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The Truth About Firming Creams
Many cosmetics companies sell products claiming to lift and firm skin. Their claims sound wonderful—like "face-lift in a bottle"—but almost without exception, they are not genuine. It's not that all firming creams are bad, but the vast majority are poorly formulated, and the promises they make stretch the truth well beyond what's possible from any skincare product.
The Facts about Creams Claiming to Firm Skin
Knowing the truth about firming creams matters because wasting money on products that don't work is never pretty!
- The various aspects of skin that give it resilience, support, and suppleness and allow it to "bounce" back into place with a feeling of firmness are vital to skin looking young.
- When we are young, our skin makes lots of substances that help it bounce back into place; older skin, on the other hand, makes almost none … nada … zilch!
- Environmental factors also play a role in degrading those important aspects of skin that give it the flexibility we all want.
- Many of those "firming" or "lifting" creams are a waste of money because they don't contain ingredients that can really firm or tighten (lift) skin, and their claims are way beyond reality.
- Skincare products that claim to work as well as procedures performed in professional settings simply aren't telling the truth, and there is no published research to the contrary.
But, there's some really good news: While skin can't actually make the substances that create the appearance of being lifted, we can use other resources to give it the appearance and feel we desire.
What Works to Make Skin Feel and Look Lifted
Here's what you can do to get started on the road to helping your skin feel and appear firmer and tighter. Using what really works will get you closer to the results you want!
- Sunscreen is at the top of the list—that is non-negotiable! Sun damage is considered by experts around the world to be one of the primary reasons skin loses its buoyant flexibility. Daily sun protection from a product of SPF 30 or greater is critical. Shockingly, research shows that less than 20% of us are using sunscreen every day, especially not on our necks, chest, and hands! That needs to change!
Broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater not only helps reduce the risk of early signs of aging, but also reduces the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen is a powerhouse youth-preserving skincare step, and it's never too late to start.
- Products loaded with antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients are incredibly important. These two types of ingredients help defend against environmental attack and help renew the appearance of firmness and lift. Potent antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients make all the difference in the world for skin.
- Daily use of a leave-on, gentle salicylic acid (BHA) or glycolic acid (AHA) exfoliant can make a huge difference—we can't stress this enough. Along with exfoliating for noticeably and dramatically smoother and more hydrated skin, these ingredients help skin's resiliency bounce back. You don't need to use both an AHA and BHA, one or the other is fine; if you like, you can alternate them.
- Retinol and niacinamide applied topically can improve almost every aspect of your skin. Both are skin-transforming, superhero ingredients that can address almost every imaginable skin concern—appearance of wrinkles, loss of firmness, and enlarged pores—and can revive the look of plump, youthful suppleness.
The products mentioned above are the best anti-aging and anti-sagging products you can consider, whether from Paula's Choice or another company. And remember: It is important that your skincare products are in airtight packaging—not in jars—to give those superstar (and delicate) ingredients the best chance of working effectively! That's because many of those hero ingredients, such as retinol, vitamin C, and other antioxidants, degrade if exposed to air and light.
References for this information:
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, March 2015, pages 271-280
Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, October 2015, pages 21-26
Dermatology, May 2014, pages 314-325
Dermatoendocrinology, July 2012, issue 3, pages 308-319
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, November 2010, pages 135-142
Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170-176
Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, 2006, issue 7, pages 2558-2562
Dermatological Surgery, 2005, issue 7 part 2, pages 860-865
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!