Many wrinkle creams and lotions sold in department stores, in drugstores or on the Internet promise to reduce wrinkles and prevent or reverse damage caused by the sun.
The Big Question Is Do They Work?
If you're looking for a face-lift in a bottle, you won't find it in over-the-counter (nonprescription) wrinkle creams. But they may slightly improve the appearance of your skin, depending on how long you use the product and the amount and type of the active ingredient in the wrinkle cream. Some research suggests that wrinkle creams contain ingredients that may improve wrinkles. But many of these ingredients haven't undergone scientific research to prove this benefit.
Common Ingredients Found in Wrinkle Creams
You may know that there are many products on the market today that claim to diminish those fine lines and wrinkles that are the effects of the aging process. You may even have a jar or two of these products sitting in your medicine cabinet. But do you know what is in your wrinkle cream? The fact is that there are a number of ingredients that are considered effective in giving you a brighter, more youthful complexion with less lines and more vibrancy. It is important to understand what these ingredients are and how they are used to ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from those jars and tubes in your bathroom.
Vitamins for your Skin
One of the most common ingredients found in wrinkle creams is a vitamin A compound known as retinol. Retinol is an antioxidant – in fact, it is the first antioxidant to be used in wrinkle creams. Antioxidants work in the body by neutralizing the free radicals that break down the skin’s cells and cause wrinkles. It is important to note that vitamin A derivatives should be avoided if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Another great vitamin for your skin is vitamin C. This is a natural skin brightener, which will also give you a more youthful look if it is found in your wrinkle cream.
Common anti-wrinkle cream ingredients The effectiveness of anti-wrinkle creams depends in part on the active ingredients. Here are some common ingredients that may result in slight to modest improvements in wrinkles.
Tea extracts. Green, black and oolong tea contain compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea extracts are the ones most commonly found in wrinkle creams.
Retinol. Retinol is a vitamin A compound and is the first antioxidant to be widely used in nonprescription wrinkle creams. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals — unstable oxygen molecules that break down skin cells and cause wrinkles. Retinol is less potent than the vitamin A derivative tretinoin, a prescription topical treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating wrinkles. Avoid vitamin A derivatives if you're pregnant or may become pregnant because they increase the risk of birth defects.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
The purpose of alpha hydroxyl acids in your wrinkle cream is to provide exfoliation that will rid your complexion of the dead skin cells on the surface. This process will also encourage the growth of new skin that is smoother and more evenly pigmented. The important thing to keep in mind is that any wrinkle cream that contains alpha hydroxyl acid will make your skin much more susceptible to sun exposure. Make sure that if you use an alpha hydroxyl product, you always wear sunscreen, even up to a week after you stop using the substance. This will help you to prevent seriously damaging sun exposure while you are fighting those wrinkles.
Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient that helps regulate energy production in cells. Some studies have shown reduction in fine wrinkles around the eyes with no side effects. Other studies show that application before sun exposure protects against sun damage.
Copper peptides. Copper is a trace element found in every cell. In products applied to the skin, it's combined with small protein fragments called peptides. Copper peptides enhance wound healing. They also stimulate production of collagen and may enhance the action of antioxidants.
Kinetin. A plant growth factor, kinetin may improve wrinkles and uneven pigmentation with minimal irritation. It's unclear how it works, but it may help reduce wrinkles by helping skin retain moisture and by stimulating the production of collagen. It may also be a potent antioxidant.
There are many other wrinkle cream products on the market and on the horizon as well. Kinetin is a plant product that can reduce lines and wrinkles with minimum irritation to the skin. Coenzyme Q10 is product that can be used effectively in wrinkle creams without irritating the skin. This ingredient may protect against sun damage to the skin as well. With the many choices on the market today, you are sure to find a wrinkle cream that will work for you. Tea extracts, particularly those from green tea, are powerful antioxidants that are often found in wrinkle creams today. These extracts have anti-inflammatory qualities as well.
Because the FDA doesn't evaluate cosmetic products for effectiveness, there's no guarantee that any over-the-counter product will reduce your wrinkles or even contain any of its advertised ingredients