Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams Work?

February 16, 2012By

We live in a time when great value is placed on appearance. Looking good and looking young can boost your self-confidence and, as a result, make you more likely to succeed. As a result, many people are willing to do whatever they can to look younger, whether that means getting a facelift or using various types of skin cream. If you’re interested in gaining a more youthful appearance, you may want to try anti-wrinkle creams.

Photo of an elderly woman using anti wrinkle creamsWhen deciding whether or not to use anti-wrinkle products, be careful. Many have negative side effects, and not all are effective. The FDA considers them cosmetics and does not test how well they work – only safety tests are performed. If you want guaranteed results when eliminating your wrinkles, you’re best off using proven injections like Botox. However, if such a procedure worries you or costs too much, then topical creams may be the best option.

In general, these creams are formulated to prevent the causes of wrinkles: insufficient or damaged collagen, sun damage, and dryness. Before buying a cream, it’s worth noting that many of these things can be prevented or lessened by taking good care of yourself. Your body needs vitamin C to produce collagen, so make sure you’re eating well; wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you go outside; use moisturizers to prevent your skin from drying out. Smoking increases the rate of your skin’s aging, so if you are a smoker and you’re worried about wrinkles, the best thing you can do for your skin – and the rest of your body – is quit. These steps are unlikely to make you look any younger, but they can slow the rate at which your skin is aging.

Here are a few of the different types of anti-aging creams available on the market, and some pros and cons of each:

Vitamin A in Anti-Wrinkle Solutions

Pros: Compounds like retinol and Tretinoin may be the most effective active ingredients used in anti-wrinkle products. According to the Mayo Clinic, these antioxidants prevent wrinkles from forming by destroying one of the root causes: free radicals. Radicals damage the skin, but vitamin A compounds can stop them from causing further harm. Tretinoin creams have even been tested and proven; they are actually considered drugs rather than cosmetics.

Cons: Because it’s considered a drug, you’ll need a prescription from your doctor to use Tretinoin. You’ll also want to avoid vitamin A compounds if you’re pregnant – vitamin A is harmful in large quantities, and you may hurt your child by applying these compounds to your skin.

Tea and Other Antioxidants

Pros: As mentioned with vitamin A, antioxidants prevent damage to your skin. Vitamin E, tea, and other antioxidants can provide safer alternatives to vitamin A compounds.

Cons: Unlike Tretinoin, these creams haven’t been scientifically proven effective.


Pros: Peptides are proven to increase the rate of healing by causing the body to produce collagen faster. Because wrinkles can be caused by insufficient collagen, it’s believed that peptides will help reduce wrinkling.

Cons: According to the WebMD article “Hope in a Jar: Do Skin Creams Work?” many doctors doubt that what works under a wound will be effective as a topical cream. Since this hasn’t been tested, it’s possible that it doesn’t actually do much when applied to the top of the skin.


Pros: Exfoliants like hydroxy acids remove old skin. This way, your newer, younger skin cells reach the surface, giving your skin a more youthful appearance.

Cons: New skin is much more vulnerable to sunlight, so be certain to wear sunscreen when going outdoors after using an exfoliant.

When buying a skin cream, be careful to research it beforehand, and read the label for warnings about side effects. While few anti-wrinkle solutions and products are guaranteed to work, some can do enough to boost your appearance and, as a result, your confidence. Just take the time to do some research and find the right match for your skin and your budget.

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