Anti-aging face cream: Do they really work?

by Linda Robison

Can an anti-aging face cream reduce the appearance of wrinkles? Not really, according to The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

The AAD say that over-the-counter wrinkle creams do little or nothing to reverse wrinkles. 

To be honest, I think we all know that we can't rely on a single anti-aging face cream to work miracles and get rid of wrinkles.

However, don't lose hope!

There are some products (when used in combination) can help smooth fine lines, lighten age spots and reduce the visible signs of face aging.

Keep reading, we'll show 4 simple tips that can make your face look great! Promise!

Anti-Aging face cream for women over 40. Pink drawing of a woman's face.

What anti-aging products actually work?

Which anti-aging ingredients actually works? 

Look for face creams and effective products that contain active ingredients proven in clinical research to produce visible results.

We've broken it down into four simple steps:

Reverse, Repair, Restore, Protect

Can damaged skin be reversed?

1. Reverse with Retinols

Reverse damaged aging skin with Retinols (derivative of vitamin A).

There is no doubt, retinols make the best anti-aging creams around.

NOTE: When the editors of the top anti-aging magazines interviewed dermatologists about their favorite anti-aging face cream, all agreed that retinols are the most important ingredient for anti-aging benefits.

Now, there is no question that prescription retinoids have been proven to:

  • treat wrinkles and lines
  • increase collagen production
  • improve skin elasticity
  • increase the production of new blood vessels for smoother tone
  • exfoliate damaged cells
  • reduce brown spots

However, over-the-counter retinols are pretty effective these days, they just take longer and the results may not be as dramatic, but it sure beats the alternative!

And, OTC retinols are not as irritating, so they're easier to use in the long run.

But, i'ts important to start out with a mild retinol or use one that's also super hydrating, like Obagi-360 which now contains shea butter.

Or you can try mixing a retinol boosting serum with your existing moisturizer. This is a real time and $$ saver because you need to mix a few drops of the retinol booster to each application of your moisturizer.

The perfect time to use retinols is at night, while you're sleeping. Your skin naturally restores and regenerates itself while you're sleeping. So help it along with a nighttime face cream that's rich in retinols.

TIP: If retinols irritate your skin (a very common problem) use a milder cream and work your way up to a stronger one. Or only apply the cream every other night and slowly increase the application nightly.

In this article, we show you the different types of OTC retinol skin products and which one is best for your skin and budget.

Are chemical peels good for older skin?

2. Repair with AHA's

Repair and remove the outer layer of old skin with an at-home chemical peel or exfoliating face cream.

In addition to adding a retinol based anti-aging face cream to your skincare routine, you want to help eliminate dead aging skin cells and increase skin cell turnover, reduce years of sun damage, and allow the fresh new skin cells to come up to the surface.

You can do this by using any type of chemical exfoliants like alpha and lactic hydroxy acids.

All skin types go through changes with age. The most important is the reduction in collagen and changes in skin texture due to hormonal changes. One of the key signs of this aging process is dull skin, dry patches, and the dreaded brown spots!

Sometime over 40 our skin's natural exfoliation ability slows down, leaving the skin bumpy and dull.

Manual exfoliation is essential for smoother, hydrated looking skin.

Plus, dull skin also shows fine lines more readily. You'd be surprised how a quick a "good exfoliating scrub" can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin hydrating and general appearance.

Note: You'll want to add this to your skincare routine slowly if you're just starting out with a retinol anti-aging face treatment. Initially, retinols can make skin sensitive. Until your skin has adjusted to the retinol, hold off using any scrubs or AHA's.

Learn about the anti-aging benefits of at-home chemical peels here.

What ingredients restore skin?

3. Restore with daily moisturizer cream

Yes, we know anti-aging face creams can't reduce wrinkles, but now that you're eliminating damaged aging skin cells with a chemically exfoliating treatment, you want to restore hydrating and strengthen your skin barrier with an antioxidant-rich daily face moisturizer.

Look for creams that contain natural ingredients to help feed mature skin.

Even better, look for ones that are plant-based, CBD based, or ones that natural (free from fragrance and toxic chemicals) and/or organic ingredients like:

  • DMAE (firmer skin)
  • fatty acids, hyaluronic acid
  • shea butter (for moisture)
  • vitamin B3 (niacinamide for firmer skin)
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant for dark spots and to protect against free radicals).

This article offers suggestions on selecting a good, daily, antioxidant, anti-aging face cream is a full-spectrum CBD oil based moisturizer.

Does sunscreen protect skin aging

4. Protect with sunscreen

Protect your skin with a good sunscreen!

And of course, we all know the best way to protect our face from aging is to protect it against too much sun exposure by using a good broad-spectrum sunscreen that uses zinc oxide-based as the base.

Make sure to cover the entire face, neck, chest, and hands.

The skin cancer foundation suggests the regular use of sunscreens not just to reduce the risk of skin cancer, but as part of a good anti-aging skincare routine.

People underestimate how important sunscreen is to prevent early signs of aging and to keep younger skin looking better longer.

Remember, too much sun exposure is the main cause of uneven skin tone.

Anti-aging face cream: FAQ's

Got a question about this article? Please feel free to ask us here.

Q: What anti-aging products actually work?

A: Probably the most effective, over-the-counter anti-aging product you could use is a retinol cream or serum. Other anti-aging product can help hydrate and make the skin look better, but retinols actually eliminate damaged skin cells so newer, younger cells can come to the surface.

Q: How can I lift my face naturally?

A: Personally, I got excellent results using face exercises and massages. My face is more lifted and skin is tighter than it was 15 years ago. You can see my before and after pictures here.

Q: Which cream is best for skin tightening?

A: Over-the-counter creams can't really do much for tightening the skin. You can hydrate your face with hyaluronic acids and moisturizers, which can give a more lifted appearance - especially if your skin is dry.

Even better, look for moisturizers that are super hydrating and contain niacinamide or DMAE which has been shown to boost the production of collagen. This important protein that supports skin structure, making it firmer. But don't expect miracles. 

Also, I have found that my face looks firmer after an at-home chemical peel treatment. Give it a try.

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