Active ingredients against human epidermal aging

Ageing Res Rev. 2014 May:15:100-15. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


The decisive role of the epidermis in maintaining body homeostasis prompted studies to evaluate the changes in epidermal structure and functionality over the lifetime. This development, along with the identification of molecular mechanisms of epidermal signaling, maintenance, and differentiation, points to a need for new therapeutic alternatives to treat and prevent skin aging. In addition to recovering age- and sun-compromised functions, proper treatment of the epidermis has important esthetic implications. This study reviews active ingredients capable of counteracting symptoms of epidermal aging, organized according to the regulation of specific age-affected epidermal functions: (1) several compounds, other than retinoids and derivatives, act on the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes, supporting the protective barrier against mechanical and chemical insults; (2) natural lipidic compounds, as well as glycerol and urea, are described as agents for maintaining water-ion balance; (3) regulation of immunological pathogen defense can be reinforced by natural extracts and compounds, such as resveratrol; and (4) antioxidant exogenous sources enriched with flavonoids and vitamin C, for example, improve solar radiation protection and epidermal antioxidant activity. The main objective is to provide a functional classification of active ingredients as regulatory elements of epidermal homeostasis, with potential cosmetic and/or dermatological applications.

Keywords: Active ingredients; Aging; Epidermis; Skin; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / immunology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / immunology


  • Antioxidants