Lifestyle and home remedies (1)
- Skin care: 5 tips for healthy skin
- Best sunscreen: Understand sunscreen options
Wrinkle creams: Your guide to younger looking skin
Do over-the-counter wrinkle creams really reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles? The answer depends on many factors.By Mayo Clinic staff
Many wrinkle creams and lotions sold in department stores, in drugstores and on the Internet promise to reduce wrinkles and prevent or reverse damage caused by the sun.
Do they work? Research suggests that some wrinkle creams contain ingredients that may improve the appearance of wrinkles. But many of these ingredients haven't undergone scientific research to prove this benefit.
If you're looking for a face-lift in a bottle, you probably won't find it in over-the-counter (nonprescription) wrinkle creams. But they may slightly improve the appearance of your skin, depending on how long you use the product and the amount and type of the active ingredient in the wrinkle cream.
Common ingredients in anti-wrinkle creams
The effectiveness of anti-wrinkle creams depends in part on the active ingredient or ingredients. Here are some common ingredients that may result in slight to modest improvement in the appearance of wrinkles.
- Retinol. Retinol is a vitamin A compound, the first antioxidant to be widely used in nonprescription wrinkle creams. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals — unstable oxygen molecules that break down skin cells and cause wrinkles. Retinol is less potent than the vitamin A derivative tretinoin, a topical treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating wrinkles. Tretinoin is available only by prescription. Avoid vitamin A derivatives if you are pregnant or may become pregnant, because they may increase the risk of birth defects.
- Hydroxy acids. Alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids and poly hydroxy acids are synthetic versions of acids derived from sugar-containing fruits. These acids are exfoliants — substances that remove the upper layer of old, dead skin and stimulate the growth of smooth, evenly pigmented new skin. Because hydroxy acids increase your susceptibility to sun damage, always wear sunscreen during use and for at least one week afterward.
- Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient that helps regulate energy production in cells. Some studies have shown reduction in fine wrinkles around the eyes with no side effects. Other studies show that application before sun exposure protects against sun damage.
- Copper peptides. Copper is a trace element found in every cell. In products applied to the skin, it's combined with small protein fragments called peptides. Copper peptides enhance wound healing. They also stimulate production of collagen and may enhance the action of antioxidants.
- Kinetin. As a plant growth factor, kinetin may improve the appearance of wrinkles and uneven pigmentation with minimal irritation. It's unclear how it works, but it may help reduce wrinkles by helping skin retain moisture and by stimulating the production of collagen. It may also be a potent antioxidant.
- Tea extracts. Green, black and oolong tea contain compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea extracts are the ones most commonly found in wrinkle creams.
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