Why Your Skin Firming Cream Probably Isn't Living Up To The Hype

Everyone wants youthful skin no matter their age. Consequently, the first sign of puffiness or fine lines can send many people looking for a fast remedy. While some run to their dermatologist for in-office procedures, others who can't afford expensive injections or don't wish to surgically alter their face often search for the perfect topical treatment to keep facial skin taut.


That can be a feat all of its own. The mass selection of anti-aging creams available in every major pharmacy and online retailer is quite simply overwhelming. While our mothers' facial moisturizers revolved around Oil of Olay and Ponds Cold Cream, today's products yield bigger results.

Having youthful skin isn't as much about not appearing your age as it is about ensuring that your skin looks hydrated, nourished, and vibrant. One of the most common store-bought treatments for sagging skin and wrinkles is skin firming creams. However, they may not deliver all that they promise.

How skin firming cream works

One of the major skin changes that occur as we age is a decrease in the proteins collagen and elastin. Collagen is what keeps skin looking tight and firm by giving it support, and with each passing year, some collagen is lost.


"We know that after age 25, our bodies start producing less collagen at a rate of about 1% less per year in the skin so that by the time we're 50, there is almost no new collagen being made and the collagen that remains becomes broken down, fragmented and weaker," dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein told Byrdie. While skin firming creams are not a cure and won't magically transform your whole face, what they can do is help the skin to cultivate more natural collagen.

Similarly, elastin is what helps the skin, blood vessels, and ligaments stretch. When elastin production decreases the bounce-back ability of the skin diminishes. Skin firming creams are also thought to foster elastin. Yet, the results are modest at best as well as fleeting.


The limitations of skin firming cream

Most dermatologists agree that using skin firming creams work best when used in conjunction with in-office treatments. On their own, the creams provide a temporary boost at best.

"In-clinic treatments help with collagen boosting, fat reduction, skin firming, and tightening much more significantly than topical products, because they can deliver energy under the skin's surface," Dr. Harshna Bijlani told Vogue India. "This is something that topical creams and products cannot deliver."


Skin firming creams may help give off a smoother and healthier look to your skin, even if temporarily. That's because skin that is hydrated naturally looks more youthful so theoretically using a regular moisturizer can also help lessen the appearance of fine lines. When choosing a skin firming cream look for ingredients that work best to firm up the skin, including hyaluronic acid, retinol, collagen-boosting peptides, and alpha hydroxy acids. "Keep in mind that your creams are there to complement your treatments, not as a failsafe substitute," said Bijlani.