QUESTION: “Do anti-wrinkle creams work? Do any products truly take care of wrinkles at all?”
DR. NEAL:Thank you for your question. I did some research and found that there are some things that may help keep the skin looking younger and healthier. But, here’s my disclaimer: anything that I mention here should be discussed with your dermatologist. Dermatologists are doctors that specialize in skin health and are a fantastic resource.
In the meantime, I’ll share with you what I found.
What is the skin's worst enemy?
The first thing I should mention is that the sun is probably the skin’s worst enemy.
In order to maintain the health of the skin, avoiding excess sun exposure is important. This could be accomplished by staying out of the sun or by wearing sunscreen when you go out. Now, you may be wondering how your body will produce enough vitamin D if you don’t expose the skin to sunlight or if you cover it with sunscreen.
Like I’ve said, it’s all about weighing the pros and cons: what’s most important to you? Is it skin health or making sure your body is producing enough vitamin D? You may want to discuss with your doctor whether vitamin D supplementation is worthwhile for you.
And fellas, if you’re hair’s getting a little thin on the top like mine, be sure to wear a cap or apply sunscreen to the top of your head.
Does drinking more water help with wrinkles?
Most dermatologists agree that simply drinking more water may not prevent excess wrinkles and dry skin.
Instead, applying products directly to the skin to help retain moisture is important.
When it comes to skin creams, there are some that dermatologists recommend to their patients. Many recommend finding those that contain vitamins A and C, hyaluronic acid, and acts as a moisturizer. Vitamins and A and C act as antioxidants. These in turn may help promote excess damage to the skin caused by the sun. Hyaluronic acid is interesting because it tends to attract water.
So, by applying hyaluronic acid to the skin, it pulls more water to that area helping the skin appear more plump.
There are lots of variations of skin creams on the market. Some will contain higher concentrations of each of the ingredients I just mentioned along with some other additives like turmeric, acai berry, or even green tea extract. The key is to discuss which will best suit you with your dermatologist, or at the very least, your primary care provider.
Do supplements help with wrinkles?
Next, supplements. Of course, discuss any supplements with your doctor before taking them. Then, if your doctor approves, check ConsumerLab.com to make sure the supplement passed quality testing.
A few studies have looked at the effects of collagen supplementation on wrinkling and skin elasticity. Each of the studies were well-designed. They used a randomized-placebo controlled trial. For example, a study published in 2019 found that women supplementing with a particular product, BioCell Collagen, seemed to help reduce skin wrinkling in women. The researchers provided the participants with a 500 mg dose twice daily. In case you’re wondering, the supplement specifically contained collagen, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.
A separate study found that women supplementing with 320 mg of cocoa flavanols each day also led to fewer wrinkles. And, yet another study looked at a different supplement altogether: Gold Collagen Forte. Study participants, most of whom identified as female, took 50 mL of the supplement each day for 3 months. At the end of the study, the researchers found that participants experienced improved elasticity.
The supplement contained vitamin B1, collagen, hyaluronic acid, borage oil, glucosamine and antioxidants; specifically, L-carnosine, resveratrol, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, pomegranate, and acai berry. So, it seems that the common ingredients between these supplements are some form of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and either chondroitin or glucosamine.
The good news is there are some options when it comes to skin health and maintaining healthy looking skin. Which one is right for you, whether it's anti-wrinkle creams or supplements, will depend on what your doctor says.
In the meantime, wear sunscreen regularly and try to avoid excess sun exposure.