Getting older brings with it a whole new set of skincare concerns. As we age, skin sags or droops, dries out easier, and dark spots may appear. And then there are the dreaded wrinkles and fine lines that appear around our eyes, mouths and foreheads.
A whole multi-billion dollar industry exists around skin care products catering to those who wish to erase those lines and look young again. The question is, do they work?
How Do Wrinkles Form?
In order to figure out if wrinkle creams are worth looking into, it’s important to understand how wrinkles form. Skin has two main layers: the dermis and epidermis.
You may have heard a child say, “Your epidermis is showing!” The epidermis is the outer layer of skin that covers the entire body. The dermis is the layer we don’t see, which is soft and contains collagen.
Wrinkles can form in one or both layers, which can affect how much they are seen. The cause varies from person to person, but the usual culprits are smoking, sun exposure and other environmental elements.
When you’re young, your body is made up of approximately 75 percent water, but in the process of aging, up to 15 percent can be lost. Drier skin is less firm and unable to snap back into place the way it used to with more moisture.
A Look at Anti-Aging Products
At the dermis level, collagen starts to break down, which also supports the skin and its elasticity. Anti-aging and wrinkle creams claim to have the cure for these problems.
Some are night creams that will supposedly stop wrinkles from forming in your sleep. Others are mini facelifts in a jar that firm up skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. By looking at the ingredients in these products, you can determine their true effectiveness.
The most talked about ingredient in anti-aging serums and wrinkle creams is retinol. It can be found in naturally fatty foods such as butter, liver, eggs and cheese.
In its dermatological form, however, retinol is called retinoic acid or referred to as a retinoid. Retinol is known for preventing the formation of compounds that break down collagen in the dermis layer. In some cases, it may even encourage collagen growth, seemingly reversing the aging process at the skin level.
Peptides are also often found in wrinkle creams and have been known to produce good results in reducing wrinkles. Chains of amino acids, peptides work similarly to retinol and may also stimulate collagen growth.
Argireline is a controversial synthetic ingredient and peptide that has recently started showing up in anti-aging serums. It’s also found in Botox and can inhibit muscle contractions when used topically.
For many women who are interested in the results Botox can produce, but can’t stand the thought of injections, Argireline is a tempting alternative.
Other ingredients frequently found in wrinkle creams are alpha hydroxy acids, antioxidants, and GABA complex, which is essentially a muscle relaxer.
While they are frequently seen in anti-aging beauty products, the jury is still out on their effectiveness in comparison to retinol and peptides. For the most part, these ingredients can also be found in beauty products not marketed as anti-aging. Therefore, spending the extra money may not be worth it when you are essentially getting moisturizers and exfoliators.
Wrinkle creams vary in price depending on their ingredients, packaging and size. The average price for a 1-ounce bottle of cream is $20 – 40, but some can be as expensive as $400.
At the lower end of the price spectrum, it seems worth it to look into, especially if the cream has retinol or peptides. A cream can only be so effective at a topical level, however.
If it were as strong as an injection like Botox or other fillers, it would have to be classified as a drug. Botox can cost around $400 or more a session and has to be redone every three to six months.
At that price, you are better off experimenting with wrinkle cream to see which one works best for you and avoid the needles.
When Will You See Results?
As with any skin care product, it may take weeks and sometimes even months to see any real results.
Results vary from person to person and product to product, but most women report some change in their skin’s complexion. Common results include skin evening out in color, becoming brighter, firmer, softer, and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines.
Make it a part of your regular skin care routine and try to prevent further damage by wearing sunscreen, quitting smoking, and always washing your face before bed each night. Leaving makeup on overnight is especially harmful and can actually become embedded in wrinkles, making them look deeper.
While there is nothing on the market that can actually reverse the aging process, wrinkle creams can make you appear younger when time is taken to care for your skin.