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Anti-aging creams and anti-wrinkle creams - do they really work?

Reviewed by Marta July 13, 2011 21 Comments

One of the (many) things that I love about the Truth In Aging community is that its members don’t take anything for granted. And recently two comments – from Susan and Dennis - really got me thinking and I realized that they both go to heart of what I am trying to do with Truth In Aging.

Actually, what’s funny is that in very different ways Susan and Dennis are raising the same issue. If I can summarize: Susan basically said if all these anti-aging skin creams really worked then you wouldn’t have any wrinkles; while Dennis noted that it was a bit discouraging to hear that I had some new fine lines emerging especially when I have such a (to quote another member) “high maintenance” beauty routine. They are fair points and, when you think about it, pretty fundamental. I answered them both at the time, but I believe that they deserve a fuller response.

For years, many women were told by dermatologists that nothing really worked against wrinkles and aging except for sunscreen and invasive solutions (involving injections of Botox and fillers, or cosmetic surgery). And, by and large, that was for a long time true; topical creams made promises that were simply not kept and most of us felt disillusioned at best, cheated at worst. But then five or so years ago, things started to change and cosmetics started to find clever breakthroughs with peptides and antioxidants. Anti-aging creams and anti-wrinkle creams started – to some extent – work.

Not all of them worked, nor still do. Many of the ones that did were (and are) being produced by boutique firms without the big marketing budgets that would get them noticed. That’s where Truth In Aging came in: to try to sort the wheat from the chaff, to find out what worked, what didn’t and why.

Now, it is important to note that I in the paragraph before last I said these anti-aging creams started working “to some extent”. I haven’t found anything that completely erases wrinkles and I don’t think that is realistic anyway. I have been aging for 51 years and a couple of years of a “high maintenance” beauty routine isn’t going to turn that around. Secondly, I am still aging and those lines are going to keep coming. This is a battle and it needs to be fought every day to stay on the winning side. Thirdly, in the pursuit of the Next Best Thing, science and in tireless service to Truth In Aging, I keep testing new things and not all of them work and some of them are even pretty bad. But, hey, you never know.

What I can honestly say to Susan, Dennis and anyone else who’s interested, is that I do look better now than I did a couple of years ago. Quite a bit better in fact. I’m not looking younger. But that isn’t the point. I look my age (51), but I look well and that’s enough; there’s no turning the clock back and I’ll just depress myself if I start to set impossible goals.

Amongst the best things I have found so far are LED light (especially for sagging – but it is something you need to keep up with), ReLuma, Your Best Face Correct and Define, Skin Nutrition Cell CPR, and E’shee’s products. I also think La Vie Celeste’s new Rich cream is great – especially for the price – and LiftLab is worth getting to know better.

My esthetician has been nagging me about vitamin C to keep redness down as well as freckles that are in danger of getting larger every year. So I have succumbed (I have never really liked vitamin C) and am using Collametics every day on my cheek bones (which are red) and on those larger freckles. I have to admit that she might be right. Onwards and upwards!

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  • March 2, 2013

    by barbara mory

    Yes, wrinkle cream really helps to remove signs of aging. My aunt have tried anti-aging product to deal with that problem. She only used natural products. It effectively works for her. Hope it will also help you.

  • September 28, 2012

    by kristie

    I know that the best anti-wrinkle creams have hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. I got Monsia anti-wrinkle cream as a birthday present for myself and my face is looking much much better, it’s really good for skin and I want to get their moisturizer now. :) Really happy with this one!

  • November 17, 2011

    by Christine

    My mother has never once used a product on her face.

    She has good skin, though she has redness.

    I however have acne even as an adult. Therefore I must use some products.

    Vitamin C is a god send for me. I had a big container of Perricone MD....and I got a terrible burn at a wedding all over my body....I slathered the jar over myself for a week and quit literally the burn went away over night.

    So yes....These Products Do Things. Can they stop aging? No. But if they can save me from the pain of a burn, and from Yucky Acne. I greatly appreciate it and will be more than happy to pay for it.

  • October 8, 2011

    by Janice

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying you look your age. I am sick to death of women who say they are such and such, but look such and such (usually younger, much younger). They base this on what they THINK a certain age is supposed to look like. If one cares for their skin and their body, any age is timeless. Which is where maintenance come in. I'm new to this site, but am subscribing. A lot of really good information. Thanks!

  • September 8, 2011

    by Rita F.

    I just wanted to add my two cents worth to the topic. If all these skincare products really worked, don't you think they'd use a wrinkled 65 year old woman using the product instead of a gorgeous wrinkle-free 20-something? Of course the model looks fabulous! She doesn't have wrinkles to begin with.

  • September 7, 2011

    by M'lou Arnett

    Thanks for the post. I see that a lot of the comments point to effective products that are available either through doctors or in specialty stores at some pretty hefty prices. One brand with great clinical results which you haven't mentioned is Puristics. It's effective and we can prove it. It's pure - - no potentially harmful chemicals. And it's priced manageably, around $20. Truth in Beauty is a great site and a great thing so I thought you might be glad to know the truth behind one more great product line. Here's a link to the blog post on it. http://mloublog.squarespace.com/ and the Puristics site is www.puristics.com. Thanks!

  • August 12, 2011

    by NoeyD77

    I've been using Dr Perricone's Concentrated Restorative Treatment on and off for a couple of years now. Though scientifically speaking, I'm not to fond of treatments that are in cream/lotion form due to the lack of the actives being permeated into the deeper dermal layers but putting that aside, I really do like this product. It really really does brighten my complexion, and at those rare times that my skincare product A.D.D. loosen it's vice-like grip on me and I use the product for an extended period, it lightens my olive complexion do much that my face is literally a couple shades lighter than the rest of me. Doesn't sting at all and lasts a long time.

