When creating an anti-aging routine, most people tend to focus on products that tackle fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and texture issues. They often end up overlooking formulas that address a loss of firmness and elasticity, despite the fact that these issues can lead to dramatic changes in the skin.
As we get older, our natural levels of collagen and elastin decline, which can lead to sagging in the skin. This is why we recommend adding a tightening cream to your routine. This type of product is specifically designed to target sagginess, working to firm the skin and improve elasticity to promote a plump, youthful glow. If you’re looking to create the ultimate anti-aging routine, you’ve come to the right place. We’re breaking down 10 of the best skin tightening creams of 2023, as well as when to use them.
What Exactly Is a Tightening Cream?
As the name implies, tightening creams are made with ingredients that work to lift, firm and tone the skin to promote a younger appearance. They’re designed to counteract the effects aging can have on the skin. Some tightening creams are made specifically for the face; others are created to target sagging on other areas of the body, such as the neck, chest, arms and stomach.
You probably have one big question: Do tightening creams actually work? The short answer is yes – so long as you’re using a high-quality formula made with effective, science-backed ingredients.
While you shouldn’t expect a tightening cream to dramatically lift your skin or take 20 years off your face, top-quality formulas will work to maintain your skin’s integrity and structure while reversing visible signs of aging. Along with sticking to a regular skin-care routine (which should include cleansing, moisturizing, using serums and applying sunscreen daily), a tightening cream can help keep your skin looking youthful, plump and glowing.
Who Should Use a Tightening Cream?
Anyone can use a tightening cream, no matter their age or gender. If you’re looking to target or prevent signs of aging, you can benefit from adding a tightening cream to your routine. It will round out an anti-aging routine to help you maintain firm skin from head to toe.
However, make sure the cream you choose works for your skin type. For example, if you have sensitive skin, a formula with ingredients that may cause irritation (like retinoids or chemical exfoliants) may not be suitable for your skin. If you have oily skin, you will want to find a product that has a gel or lightweight cream texture that won’t feel greasy or heavy.
How Often Do You Need to Use It?
The frequency with which you use a tightening cream will depend on the product you use, so it’s important to refer to the instructions for the most accurate usage directions. However, as a general rule of thumb, most tightening creams should be used on a daily basis (some can be used twice a day). The key thing to remember is that you need to be consistent to see the best results.
Ingredients to Look For in a Tightening Cream
Certain key ingredients are particularly beneficial when it comes to promoting and maintaining firm, youthful skin. Formulas made with retinoids are highly effective. Retinoids stimulate skin-cell turnover, which means they don’t just help with firmness and elasticity; they can also improve skin tone and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
We also suggest seeking out tightening creams powered by vitamin C. This vitamin is a multitasking antioxidant that promotes the production of collagen, a protein that plays an essential role in keeping the skin firm, elastic and youthful. It also brightens the skin for a more radiant glow.
Vitamin C provides antioxidant protection against damaging free radicals, thus maintaining the integrity and strength of existing collagen and elastin in the skin. For this reason, we also recommend looking for formulas made with other antioxidants and antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as vitamin E, CoQ10, resveratrol and green tea extract.
Peptides are incredibly beneficial for those looking to tighten and firm their skin. These ingredients improve elasticity, and can smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Beyond these active ingredients, it’s important to look for creams made with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients that plump the skin with moisture, as this will promote an overall more youthful look. Some of our favorites include squalane, mango seed butter, shea butter, plant oils, glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
One of our favorite products specifically made for the neck is the Dr. Brandt Neck Sculpting Cream, which is crafted without fragrances, phthalates or parabens. The cream is designed to sculpt and tighten the neck and jawline while improving firmness, elasticity and hydration and boosting the production of collagen. After two weeks of use, 88% of participants in a study reported that their skin looked smoother, and after four weeks, 100% saw an improvement in elasticity.
This Dr. Brandt Skincare cream is made with a sculpting complex that features spirulina, caffeine, soy isoflavones and guarana extract. These ingredients work in tandem to boost firmness while tightening the area under the chin. This complex is joined by pea extract, a plant-derived protein that instantly tightens the skin for a more youthful, lifted look. It also increases moisture levels in the skin for a softer, smoother complexion.
In addition, the formula features a firming complex made up of hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, panthenol and glycerin. These ingredients deeply hydrate the skin as they reduce the risk of moisture loss for up to 72 hours. As they plump the skin with moisture, they help smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the neck.
This product comes with a rose quartz gua sha tool, which can be used when applying the cream. The tool helps boost circulation to promote a more youthful appearance.