Wrinkles. As a society we seem to be obsessed with them—getting rid of them, that is. Do you have jars and jars of anti-wrinkle cream, under eye bag cream, and more? Women are served up ads on social media, inundated with infomercials, and targeted with print ads all in the name of reaching someone else’s standard of beauty (which usually wants us to appear at least 20 years younger).
Aside from a lengthy discussion on natural beauty versus reaching the consumer-driven standard, what are the realistic expectations of over-the-counter beauty creams and lotions? If what you want is healthy skin and a bit of a glow (and maybe a few less wrinkles), what can you expect when visiting your local drugstore or beauty supply store and purchasing one of these promises in a bottle?
The empty promise
Many creams and potions tout miracle results: A flawless face, wrinkle erasure, beautiful and glowing skin, and so much more. But we know by now that these bottles and the companies behind them are pulling our legs. Nothing in a bottle or jar will be able to bring you back to your 20s, 30s or even 40s. The natural passage of time (and every wrinkle it adds) is a strong force and one that we humans have no control over. However, some ingredients in these formulas can keep your skin healthy and moisturized, which will help you to put your best face forward.
Here are some common finds in the beauty aisle and what they mean:
Retinoids – These vitamin A compounds are added to many wrinkle creams because of their proven effectiveness in reducing sun damage as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C – This potent antioxidant may help protect skin from sun damage and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, just like its vitamin A counterpart. You can reap even more skin enhancing benefits by consuming vitamin C in your diet in the form of citrus or supplements.
Hydroxy acids – These help to remove dead skin cells, also called exfoliation, which prepares your skin to better absorb other products.
Coenzyme Q10 – This common ingredient helps to reduce fine wrinkles around the eyes and protects the skin from sun damage.
Peptides – Peptides are molecules that occur naturally in living things. As far as beauty boosters go, these little guys can help stimulate collagen production.
Tea extracts – Many products include these in their ingredient list because they have natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Grape seed extract – This promotes collagen production and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Niacinamide – this substance is like vitamin B-3 and helps to reduce water loss in the skin, improving moisture as well as elasticity.
Over-the-counter concoctions will have less potency, and less concentration of the above ingredients, than prescriptions. But that doesn’t mean that prescriptions offer a miracle either. Not only that, but cost does not seem to be a huge factor in determining how effective a product will be. So, before you drop $100 for 2oz. jar of anti-wrinkle cream, do your research.
A healthier life for less wrinkles
You may not need to find a miracle to keep your skin from developing wrinkles. Some daily lifestyle choices can contribute not only to glowing skin but also a vibrant, healthy body. Cigarettes, for instance, cause premature aging as does too much alcohol consumption. So, if you want to keep yourself feeling young, quitting or reducing bad habits like these are vital.
Opting, instead, for a healthy diet, an enjoyable workout routine, frequent sunscreen usage, and a balanced mind-body connection through meditation or yoga, can make all the difference when it comes to how we age. After all, how we look on the outside is just a reflection of what is going on inside. A healthy body means healthy, glowing, and younger looking skin too, wrinkles or no wrinkles.