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There is a never-ending supply of cosmetic products to choose from, each with a full list of ingredients that will supposedly benefit your skin. The average consumer tends to buy skincare products based on 5-star reviews, recommendations or effective marketing, yet do you really know what’s best for your skin? 

Let’s face it, skin aging is inevitable and the sooner you protect your youthful skin, the better. Skin aging is caused by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. One of the predominant intrinsic factors is a reduction of collagen which naturally occurs as you age. Extrinsically, skin aging is accelerated by factors such as sun overexposure which breaks down collagen resulting in an increase in wrinkles and loose, saggy skin. Preventive measures such as daily application of sunscreen can benefit your skin to reduce the effects of the sun and save your collagen. In addition, preventative measures such as eating an antioxidant rich diet will reduce the damaging effects of free radicals and will help to protect your healthy skin cells and mitigate collagen loss.

Luckily, there are other factors that will improve the production of collagen in your skin and repair the damage caused either by intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Below are 7 of the most effective ingredients that you want to look for in your skincare products and take as a supplement to maintain tight, smooth and youthful-looking skin.


Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant derived from microalgae. As a powerful antioxidant, it combats oxidative stress protecting cells from damage and reducing the breakdown of collagen. One study shows that daily supplementation and topical application of astaxanthin improves wrinkles, skin elasticity, skin texture, moisture of the skin and age spots in as little as 8 weeks. 

Dietary sources of astaxanthin include shrimp, crab, trout and wild-caught salmon.

In addition to looking out for astaxanthin as an ingredient you can take it as a supplement as well. Astaxanthin supplements provide anti-aging benefits because they enhance the appearance of skin.

Get it: Astaxanthin Supplements or Dr. Mercola Astaxanthin

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that is popular in skincare products due to its anti-aging effects. It slows down intrinsic aging and reduces photodamage. Age-related declines include a decline in mitochondrial function which is worsened by reactive oxygen species. CoQ10 is able to defend against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species which increases mitochondrial function, maintains healthy skin and combats skin aging from the cellular level. Topical application of CoQ10 can reduce premature akin aging because it improves mitochondrial function in skin in vivo.

CoQ10 has been shown to increase the proliferation of fibroblasts in addition to collagen. Fibroblasts are key players in anti-aging because they help to generate collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin in the skin.

Getting the recommended amount of CoQ10 can be achieved with a nutrient rich diet including dietary sources of oily fish such as salmon and sardines, organ meats, whole grains, and one of the best vegetable sources is spinach. It is fat-soluble so it is beneficial to take with meals including fat to maximize absorption.

Get it: Coenzyme Q10 Supplements

Copper Tripeptide-1 (GHK-Cu)

Copper tripeptide-1 helps to regenerate skin, heal wounds, improve elasticity, firmness and thickness of skin and reduce photo damage and uneven hyperpigmentation. Copper tripeptide-1 additionally reverses thinning of aged skin and protects skin from sun exposure. 

One study showed that using copper peptides in combination with a micro-needling dermaroller provided better results to heal acne scars compared to not topically applying copper peptides.

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a popular ingredient in cosmetics for its anti-aging effects.

One randomized clinical study showed that a facial gel containing DMAE improves aging skin by reducing wrinkles on the forehead and improving lip shape and fullness after only 16 weeks. Improvement in the appearance of aging skin was additionally perceived by under-eye dark circles and the firmness and looseness of neck skin. The researchers concluded that DMAE is both safe and efficacious because it did not cause adverse effects when topically applied.

Dietary sources of DMAE include sardines, anchovies and wild-caught salmon.

Get it: DMAE Supplements


Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid that is highly concentrated in citrus fruits. As a strong antioxidant it protects your skin from cellular damage and helps to repair damage. It offers a variety of skin benefits including wound healing, UV protection, skin lightening, and possesses skin cancer fighting compounds. Hesperidin has also been shown to reduce varicose veins.  

Dietary sources of hesperidin include citrus fruits such as lemons and sweet oranges.

Get it: Hesperidin Supplements


You may have heard of resveratrol, the polyphenol found in red wine which is recognized for its anti-aging properties. It is a potent antioxidant that provides long-lasting benefits because of its ability to penetrate the skin. 

Resveratrol protects skin collagen degradation caused by the sun and is a skin lightener. Resveratrol is also a phytoestrogen which may provide the skin benefits of estrogen without the risk. This is a suitable substitute instead of getting estrogen replacement therapy which is conducted to mitigate collagen loss and improve the appearance of aging skin. 

According to one study from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, “resveratrol provides a multi-mechanistic approach that makes it a remarkably promising agent for the treatment of various skin aging symptoms.”

Dietary sources of resveratrol include grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, cocoa, blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries.

Get it: Resveratrol Supplements


Retinol is yet another antioxidant, a form of vitamin A that helps to boost collagen, by increasing collagens lifespan and protecting collagen from damaging enzymes. Topical application of retinol improves wrinkles that occur naturally from aging and increases moisture in the skin. Additionally, retinol helps to repair premature aging caused by sun damaged skin. 

Dietary sources of retinol (active form of vitamin A) include animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods.

Get it: Vitamin A Supplements

Maintaining youthful-looking skin is achieved by supporting cell proliferation and collagen production. These 7 skincare ingredients and supplements are safe and efficacious to do just that. Whichever skin care products you choose, if you see these ingredients listed on the label you know you’re in good hands. Eating an antioxidant rich collagen diet, getting a good night’s sleep and limiting your skin’s direct exposure to the sun will serve your skin cells well.

Recommended Product

One of my favourite serums contains 4 of these 7 skin care ingredients. I am not affiliated with Alitura Naturals, I just recommend it as a great product.

Get it: Alitura Naturals Gold Serum

  • Organic Alfalfa-derived Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • GHK-Cu (Copper Tripeptide-1) 
  • Astaxanthin 
  • Marine Collagen
  • CoQ10