Anti-aging creams containing retinol, hydroxy acids, and all kinds of enzymes and botanicals crowd drugstore shelves and pharmacies. You can't turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing a new "revolutionary" product that promises to turn back time. Before you blow your paycheck on a 3 oz jar of anti-aging cream, be sure you understand what these topical treatments can do.

Why Skin Ages

As we get older, our skin loses moisture, thickness, elasticity, and it regenerates at a slower rate. These changes can lead to wrinkles, unevenness, and changes in texture. Sun exposure and heredity can also impact how each person will be affected. There is no known way to stop this process, but topical treatments can improve the appearance of older skin and stimulate it to appear younger.

Key Ingredients in Anti-Aging Creams

Here are some common ingredients in skin creams and how they work:
  • Retinol is one of the most widely-known treatments. It has a Vitamin A compound that combats damaging free radicals.
  • Tretinoin is a prescription-only treatment derived from Vitamin A like retinol, but is more potent.
  • Hydroxy acids are derived from different fruits and stimulate skin exfoliation.
  • Copper peptides help skin to heal and stimulate collagen production.
  • Coenzyme Q10 can help balance skin cells energy production and is a popular ingredient in eye creams.
  • Various botanicals like tea extracts, caffeine, and kinetin are often used in anti-aging creams for their antioxidant and moisturizing qualities.