Americans spend around a billion dollars a year on "anti-aging skin care products," according to Statista, but how many of these wrinkle creams actually work? Even ones that come with a hefty price tag don't always do what they promise; "many of the potions and creams available are as good as a smoke screen for a bad magic show," noted Total Beauty. A poorly formulated product can smell bad, irritate the fragile skin of your face, and might have zero impact on fine lines and wrinkles, even after long-term, religious use.
Does that mean we have no choice but to accept the ravages of time, unchecked? Not quite. According to medical aesthetician Candace Marino aka The LA Facialist, there are indeed anti-aging creams that will keep you fresh-faced, but you do need to do your homework and make sure there are independent studies verifying their effectiveness. Homework isn't your thing? Fortunately, in an interview with The List, Marino did the background check for you. Here are her picks for products that actually work — this aesthetician to the stars has seen the results herself on the faces of her celebrity clientele.
Facial lotions that will pep up your complexion
Marino is a big fan of Jan Marini Regeneration Booster, "because of its powerful ingredient deck that supports collagen production while protecting and hydrating the skin," she said. "The formula contains multiple growth factors and peptides, alongside coenzyme Q10, antioxidants, and hydration. The combination of collagen-producing and protecting ingredients make this the perfect addition for all skin types with age concerns such as wrinkles, texture, elasticity, pore size, and radiance." Results matter, and this patented peptide-based face lotion has undergone an independent clinical study that proved the product improves aging skin, Marino pointed out. All subjects in the study said their complexion looked better after using the product over three months, noting statistically significant improvement in at least three of the following categories: wrinkles, texture, pore size, elasticity, skin clarity/uniformity, and hydration. None reported sensitivity or irritation.
Another option at the top of Marino's list: iS Clinical Youth Intensive Creme. She describes this product as "rich in texture and packed with beneficial ingredients to improve textural concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, while boosting the skin's firmness." Noting that this cream is "a top seller in [her] clinic for clients who want a rich and hydrating formula," Marino praised the product's "antioxidants and growth factors to protect the skin, while providing a boost in collagen and botanically derived acids to mildly exfoliate the skin to allow for gentle resurfacing and the penetration of the hydrating components of this cream."
Our expert says The Rich Cream is the cream of the crop
Have you heard of The Cream by Augustinus Bader? Make space on your shelf for an even more nourishing version of this product, The Rich Cream. (Which has a $265 price tag, incidentally.) Marino's clients are willing to part with this much change because they see real change in their complexions. "This product has a cult following for a reason–it works!" Marino explained. "It contains replenishing and protective argan, avocado, and evening primrose oils rich in omega acids and antioxidants to protect the skin from damaging free radicals." Marino credits the technology used to formulate this product for its effectiveness, which "mimics the skin's own natural healing process to regenerate cells to improve skin elasticity, volume, and firmness," she said.
A cream-of-the-crop lotion is great, but what about a top-of-the-line serum? Look no further than SENTE's Dermal Contour Pressed serum, which Marino described as "a hybrid anti-aging serum formulated with patented HSA Technology combined with CSA (chondroitin sulfate analog) & DSA (dermatan sulfate analog)." What's so great about these ingredients? According to Marino, they "support the skin's natural ability to help bundle, strengthen, and protect collagen and elastin fibers." Marino recommends this product specifically to "clients who have course lines and wrinkles, and have developed a reduction of laxity in the skin over time," she said. "It is designed to firm, volumize, and help the skin achieve a rebound effect."
The best choice for natural and organic beauty shoppers
If this sounds a little science-y for you, and you prefer your products to come from natural sources, then Marino recommends Furtuna Skin's Rinascita Delle Olive Replenishing Balm. "This is my go-to suggestion for my clients who prefer organic or natural products; it is also a great add-on to any routine as it plays well with all other ingredients and formulations," she said.
And Marino uses this product herself. "I use this as the last step of my routine morning and night; its potent blend of medicinal botanicals rejuvenate stressed skin while restoring hydration and radiance. Its index of protective antioxidants helps prevent damage from the environment while replenishing and repairing cells, to improve the texture and radiance of the skin while providing deep nourishment." The lotion's ingredients have a pretty impressive pedigree, too, Marino added. "Furtuna's entire line is wild foraged from a private estate in Sicily, where they grow thousands of organic botanicals watered by a natural spring," she said. "If you're looking for organic, there's nothing more potent, luxurious, and effective than this line."