. 14 In fact, in a study performed by OneSkin scientists, retinol was shown to significantly increase a biomarker linked to aging (
Zonari, et al., 2023 ). This means that while retinol effectively supports collagen production, it may not actually be the best treatment for skin aging. You can read more about the research behind retinol here.

ANTIOXIDANTS

Found naturally in a range of plants and fruits, antioxidants neutralize damaging molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) that accumulate as the skin ages. UV radiation is the leading cause of ROS generation in skin cells, which has been linked to greater skin inflammation, alterations to skin pigmentation, and reduced synthesis of collagen in the dermal layer.15 Vitamin C, one of the most well-known antioxidants, effectively battles ROS build-up and can help diminish signs of aging, particularly hyperpigmentation. 16

HYALURONIC ACID

When we’re young, our skin looks glowy and hydrated. This is thanks to hyaluronic acid, the main molecule responsible for water retention in the skin. Our body’s natural stores of hyaluronic acid are mainly found in the extracellular matrix, a system of fibers that maintain skin structure. 17 As we age and accumulate UV damage, hyaluronic acid begins to break down and disappear from our skin. Daily topical application of hyaluronic acid has been found to decrease wrinkle depth and restore up to a 50% increase in skin tautness.18

PEPTIDES

Peptides are small pieces of proteins that can have huge impacts on your cells. Unlike many anti-aging ingredients, peptides can absorb deep into the skin and address the root causes of skin aging. Peptides act as signaling molecules that can help your skin cells function optimally and even intervene in age-related processes like cellular senescence. One of these peptides is OS-01, the breakthrough ingredient behind our Topical Supplements.
06

How is OS-01 different from other anti-aging treatments?

The first peptide proven to reverse skin’s biological age by preventing the accumulation of senescent cells*, 19 OS-01 addresses the root cause of skin aging to support collagen production*, minimize wrinkles, restore firmness, and visibly brighten hyperpigmentation**. Like retinol, OS-01 has been shown to increase biomarkers associated with collagen production*.19 But whereas retinol increases inflammation and aging biomarkers, OS-01 actually reduces these markers – all while strengthening skin barrier function and increasing epidermal thickness.*19 To magnify the benefits of OS-01, we’ve combined it with potent antioxidants and best-in-class moisturizing ingredients, giving you the best skin care ingredients in a simple line of Topical Supplements: OS-01 FACE, OS-01 EYE, and OS-01 BODY. With OS-01, we’re pioneering a new approach focused on addressing the root causes of skin aging rather than just the surface-level signs. With it, we hope to inspire a new era where we all embrace the aging process as a privilege, not a problem.
06

How is OS-01 different from other anti-aging treatments?

The first peptide proven to reverse skin’s biological age by preventing the accumulation of senescent cells*, 19 OS-01 addresses the root cause of skin aging to support collagen production*, minimize wrinkles, restore firmness, and visibly brighten hyperpigmentation**. Like retinol, OS-01 has been shown to increase biomarkers associated with collagen production*.19 But whereas retinol increases inflammation and aging biomarkers, OS-01 actually reduces these markers – all while strengthening skin barrier function and increasing epidermal thickness.*19 To magnify the benefits of OS-01, we’ve combined it with potent antioxidants and best-in-class moisturizing ingredients, giving you the best skin care ingredients in a simple line of Topical Supplements: OS-01 FACE, OS-01 EYE, and OS-01 BODY. With OS-01, we’re pioneering a new approach focused on addressing the root causes of skin aging rather than just the surface-level signs. With it, we hope to inspire a new era where we all embrace the aging process as a privilege, not a problem.
Disclaimers
* Shown in lab studies on human skin samples and/or human skin cells ( Zonari, et al., 2023 ) ** Shown in a 12-week- clinical study performed by a third-party research organization
Disclaimers
* Shown in lab studies on human skin samples and/or human skin cells ( Zonari, et al., 2023 ) ** Shown in a 12-week- clinical study performed by a third-party research organization
Key Takeaways:
  • Skin aging has roots both intrinsically and extrinsically. Several factors, from diet to air pollution, have been linked to overall skin health.
  • Visible signs of aging are not set in stone and can actually be controlled through your own lifestyle choices.
  • Noticeable symptoms of aging skin can become visible beginning in your 30s and progressively become more prominent as time passes.
  • While hyaluronic acid and antioxidants are great ingredients to look for in an anti-aging supplement, retinol should no longer be considered the gold standard.
  • The OS-01 peptide is the first peptide proven to reverse skin’s biological age by addressing the root causes of skin aging, not just the surface-level symptoms.
Key Takeaways:
  • Skin aging has roots both intrinsically and extrinsically. Several factors, from diet to air pollution, have been linked to overall skin health.
  • Visible signs of aging are not set in stone and can actually be controlled through your own lifestyle choices.
  • Noticeable symptoms of aging skin can become visible beginning in your 30s and progressively become more prominent as time passes.
  • While hyaluronic acid and antioxidants are great ingredients to look for in an anti-aging supplement, retinol should no longer be considered the gold standard.
  • The OS-01 peptide is the first peptide proven to reverse skin’s biological age by addressing the root causes of skin aging, not just the surface-level symptoms.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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