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Anti-aging creams contain all manner of ingredients and how effective these ingredients are is entirely up for debate. One of the most effective ingredients that actually works - that actually has a huge amount of research behind it - is retinoids.
It'll probably be named "retinol" in the ingredients list and helps to undo damage caused by the sun, plumping skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The trouble with retinoids is that they can be quite irritating to skin if you've never used them before, so you'll need to start slowly with just a little bit before building up to using them every day.
Another ingredient that you want to look for is hyaluronic acid as it helps to smooth skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But generally, all you really need is something that properly hydrates the skin, so you need to look for products that contain both humectants (ingredients that draw water to the skin), like hyaluronic acid and emollients, which lock in moisture and prevent moisture loss, like petrolatum. Provided that the moisturizer is the right formula for your skin and you use something that's extra-nourishing on more vulnerable parts of the body, like the neck and knees, you'll be fine.
Can Anti-Aging Creams Damage My Skin?
Unfortunately, yes. If you start using products that contain strong ingredients, like retinols, before you even see any lines as a means of preventing aging before it begins, you might be surprised to see the opposite happen - more fine lines and wrinkles develop. That's because retinols and hylaronic acid - as well as other anti-aging products - can irritate skin so much that it becomes dry, cracked and much more sensitive. These ingredients can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun because they start to break down the protective lipid layer, which means that your skin has less natural protection - and so if you're a little bit lax with your SPF regime or if you don't use enough sunscreen, you might find that anti-aging cream could actually age your skin.
Another myth we want to bust is the use of Botox and fillers to prevent and slow down the aging process. We hear that many people - starting as early as their teens - use Botox because they believe it'll stop wrinkles from ever forming. But all this really means is that their face ends up looking frozen and 9 times out of 10, will actually cause users to look a little bit older than their age.
Sunscreen is really the only preventative worth using, but you do have to use it everyday - even when it's cloudy out or if you're indoors all day - for it to work properly.