Wrinkle creams

Many of the today's over-the-counter skin creams and lotions promise to do more than moisturize the skin. They also claim to reduce wrinkles and prevent or reverse damage caused by aging and sun exposure. Some research suggests that wrinkle creams contain ingredients that may improve wrinkles. But many of these ingredients haven't been subjected to intensive research that proves this benefit. Here are some of the most common types of ingredients found in over the counter wrinkle creams, organized by known effectiveness.

Light regulation means no guarantees

The Food and Drug Administration considers these creams and lotions to be cosmetics, which are defined as having no medical value. So the Food and Drug Administration regulates them more lightly than it does drugs, which are defined as products that cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease, or that affect the structure or function of the human body. The Food and Drug Administration, steps in, however, when advertisements portray cosmetics as drugs. In 2004, for example, the Food and Drug Administration ordered a manufacturer to stop advertising its wrinkle cream as proven to reduce deep wrinkles up to 70 percent. The Food and Drug Administration also intervenes when cosmetics contain ingredients that may pose a potential health hazard to consumers. For example, in 2002, the Food and Drug Administration ordered manufacturers of products containing alpha hydroxyls acids to include a warning label stating that the acids may increase the risk of sunburn. Because the Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate cosmetic products for effectiveness, there's no guarantee that any over the counter product will reduce your wrinkles or even contain any of its advertised ingredients.

Sorting through the hype

If you shop for such products in a department store or pharmacy or on the Internet, you'll find hundreds of different brands containing a confusing array of ingredients. You may be tempted to experiment with different brands until you find one that works. But this approach may be expensive. It also may cause skin irritation and deprive you of the benefits of an effective skin-care regimen. Different skin creams and lotions may be more effective on dry, oily or sensitive skin. A dermatologist can help you take the guesswork out of selecting a wrinkle cream or lotion by assessing your skin type, evaluating your skin's condition, and determining if you're allergic to certain ingredients. If you're looking for a face-lift in a bottle, you probably won't find it in an anti-aging skin cream. Still, the use of such products may result in slight to modest improvements in wrinkles. Combining the right product with a proven medical or surgical treatment for wrinkles may be the most effective way of achieving a younger-looking face.

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