Today, people are eating better, staying fitter and living longer, and although aging is a fact of life, most women and many men don’t like what the years are doing to their skin. Many people want to look youthful for as long as possible and decide to buy an anti-aging cream for help. Thousands of anti-aging creams claim to be the best but the fact is, there is no “best” when it comes to anti-aging products.
We researched hundreds of anti-aging creams and, in general, it seems that one person’s fountain of youth is another’s nightmare. Still, there are some consistently good anti-aging creams. Of course, your results will vary. Your age, skin type, skin condition and genetics all factor into how well a product will work for you. This guide can be a starting point for those confused by the many types of anti-aging products out there.
Before you venture out to buy an anti-aging cream, there are a number of questions you have to ask yourself.
WHAT TYPE OF WRINKLE CREAM AM I LOOKING FOR?
Anti-aging creams come in several categories.
- Wrinkle relaxants work to slightly relax the muscles under expression lines, somewhat simulating the Botox effect on a small scale. These products don’t actually get rid of wrinkles or ward off new ones. They just relax creases a bit and give you a slightly more youthful look. When you stop using them, your skin will go back to the way it was before you started so you don’t get cumulative effects. These creams are good add-on products to use with other anti-aging products.
- Antioxidant creams are filled with vitamins and minerals healthy for your skin. Vitamins A, C, D and E are popular antioxidants but there are many different ingredients that fall into this category, including minerals like copper. The theory is that detoxing the skin will give it a youthful glow, rid the epidermis of poisons and impurities and give the skin an overall more youthful appearance.
- Repairing creams use ingredients like Retinol (a much less harsh version of the prescription skin cream Retin-A), Alpha Hydroxy acids, collagen and elastin to reverse sun damage and encourage cell turnover to reveal new, fresh, youthful skin. These creams also claim to replenish the skin, giving it back elasticity and firmness that is lost with age.
- Deep hydrating creams rely on the plumping effect of moisturizers to smooth the skin, plump wrinkles and creases and keep the skin moist and dewy. They may also contain small amounts of antioxidants and other ingredients but their main goal is to deeply hydrate the skin. Studies show that dry skin creases more, is more fragile and tends to wrinkle faster. Creams in this category work by eliminating dehydrated skin, thus warding off new lines and plumping existing ones.
- All-natural creams are becoming popular as skin care companies are discovering certain roots, herbs, extracts and oils have a positive effect on the skin. Many people prefer to use natural ingredients on their skin and believe them to be safer than their chemical counterparts. Most natural creams aren’t potent enough to reverse aging skin but can delay new lines by imparting moisture and natural ingredients that nourish the skin.
- Firming creams work less on wrinkles and more on sagging skin. They lift the skin and give your skin a more youthful appearance. Firming creams and serums often are used in conjunction with hydrating creams to lift and moisturize the skin.
Naturally, there are products that combine ingredients to make up their own unique formula. However, most can still be categorized by the main ingredients and the claims made by the skin care company.
HOW MUCH MONEY AM I WILLING TO SPEND ON MY ANTI-AGING SKIN CARE?
This is quite an important consideration. Skin care can be amazingly expensive depending on the brand and type you choose. You have to take into account your budget and how much you are willing and able to spend on a face cream that you will be using every night and day. Expect to have to buy refills every two to four months depending on the size of the tube or jar. Some creams only come in monthly doses. Have a price range in mind when you start your search. This will quickly eliminate several choices and narrow the field down to creams that you can afford. Good skin care is vital but shouldn’t cause worry and stress lines because of its high price tag!
WHAT IS MY SKIN TYPE?
If you have oily skin, you will want to avoid very heavy moisturizers. If you have very dry or sensitive skin, you will have to be cautious about harsher chemicals in many of the newer anti-aging creams. Those prone to breakouts will want to look for creams that don’t clog pores and are a bit lighter in weight. Fragrance-free creams are a good bet for everyone. If you buy a cream that isn’t right for your skin type, you won’t get the desired results and may end up with breakouts, rashes or skin that still feels tight and needs moisture. A side note about skin types: Oily skin may be a pain to deal with but studies show that those with oily skin wrinkle later and get less wrinkles than those with dry and even normal skin types. So embrace your oily skin. It is its own anti-aging secret!
WHAT IS MY LIFESTYLE?
Are you a busy traveler who barely has time to shower, let alone wait for skin cream to absorb? Are you a stay-at-home person who enjoys pampering your skin? Do you want a product that you can use day and night or do you like lighter creams for day and heavier for night? Are you a smoker, avid tanner or a heavy drinker? Are you under constant pressure and filled with stress? These factors all can negatively affect your skin and you will need some serious help to reverse the damage. If you’ve recently lost a lot of weight, your skin will likely be somewhat looser. You will want to address that with a firming cream as well as any other type you feel you need. If you’re outdoors a lot, you will probably want a cream with sunscreen in it. If you’re working in an office all day, you don’t need the sunscreen nearly as much.
Your lifestyle shows on your face. Good skin care can only do so much. A healthy lifestyle will certainly go a long ways toward helping the cream of your choice do its job more effectively.
DO I WANT A MULTI-PART SYSTEM?
Many skincare companies make systems — several components designed to work together. Often you will get a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, eye cream and possibly a mask and other add-ons designed to give your skin uniform results. Systems are great but can be expensive. In addition, that means you need to cut ties with your favorite facial cleanser and other long time favorites. Decide if you want to go with a multi-part system or just the cream on its own. Trust me, if you use the cream with your own cleanser and toner, it will be basically as effective as using it with products from the same line. It’s like shampoo, conditioner and styling aids. Companies want you to use all the products in the line “for best results” but you can mix and match brands and still have great hair. The same goes for skin care. However, you may decide that a system works best for you. I won’t be discussing all the components of a skin care system but will mention if the creams are part of a system that is recommended for best results.
AM I TRYING TO PREVENT FUTURE WRINKLES OR REDUCE EXISTING ONES?
Women in their twenties are realizing that preventative measures are the way to go when it comes to warding off aging. If you are line-free or just have a few lines but want to protect your skin from further aging, you will want lighter creams and ones that have antioxidants in them. If you’re trying to repair or reduce the number of lines you have, you’ll be looking more toward the restorative creams that try to reverse damage and plump or relax lines.