Do Skin-Tightening Creams Actually Do What They Claim To?

Most people would love to be able to turn back the clock if only to eliminate a few of the fine lines they've developed over time. While wrinkles naturally come with aging, that's not to say that we want to notice every new one that pops up on our faces. For that reason, skin-tightening creams have been a mainstay in the beauty industry for decades. While their active ingredients may have changed over the years, the science is only getting better — but does that mean they're really helping us hang onto our youthful appearance?

As explained by The Upside by, today's skin-tightening creams often have ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and retinol. "Firming creams must include ingredients designed to boost collagen and elasticity of the skin as firming the skin is not just about increasing hydration or turgor, but also about thickening the skin to give it more firmness, which comes from collagen and tone as well as enhanced elasticity," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Erum N. Ilyas told the source.

These formulated creams can help our skin boost its collagen production, which can result in the elasticity we need for a more youthful look. Do skin-tightening creams actually fight off wrinkles, though? Furthermore, how does hydration play a role in our skin's ability to retain its youthfulness? Let's separate the facts from the myths surrounding these skincare products.

Are skin-tightening creams really worth the hype?

If you're hoping to find a miracle in a jar for your wrinkles and fine lines, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) notes that you may be disappointed. Despite the large sums of money spent on marketing these products to customers fighting Father Time, the AAD states that skin-tightening creams provide "subtle" results at best. Specifically, products that claim to firm and lift sagging skin are largely ineffective — most dermatologists agree that lotions and creams do not penetrate the skin deeply enough to give you these types of results.

That being said, there are non-invasive alternatives you can turn to if you're disappointed to learn about the ineffectiveness of skin-tightening creams. For instance, some people undergo ultrasounds to provide heat deep within the skin to develop more firmness. Similarly, laser treatments can target heat deep into the skin to tighten it in certain areas. Depending on the non-invasive treatment, however, the results may only last a few months. Additionally, you may require more than one session to achieve the firmness you desire.

If it turns out that you're open to surgical options to address signs of aging, you can contact a board-certified dermatologist for more insight before making a final decision. They can help you determine which method of skin-tightening is best for you while taking any underlying health conditions you have into consideration.

How proper hydration keeps your skin looking youthful

While it's true that many of the skin-tightening creams on the market aren't all they're hyped up to be, hydration is something that shouldn't be overlooked, per the AAD. By keeping your skin moisturized, you can plump up its appearance, ultimately making fine lines look less visible.

Many of us engage in activities that sap moisture from our skin without even knowing it. WebMD notes that some of these include using harsh soap, taking hot showers or baths, and failing to drink enough water throughout the day. Some signs of dry skin are flaking, itchiness, and scaliness. "When the water content inside the cells decreases, the cells become shriveled," Dr. Michael Cameron, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, told WebMD. "The skin may look dull, lose its luster, and fine wrinkles can be more noticeable."

Simple ways to keep your skin hydrated include limiting the amount of time you spend bathing (no longer than 10 minutes) and using lukewarm water, using gentler soap, and making sure you drink plenty of water daily. When purchasing moisturizers, it's also important to be mindful of your skin type. "You want to avoid products that can clog your pores," Dr. Cameron told WebMD. "That can lead to acne, and the products we then have to use to treat it can sometimes dry you out even more."