It might be difficult to believe that the secret to youthful-looking skin can be found in a cream jar. However, this is not far from the truth. While not all anti-aging products work like magic, there are creams formulated with ingredients with proven anti-aging benefits.
New anti-aging technologies and complexes are developed each year to help you keep wrinkles and fine lines off your face or delay their occurrence. And some of us can swear on the effectiveness of these creams, while others could swear on the opposite. To be able to answer the question in the title, we need first to have a look at how anti-aging creams work and what are some reasonable expectations from these skincare products.
How anti-aging creams work?
Before anything else, anti-aging creams should have a hydrating effect. When the skin is hydrated, the fine lines and wrinkles are filled from within, the texture of the skin looks better and is more radiant.
Another action of these anti-aging products is exfoliation. A gentle exfoliation with alpha hydroxy acid is essential for youthful-looking skin. Dead skin cells are eliminated from the skin's surface, and, as a result, the skin is more luminous, soft, and smooth.
Some anti-aging creams also contain antioxidants such as Q10 coenzyme, vitamin C, green tea extract and others. The antioxidants fight the free radicals that can lead to the early occurrence of the signs of aging. However, keep in mind that the antioxidants are much more efficient in preventing wrinkles and fine lines than in treating them.
The foundation of an anti-aging cream that works is hydration, exfoliation, and skin protection. However, certain ingredients can make all the difference in the effects of an anti-aging cream.
Anti-aging ingredients to look for in creams
The most important ingredient that you will want to have in your anti-aging cream is, without a doubt, retinol. Retinol comes in many different forms and is a vitamin A derivate. This vitamin is essential for the body as it is involved in the collagen production process and can also prevent skin thinning.
But retinol can help with much more than preventing wrinkles and the skin getting thinner and thinner with age. This ingredient is also efficient in correcting the skin tone by targeting age spots. As a result, when you use a retinol cream, the skin is more even, and hyperpigmentation is reduced.
The action and effects of retinol have been tested and proven – several studies performed over the years show that this substance can reduce fine lines and wrinkles and can be used for preventive purposes too. However, it is important to understand that the results of a retinol-based anti-aging cream don't occur overnight. The experts mention that it could take six to twelve months of regular use to see the improvements in the skin tone and texture.
In other words, anti-aging creams do work, if you are consistent in applying them and you choose a cream containing all the right ingredients.
SPF is not something that we tend to consider an anti-aging ingredient per se; however, this is one of the most important things that you could do to prevent premature skin aging.
In the end, it doesn't matter what creams and serums you use and how potent the ingredients in them are if you don't protect the skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure.
This is the reason why a good anti-aging cream should have SPF. Alternatively, you can use the sunscreen product after you applied the moisturiser.
Using an SPF cream during the day is even more important if you apply retinol treatments or creams in the evening. In a vast majority of cases, you will see this mentioned on the retinol cream label. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure when using a retinol or vitamin C cream can lead to more pronounced skin sensitivity and even hyperpigmentation.
To make sure you get the best results possible when using the anti-aging cream, make sure to associate it with sunscreen (if the cream is without SPF).
Results to be expected when using an anti-aging cream
There is no doubt that a good anti-aging cream comes with many skin benefits; however, the effects are limited. A daily cream can improve, to a certain extent, the skin texture and tone, but it won't erase wrinkles completely or trigger a radical change in no time at all. We can't stop or reverse skin aging; all we can do with a well-chosen anti-aging skincare routine is to delay it for as long as possible.
It's important to understand that the creams can only penetrate the superficial layers of the skin. They are great to prevent premature signs of aging, but if you are already confronted with wrinkles and fine lines, you might need more than a cream to notice a radical transformation at the skin level. This is why your skin therapist might also recommend serums and certain cosmetic procedures.
Having reasonable expectations is essential when starting an anti-aging skincare routine. In short, the anti-aging cream should provide:
- Intense hydration
- Improved skin luminosity
- Support for cellular regeneration
What to take into consideration when choosing the anti-aging cream
Your age, as well as skin type and condition, are the criteria to keep in mind when choosing the anti-aging cream. Just like other skincare products, the anti-aging creams target specific skin concerns.
For example, sensitive skin can benefit more from a vitamin C rich cream as it can stimulate collagen production.
If you have dry skin, you might want to choose an anti-aging cream with fruit acids that can bring more brightness to your complexion.
If you are over the age of 40 or your skin has already started to show aging signs, you might want to get creams containing vitamin A (retinol)