  • July 20, 2011

    by Beautiful Canvas

    Jaysie, I am currently using Dr. Perricone Concentrated Restorative Treatment. I just started, have not make up my mind about it yet. Hope to do a review on it in a few weeks.

  • July 19, 2011

    by Jaysie

    Dennis - Thank you so much for reminding me about TA! Several years ago I heard Dr. Perricone mention this "upcoming" ingredient which wasn't widely available at the time, and I'd forgotten about it.

  • July 19, 2011

    by Stephanie

    Dennis,
    Good luck with the program! I've always harbored the desire to become an aesthetician - congrats on taking the leap!

    Does the 750 hours refer to the amount of time you'll need to spend "in the filed" in order to get certified? Does the program give you access to clients for that?

    All the best,
    Stephanie

  • July 18, 2011

    by Mark

    Thanks to Dennis and Susan for their thoughts leading to Marta's post.
    I find my expectations regarding anti-aging were somewhat low before becoming a TIA member but thanks to the wealth of info. I've found here, I have a much higher aim. The reason is, I now know ingredients that work and products that have them. I need to look no further than my mirror to see proof.
    While improvement may appear subtle to us, I've found it sometimes to be more noticable to others less critical than ourselves.

  • July 17, 2011

    by Dennis

    Hi Steph. It is a 750 hour course in skin care. I will also learn makeup, though I'm not interested in that. I hope to work for a natural yet effective skin care line in the future. Maybe start my own line with Marta. wink wink.

  • July 16, 2011

    by sberger

    Hi Everyone,
    I've started a few topics in the forums, but so far no one has bitten. So I thought I'd come here to ask this question: does anyone have experience with the "The Organic Pharmacy" line? I've just come across it at a new apothecary in Chicago, and much of the line looks intriguing.

    Looking forward to hearing any info the TIA community might have to share.

    Steph

    ps Dennis, what does the esthology degree/program entail? How long will you be studying and what does it qualify you to do once you finish?

  • July 16, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    So much of our "aging" has to do with attitude, and ever since the first day I discovered TIA and this community, my attitude towards aging has advanced spiritually as well as technologically. This is my Cheers for overall wellbeing. I've learned so much, and I thank you, Marta. My skin is in much better shape than it would be without TIA, and because I do care about that- I feel better about myself. We live in a different world; a TIA world! =) ~jk

  • July 14, 2011

    by Dennis

    Marta, thank you for the good luck wishes! looking forward to learning myself :)

  • July 14, 2011

    by Dennis

    Hey Ann, yes, I did it at home. I also prepared my skin for a year using retin-a and AHA and I have had professional gylcolic peels. Most Dermatologist only recommend a month or so. If you plan to do it, do your research!

    The brand is skin obsession and you can find it on Amazon. They also carry lower percentage TCA peels for beginners.

    Products I'm using with TA are Dermalogica Thermafoliant as my scrub, Billy Jealousy White Knight Gentle Cleanser, and Skin Organics Super-C with Idebenone. I also have my eye on SkinMedica C+E, and Medik 8 Firewall, which Marta reviewed and liked minus the silicones. Emerita also makes a product called Skin Brightener that has TA at the top of its ingredient list. Good luck!

  • July 14, 2011

    by Marta

    Dennis, TIA would be nothing without you all. And you are right about the Clarisonic. It should have been included. As should microcurrent - a big help. As far as dermabrasion is concerned, I only have a little done every now and then and tend to agree that it doesn't do much. Good luck and school and I look forward to learning from you.

  • July 14, 2011

    by Ann

    Hi Dennis, Do you do the 25 TCA peel as a home treatment or is it a salon treatment? Which brand are you using? Also which products/brands are you using in terms of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate? Thanks for sharing and good luck with your studies! Ann

  • July 13, 2011

    by Dennis

    Marta! I'm so flattered by this post!

    I honestly feel that at a certain point, you must tear down and start from scratch instead of slowly repairing. I've recently, (as I'm sure you're tired of hearing) done a 25% TCA peel and no anti-aging serum, cream, moisturizer or scrub has ever remotely produced similar results. I know you get dermabrasion, and I have also had that performed - I just didn't see a difference.

    I'm surprised you didn't list the Clarisonic among your best finds. As far as vitamin C... well, you know I'm going to sing the praises of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. It is one of the best ingredients I have ever found for my skin. I think it deserves a lot more attention and should be in a lot more products.

    P.S. I start school for esthology soon. I must say this site really encouraged that as far as researching ingredients and how they work! Yay for TIA!

  • July 13, 2011

    by Alicia Ruhland

    I think Bobbi Brown said this, "People aren't afraid of aging and looking their age, they just want to look FRESH." I am only 27, but I thought how true. I am doing preventative measures now, not so I don't age appropriately, but to discourage any unnecessary damage. I think nothing looks better than a bright even complexion no matter how many wrinkles. Right now I am doing a series of 3 modified jessners peels because I have some post inflamatory hyperpigmentation and two small sunspots.

  • July 13, 2011

    by Rae

    I've just mostly stick with prescription retinoids. Luckily, my skin can tolerate it and that it's cheaper here in our country.

    I feel like nothing else compares. But as we all know, it has its letdowns like initial flaking, etc.

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