Ingredient advances are one of the most exciting areas of skin care today. Like drug development, these technologies filter down to over the counter products due to the lucrative nature of the industry. People will spend exorbitant amounts of money to look younger.

There are many new ingredients that we estheticians get excited about. There are also many highly touted, yet worthless ingredients.

The most promising ingredients of the last several years are stem cell technologies. However, this category has many worthless products. Stem cells are embryonic " master" cells that can mimic any cell in the body. They actually " unlock" the cell nucleus and stimulate the cell to perform more effectively. Most currently used stem cells are harvested from adipose, or fat cells. Hence the cost involved in formulating them is high. You will never find an effective stem cell serum for under $100. They are manufactured in laboratories that usually formulate drugs.

Also, there are stem cell creams available which cost upwards of $800! These often contain Apple stem cells, which are not functional, as they do not contain the exosome of the stem cell. If Kim Kardasian uses the Guerlain stem cell cream, it's not giving her her beautiful skin. Her skin is most likely the result of good genetics and possible refinement from lasers and light based therapies. So save your money.
Another highly touted ingredient is Vitamin C. These serums and creams are lauded as treating everything from hyperpigmentation to fine lines, rough texture, etc. These promises are solid and everyone should be incorporating a Vitamin C product into their regimen. However, there are several types of Vitamin C available. Some are not even bio available i.e. the skin cannot utilize the particular formula. Ascorbic acid is the most common form of Vitamin C used today. It is water soluble, therefore it cannot penetrate beyond the stratum cornermen, the top layer of your skin. Interestingly, any formulation that penetrates beyond the stratum cornermen is classified as a drug by the FDA, and regulated i.e. only available by prescription in the US. In practice, there are many ingredients that do penetrate beyond the stratum cornermen, but the FDA is notoriously behind the times on this matter.

A better Vitamin C formulation is MAP, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate. It penetrates beyond the stratum corneum and will produce good benefits especially with regard to brightening the skin. Another Vitamin C formulation is SAP, Sodiom Ascorbyl Phosphate. It's also effective, especially for acne prone skin, but less effective than MAP. Recently Peter Thomas Roth introduced a Vitamin C formula with THD,Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate. This is a dangerous ingredient. It has been shown to cause granulomas when injected into the skin and it's not bioavailable. It's similar to the Nicholas Perricone debacle of a few years ago with Vitamin C ester. Yet, the Peter Thomas Roth product retails for $ 90. You can purchase a good MAP product for as little as $50. It should be used twice a day for best results.
Another great ingredient that should be in everyone's regimen is retinol. All retinol are derivatives of Vitamin A. The original and still strongest, available only by prescription is tretinoin, also known as Retin A. A game changer when it was discovered in the 70 s, Retin A stimulates collagen, the building block of our skins support matrix. As such, it reduces wrinkles caused by UV radiation and aging. It also minimizes hyperpigmentation and rough skin texture and enlarged pores, or follicles. Unfortunately, it causes massive skin inflammation, which is now believed to be a cause of premature aging. Fortunately, there are milder alternatives today. Retinal acetate, retinal palmitate and the much gentler retinaldehyde are all available today and will improve the skin dramatically, albeit at a slower rate. I personally use and retinaldehyde, as I believe it converts into Retin pic acid the best and fastest and gives dramatic improvements.

A great newcomer to the ingredient game is niacinamide or Vitamin B 3. It's the star of many cutting edge Korean products. You can purchase SK-11 for $180, or you can find an exact dupe for less than $60. The active ingredient, galactomyces ferment, is derived from sake, a Japanese fermented liquor.
In summary, there are lots of exciting, effective ingredients out now. Learn to read the labels of any product you're considering purchasing. Good skin care need not be expensive.

Remember that ingredients are listed in descending order on the product label,unless the product contains an active ingredient or drug. Then the ingredients can be listed in any order. Realistically, the first 5 ingredients are pretty much the formula. Any ingredient in the formula at 1% or less can be listed in any order. So, some sneaky manufacturers will list a pricy, hot ingredient at the top of the 1% listing. Its unlikely the ingredient is present at a high enough concentration to be effective.