Anti-Wrinkle Creams: Do They Work?

January 5, 2012
It's a simple question and a fair one: If you're going to pay a lot of money for an anti-wrinkle cream, you want to know that it's actually going to work! Unfortunately, wrinkle creams don't come with guarantees. The FDA classifies creams and lotions as cosmetics, not medicine, which means they're not as carefully tested for safety and effectiveness as medical anti-aging treatments, like Botox shots. Most doctors agree that if anti-wrinkle creams could heal skin like medical procedures can, they would not be classified as cosmetics, but rather as drugs. That's the bad news. But don't fret - the good news is that the effectiveness of any product depends on its active ingredients and there is evidence to suggest that certain ingredients in anti-wrinkle creams work. A favorite, pentapeptides, are compounds that serve as chemical messengers in the body. According to research centered on wound healing, pentapeptides are crucial in encouraging cells to create more collagen. Because collagen is the support structure that gives skin its young, firm look, we all want lots of it! Sadly, though, aging causes our collagen levels to decrease, which leads to sagging and wrinkles. That's why collagen-creating pentapeptides are a common ingredient in anti-wrinkle creams. Other anti-wrinkle creams may work by including retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. Retinol is an antioxidant, which means it stops unstable oxygen molecules from harming skin cells and causing wrinkles. The most effective, strongest form of retinol, called tretinoin, is available only via prescriptions like Retin-A and Renova. Weaker concentrations are sold over-the-counter in certain anti-wrinkle creams, and they may also be effective over time. Another popular ingredient in wrinkle creams is really just a fancy version of vitamin B3, or niacin. Variations of niacin could make the top layer of the skin thicker, in turn improving its ability to retain moisture, and, thankfully, reducing wrinkles. So, the million dollar question: do all these ingredients mean that anti-wrinkle creams are a wonder or a rip-off? The answer lies somewhere in between. If you're looking for treatment for mild or preventative aging, if you don't like the price tag of medical treatments, and if you don't mind waiting for results, then yes, anti-wrinkle creams are a good option for you. If your issues are more severe, however, and if you want to see changes now, you might discuss prescription treatments with your dermatologist. Or check out other videos in this series!
Last Updated:
July 16, 2012