The “anti-aging” segment of the beauty industry has long thrived on promising solutions to age-related skin concerns like wrinkles, dark spots, and under-eye circles after they’ve taken up residence on your face. But as any dermatologist will tell you, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And as savvier consumers have begun prioritizing efficacy in caring for their body’s largest organ, they’re looking for more than just the standard SPF and antioxidants (the gold standard for staving off the stamps of time caused by oxidative stress from the environment) to keep their skin healthy as they age. In 2022, this has paved the way for a new crop of “skin longevity” products that work to improve your skin’s health and function at the cellular level.
One of these functions that slows as we age is autophagy, a regular biological process in which our body’s cells break down any dead or damaged cell parts. This cellular “cleanup,” which happens in all of the body’s organs and tissues, allows our cells to work as they should. When this process slows or declines, that cellular debris accumulates, leading to cellular dysfunction or disease. What does this all mean for your skin? Autophagy allows your skin to carry out its main jobs of acting as a protective barrier, regulating your body’s temperature, retaining moisture, and more. Visible signs of these processes diminishing are the wrinkles, dryness, sagging skin, and dark spots associated with aging.
Research has found that certain topical ingredients like caffeine and antioxidantscan help kick autophagy into high gear. Accordingly, brands are increasingly seeking to harness the longevity-boosting powers of these ingredients in new products. Acaderma and Herb+Flora launched autophagy-stimulating serums this year and Olay’s new Vitamin C + Peptide 24 line, which came out in September and saw multiple products (the eye cream and serum) sell out within five days of launch, lists a proprietary autophagy-stimulating niacinamide complex as one of its hero ingredients (we wouldn’t be surprised to see that same complex included in future formulations—hint hint).