Fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and a loss of elasticity are common skin complaints among people everywhere. This is largely due to the fact that from age 20, we produce about one percent less skin-supporting collagen each year.1 

This is why dermatologists have been prescribing some form of retinoid for decades. Since hundreds of wrinkle creams and lotions are available over the counter, how do you know which are safe and effective? We'll show you what retinoids are and what to look for in a quality product

How Do Retinoids Work?

To understand how retinoids work, we need to first know a little about collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides structure to the body, as well as sustaining firmness and elasticity. Any decrease in collagen causes our skin to become thinner. Aging of the skin is due to two factors: intrinsic (which includes our genetics, as well as the natural act of aging) and extrinsic (which includes damage from the sun’s UV rays, smoking, and pollution).2

Our cells are always going through a constant regeneration process, but it begins to slow down with age, and collagen manufacturing also gets reduced. This is where wrinkle creams come in. When you apply retinol topically, the enzymes in your skin convert them at the cellular level to retinoic acid, which has been clinically shown to address the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.3

Retinoids are chemical derivatives of Vitamin A that have been proven in numerous studies to be effective in boosting cell turnover in the skin’s top layers, as well as stimulating the synthesis of collagen.4

Tips For Safe And Effective Use

  • Give It Time. Nonprescription levels of retinol based products can take up to 3 to 6 months of daily usage to achieve a noticeable difference.

Less is more. Use a pea-sized amount because more can cause irritation.
Use at night on clean, dry skin.

Avoid Using With Certain Products. Combining use with acne treatments, serums and masks containing benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid can worsen irritation.

Limit Time In Sun. Apply sunscreen with SPF of 30+ and avoid exposure during peak hours.

Ingredients to look for / additives to avoid

  • Retinyl Palmitate - The most stable form of Vitamin A
  • Peptides - Send signals to our skin cells to help them properly function 
  • Antioxidants - Protect skin by limiting the production of free radicals
  • Sulfates - Corrosive ingredient used in floor cleaners 
  • Parabens - Synthetic preservatives that can effect hormone levels
  • Heavy mineral oils - Clog pores and suffocate skin 
  • Petroleum - Also clogs pores and can't be metabolized

What to look for in a wrinkle cream

 Finding a wrinkle cream with the ingredients listed above is important, but there are some other factors we recommend considering:  

Transparent list of ingredients 

Many popular wrinkle creams on the market fail to list all of their ingredients on their labels. This means that you might be using a product with potentially harmful or unwanted chemicals. Look for a brand that isn’t afraid to list all of its active ingredients clearly on both its product label and its website. 

The right potency 

Retinol uses retinyl palmitate, an ester of Vitamin A. Because Vitamin A is not stable, it can lose its potency. Look for formulas that are stabilized or encapsulated to protect the integrity of Vitamin A. Additionally, sometimes creams contain too much retinol, which can inflame your skin. Unless your dermatologist prescribes more, try sticking to formulas with 1% retinol. 

Quality moisturization 

Properly hydrated skin is key to a clear, even tone. Studies suggest that hydration helps maintain the skin’s barrier and promote regular melanin production. To get the most comprehensive results, look for a wrinkle cream that doesn’t just help smooth your complexion, but moisturizes skin, too.3

Money-back guarantee 

Americans spend millions of dollars every year for youthful skin, and they still find themselves unhappy with an apparent lack of results. It’s better—and safer—to invest in a product that offers a 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee to show the company's faith in the potency of its product.

What Not to do when buying a wrinkle cream

Forget the Research

Contrary to popular belief, not all wrinkle moisturizers are the same. Brands use different formulas, so check that they contain the ingredients listed above.

Rely on Amazon Reviews

Up to 65% of Amazon reviews are written by paid individuals, and some of them might not have tried the product.

Prioritize Price Over Quality

We found that the some brands tended to fall short on potency. Focus on quality ingredients to avoid compromising on your health.

Our unique ranking system

At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the ingredients, safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. This method is known as the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.

The 5 Best Wrinkle Creams On The Market

Based on our own extensive research, the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top five products to help promote the appearance of flawless, smooth, even-toned skin.