Do anti-wrinkle creams really reduce wrinkles?

While not all over-the-counter anti-wrinkle creams work, there are some that have proven themselves worthy. For most aging is a natural experience, however, for others — others being the more than 90 million American men and women who spend over $80 billion a year in anti-aging medication — aging brings to mind the body, technology and cosmetic surgery.

Turning back the clock with a little pharmaceutical help has become the norm, even in the very young. While cosmetic surgery is a commonly sought solution, there are less-invasive ways to go head-to-head with Mother Nature.

Some drugstore anti-wrinkle creams do show some benefit. Non-prescription anti-wrinkle products, whether purchased in a drugstore or over the Internet, are not classified as drugs, therefore manufacturers are not required to provide scientific proof or any research of the effectiveness of their products.

When it comes to men and women finding lotions and creams that are able to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, reverse current damage and prevent future damage, there are two key factors to take into consideration: the active product ingredients and the length of time you use the product.

Tretinion or Retinal: If you’re looking for creams that will help improve the appearance of wrinkles, retinal — which is a vitamin A compound — is a commonly used and modestly effective antioxidant ingredient in wrinkle creams. A small 12-week study was conducted using tretinoin cream once a day on patients with chronic solar skin damage. After the study doctors noticed a significant improvement in fine lines around the eyes, mouth and cheeks due to a thicker epidermal.

Tea extracts: Skin cream products that contain tea extracts use either black, oolong or green tea — the most commonly used is green tea — for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, however, while dermatology research concluded that patients who used green tea topically did not show any improvement in ultraviolet radiation damage, they did show significant improvement in the elastic tissue of the skin.

Acids: Hydroxy acids are acids that act as an exfoliate to the skin by removing the old upper layer of skin to stimulate new growth and even skin pigmentation. Look for products that contain beta hydroxy acid, alpha hydroxy acids and poly hydroxy acid if you seek a fresh glow.

Niacinamide: Related to Vitamin B-3 (niacin), niacinamide as an anti-wrinkle ingredient works its potent antioxidant benefits to reduce skin water loss while (hopefully) improving skin elasticity.

Grape Seed Extract: While grape seed extract does contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and is known to promote wound healing, research shows that grape seed extract proves most beneficial when ingested as opposed to when it’s used topically in creams or lotions.

Coenzyme Q10: This ingredient may be able to help with sun damage. It may also help with fine wrinkles found around the eyes.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may offer skin some sun protection. If you purchase anti-wrinkle creams that contain vitamin C, these creams must be stored in a place away from direct sunlight.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Paying more for an anti-wrinkle cream or lotion does not mean it works. The cost of a product has no connection to the effectiveness of a product.
  • There is no research to prove that any product that contains a variety of anti-wrinkle ingredients is more effective than a product that contains only one active ingredient.
  • Any improvements you do notice from using a product are short-lived and will cease once you stop using that product.
  • There is no guarantee that any over-the-counter anti-wrinkle products work at reducing wrinkles.

When you’re buying anti-wrinkle creams or lotions remember that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classifies these products as cosmetics, meaning they are classified as having no medical value. Cosmetic products are regulated less strictly than drug or medicinal products and are void of testing for topical effectiveness before hitting the market. The FDA’s main concern with cosmetic products is safety, not effectiveness.

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