Question: I went to buy a glycolic acid cleanser and was told that something called “MMP” is much better. Its also much more expensive. I can’t afford to keep buying a skin care product and then learn that there are better ones. Is MMP a good ingredient to look for?
Answer: MMP is an umbrella term for enzymes ( eg collagenase) which break down old proteins ( eg old collagen). The body produces them naturally and as we get older or are under stress, the body produces more of them. Sunlight, alcohol and smoking also increase MMP levels. We need MMPs to avoid build-up of old damaged tissues– but too much MMP can increase aging and skin wrinkling.
I think that the product you were offered had an anti-MMP compound that actually blocks MMP activity. A lot of ingredients can act as an MMP inhibitor– something that prevents MMP from attacking the skin. Retin A has strong anti-MMP activity, as do antioxidants, aloe and chamomile.
Anti-MMP’s could be a nice additional ingredient, but alone this appraoch doesn’t have the juice that other anti-agers can offer. For example, glycolic acid removes dead dry skin cells, and stimulates circulation as well as growth of new collagen and elastin. Glycolic acid is a skin care basic and I would put my money on the best one I can find.