Whether you agree or not, it's a reality that our society is obsessed with youth. And who can blame us? We're constantly inundated with cleverly worded advertisements that all boil down to promises of erasing those pesky signs of aging—aka sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Thanks to modern technology, we can turn back the clock with the help of anti-aging skincare products, non-invasive procedures, laser surgery, and other treatments, but if you'd prefer something that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine, then a good skin-tightening cream is an ideal place to start.
But not all skin-firming creams are created equally, which is why we reached out to Ronald Moy MD, FAAD of MFC Dermatology, to shed more light on the most effective treatments. "We start to see the skin loosen around the eyes and neck first. I recommend starting a preventative routine and adding tightening products to your regimen in your late 20s in order to prolong the appearance of youthful skin and help sagging before it even starts," he tells MyDomaine.
An effective skin cream is ideal for those "looking for zero downtime or perhaps have a very busy schedule and lifestyle." Depending on the procedure, most non-invasive treatments (which don't require any incisions or the removal of tissue) typically require three to seven or more days of recovery time. Downtime can also vary if you opt for a series of smaller treatments instead of a single one.
This should go without saying, but keep in mind that skincare creams aren't a magic wand that can erase all signs of aging overnight. An effective regimen requires preventative measures, including products that protect your skin from sun damage, keep your skin hydrated, and promote collagen production for plumper skin.
Below, Moy reveals the effective ingredient to look for when buying a skin-tightening cream, plus the best anti-aging products he recommends for a variety of skincare concerns and other rejuvenating treatments to consider.
The Ingredient to Look For
"Growth factors are the most effective in thickening and tightening skin," says Moy. "What happens when we age is that skin becomes thinner and we experience bone loss. The combination of those two results in sagging skin, so I highly recommend adding a growth factor to your skincare routine to increase collagen, stimulate stem cells in the skin, and create a more youthful look."
For avoiding sun damage: "SPF is the most important product to implement into your skincare routine. It's the number one culprit to aging skin," says Moy. "A broad spectrum, multifaceted sunscreen helps reverse and protect against photo damage while reversing sun damage with DNA-repairing enzymes. [These] are considered superior to traditional sunscreens in reducing cancerization and potentially preventing malignant transformation into invasive squamous cell carcinoma."
For brightening and targeting pigmentation: "This highly concentrated vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) acts as an antioxidant that squelches damaging free radicals and helps stimulate collagen synthesis for tighter skin," explains Moy. While there are plenty of vitamin C products available in the market, Moy points out that the ingredient is "an inherently unstable and light-sensitive molecule. Ferulic in this serum helps stabilize vitamin C, and the product's dark bottle helps keep it active by protecting it from light."
For hydrating dry skin: This gentle cleanser is "a good choice for those with dry skin. Glycerin is a humectant that holds water, leaving the skin feeling smooth and hydrated. For those with drier skin, washing off makeup and pollution at night is adequate; a gentle splash of water in the morning is fine."
For treating dark circles, crow's feet, and under-eye bags: "This high-impact, science-packed eye balm reverses and delay signs of aging," Moy says. It combines "for the first time, DNA-repairing enzymes and plant-based growth factor to combat the UV damage that causes 90% of visible aging while combating the loss of collagen that causes thinning and wrinkles." The balm's hyaluronic acid helps make the skin plump, while chamomile and cucumber extract soothes the skin.
For those looking to go beyond creams to see results, Moy suggests considering the following non-invasive treatments and surgical procedures:
- For skin tightening and refining: "Microneedling radiofrequency works by delivering heat energy to deeper layers of the skin, which generates collagen remodeling, increases skin tightness, and refines the skin's appearance. These devices use very fine needles which enter the skin at precise depths depending on treatment goals. Radiofrequency energy is then delivered between the pins, which precisely heats tissues to promote collagen production. Ultimately, this leads to skin tightening and rejuvenation."
- For aggressively treating fine lines, deep wrinkles, and more: "The Fractionated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser effectively treats fine lines, deep wrinkles, texture irregularities, and scarring. Its microscopic CO2 beams drill holes in the skin that stimulate a wound healing response that produces collagen. This tightens the skin and reduces wrinkles and lines."
- For removing excess, sagging skin: For older patients, Moy suggests facelifts for tightening underlying muscles and deep tissues to "provide a lifted, smoother look. A facelift can correct midface sagging, hanging jowls, and a double chin. Facelift results can last for 10 years and often make patients look 10 to 15 years younger. We typically perform all of these procedures under tumescent local anesthesia or twilight anesthesia, both of which are safer than general anesthesia."
Have you found a skin-tightening cream that works? Share your favorites in the comments.