The short answer is "yes."  Yes, anti-aging cleansers do work.  In spite of the fact that it's all going down the drain, there are several ingredients to be found in anti-aging cleansers that will actually do what they claim to be doing for your skin.  These proven ingredients are any of the alpha/beta hydroxy acids (which include glycolic, lactic, malic and salicylic).

“In a cleanser, glycolic acid binds with water and exfoliates skin, softening lines and reducing pigmentation,” says Francesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “Since it helps remove the layer of dead skin cells, whatever you apply next will have enhanced penetration.”

But hold that happy thought.  When it comes to other proven anti-agers, such as vitamin C and retinols, little can be said.  Simply, they're just not on your face long enough to do any good. However, there's one bright note: some cleansers offering new rinseproof technology, such as St. Ives Elements Protective Cleanser and Freeze 24–7 Ice Shield Facial Cleanser with Sunscreen (both of which I'm dying to try out), actually do work! Their formulations have been developed just so that they actually leave behind microencapsulated sunscreen particles that stick to your skin long after the suds have done sudsing.

And finally, there's some evidence that peptide-packing cleansers, or those including various amino acids, will have positive results on the skin via typical conditioning and regenerating effects.

All of these ingredients can be found in Peter Thomas Roth's Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel, which will be reviewed in a post tomorrow.