Do anti-aging creams really keep you looking younger for longer, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines?
This depends on a number of things.
Many anti-aging products boast the promise to reverse and prevent any damage caused by the sun’s rays while reducing wrinkles in the process.
But is even the best anti-aging cream on the market as good as it sounds?
Well, this often depends on how long you use the product for and what specific ingredients are in it. As many of these nonprescription creams aren’t deemed “drugs,” they haven’t had to go through scientific tests to prove how effective they are.
That’s why it’s crucial you understand what ingredients are important so you can find the best wrinkle cream for you.
Common Ingredients in Anti-Aging Creams
How effective an anti-aging serum will be depends on the ingredients or active ingredient within it. Here are some of the most common ones you’ll find that may help induce younger-looking skin:
- Retinol: The first antioxidant to be used in over-the-counter wrinkle creams, this is a compound of vitamin A. Antioxidants are beneficial as they neutralize free radicals, which are responsible for breaking down skin cells and causing wrinkles.
- Vitamin C: Another strong antioxidant, this substance may help protect your skin from damage caused by the sun. If your anti-wrinkle cream contains vitamin C, it’s important to store it away from sunlight and air to preserve it.
- Hydroxy Acids: These are exfoliants, often found in the form of polyhydroxy acids, salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acids), and alpha hydroxy acids. They help remove dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, stimulating new skin to grow which is evenly pigmented and smooth.
- Coenzyme Q10: This can protect you from sun damage and is often preferred in serums around the eyes as it can reduce fine wrinkles.
- Peptides: Previously used for stretch marks and wound healing, this is now a favored product in wrinkle cream.
- Tea Extracts: Oolong, black, and green tea contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The most common in anti-aging cream is green tea extract.
- Grape Seed Extract: As well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, wound healing is promoted by grape seed extract.
- Niacinamide: Related to vitamin B-3, this is another potent antioxidant and helps to reduce how much water your skin loses while also improving its elasticity.
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Anti-Wrinkle Cream
Because lotions and creams are defined as “cosmetics” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are deemed to have “no medical value.”
This means the FDA doesn’t regulate them as strictly as other things, e.g. medication. Therefore, anti-wrinkle creams aren’t put through the same strict tests that topical medications have to go through.
The FDA’s main priority with cosmetics is how safe they are, not have effective they may be.
That’s why you’ll want to consider the following points when judging the anti-wrinkle creams available:
- Cost: Don’t be drawn to an anti-wrinkle cream just because it’s more expensive than another – this has no relevance on its efficiency.
- Number of Ingredients: There’s no research to suggest that having a combination of the ingredients listed above will provide better results than a single one. Your skin may react better to one than another.
- Daily Use: It’s highly likely you’ll need to use the cream at least once a day (twice is often recommended) for several weeks before you start to see its effects. And once you stop using the product, your skin may return to how it looked originally.
- Side Effects: Always read the instructions on the product to try and reduce potential side effects such as redness, burning, rashes, and skin irritation.
- Individual Preference: Your friend may hail a certain product as the best anti-wrinkle cream on the market – but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Different skin types will respond differently.
Improving Your Anti-Aging Regimen
As well as an anti-aging cream working to help treat your wrinkles, there are some other steps you can take to improve your skin’s youthful look.
First, it’s important to provide your skin with as much protection as possible from the sun. Always make sure you’ve used sunscreen because UV rays are the number one cause of uneven pigmentation and signs of aging. This will also help prevent future wrinkles from appearing.
To make this easier, you could choose creams with sunscreen built in. Just look for ones that have SPF15 – at least.
Second, if you smoke, try to quit because this plays a huge role in aging. Smoking leads to narrower blood vessels, damaging elastin and collagen (the fibers that provide your skin with elasticity and strength). Over time this will cause your skin to wrinkle and sag prematurely.
Finally, be sure to keep your skin moisturized at all times. Even though moisturizers don’t prevent wrinkles they can lead to shriveled cells which create wrinkles and fine lines.
If you’re still not sure what the best anti-aging cream for you is, you may want to enlist the help of a dermatologist who’ll be able to assess your skin type and make some recommendations.
Feature image via Skin Care Smooth