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The Best Wrinkle Creams – 2019 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Our Research

52
Wrinkle Creams Considered
28
Hours of Research
4
Sleep Experts Consulted

Quick Overview

Anti-aging skincare is more exciting than ever. But with so many anti-wrinkle creams on the market, it can be hard to find the best wrinkle cream for your skin. Choosing the wrong cream isn’t just a waste of time and money. Many wrinkle creams are meant to be worn at night, when a heavy or irritating cream can make it difficult to sleep. Potent active ingredients can also lead to breakouts or rashes.

The right anti-wrinkle cream will sink into your skin at night and leave it feeling smooth and hydrated in the morning.

After carefully considering a wide range of products, we’ve chosen our top five anti-wrinkle creams. Continue reading after the reviews for a guide to anti-aging ingredients, what to look for in a wrinkle cream, and more.

Our Top 5 Picks

The Best Wrinkle Creams – Reviewed

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer

Highlights

  • Reduces fine lines and sun spots
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Good for acne-prone skin
  • Pump dispenser makes application easy
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Product Overview

This anti-wrinkle cream keeps it simple by focusing on two proven ingredients: anti-aging retinol and moisturizing hyaluronic acid. Neutrogena’s Accelerated Retinol blend combines the two with a sugar solution to boost their effectiveness and reduce the irritation retinol can cause.

More active ingredients isn’t always better. Depending on your skin care routine and skin type, staying with the two most popular can make it less likely for different products to interact.

Night moisturizers can sometimes be heavy, but this cream is light and easily absorbed. This makes it an ideal choice for acne-prone skin which needs non-greasy moisture. However, some reviewers with dry skin found they needed a heavier moisturizer to balance retinol’s drying effects.

Tree of Life Retinol Serum

Tree of Life Retinol Serum

Highlights

  • 72% organic ingredients
  • Paraben and cruelty-free
  • Sinks into the skin completely once dry
  • Jojoba oil mimics skin’s natural protection
  • Reduces redness and irritation
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Product Overview

Forget about face cream stains on your pillow: this liquid serum formula dries and sinks into your skin within sixty seconds. One drop delivers retinol and hyaluronic acid as well as anti-inflammatory green tea and vitamin E. These soothing ingredients are ideal if you want powerful anti-aging capabilities but have acne-prone skin or rosacea.

While some serums are meant to be used in addition to moisturizer, reviewers found this could be used on its own for most skin types.

Tree of Life Retinol Serum features vegan, plant-derived hyaluronic acid and soothing natural ingredients like jojoba oil and witch hazel. If avoiding manufactured ingredients is a priority for you, this serum is an excellent choice.

Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creme

Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creme

Highlights

  • Fragrance and alcohol-free
  • Not tested on animals
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Thick cream to soothe dryness and irritation
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Product Overview

While retinol has proven anti-aging benefits, it can cause flaking and irritation if your skin is very sensitive. Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creme uses the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 as an effective, skin-friendly alternative.

Coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) is naturally produced by your skin, but levels fall as you age and contribute to sagging skin and loss of collagen. By introducing a new source of coQ10 as well as vitamin E, this cream reduces wrinkles and revitalizes dull skin.

The cream has a thick texture which some reviewers found to be uncomfortable at night. To reduce the feeling of heaviness, apply your cream in a thin layer over damp skin.

Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer

Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer

Highlights

  • 2.5% retinol by volume
  • Green tea and aloe reduce sun damage and sun spots
  • Ultra moisturizing
  • Cruelty-free and made in the USA
  • 90-day “happiness guarantee” for returns
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Product Overview

It can be hard to find a soothing, hydrating moisturizer with high retinol levels. Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer balances retinol with green tea, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and aloe to leave your skin soft, glowing, and lifted.

When retinol is applied to the skin, enzymes turn it into Retin-A, a highly effective anti-aging compound. The 2.5% retinol content in this moisturizer is the strongest available without a prescription.

Reviewers appreciate the sanitary dispenser, which ensures you won’t waste product or introduce bacteria. While most people can use this as both a day and night moisturizer, Body Merry suggests that it works best as a night treatment for anyone with dry or sensitive skin.

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer

Highlights

  • 2.5% retinol by volume
  • No fragrance or parabens
  • Gluten-free, not tested on animals
  • Reduces the appearance of scars and blemishes
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Product Overview

The best anti-wrinkle creams all fight the usual signs of aging: wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage, and rough skin texture. LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer also tackles acne scarring with high levels of retinol and vitamin E, leading to visible results for many reviewers.

Hyaluronic acid hydrates even very dry skin, while green tea and plant extracts help your skin regain its youthful glow. The fragrance and paraben-free formula makes this cream safe for sensitive or acne-prone customers looking for a retinol cream which won’t make them break out.

The cream has a thick texture but spreads well and sinks in quickly, making this an excellent night cream for almost all skin types.

Buying Guide – How to Shop for Wrinkle Cream

Before choosing a new wrinkle cream, it’s crucial to know what you want it to achieve, what ingredients to look for, and what details to consider.

In the guide below we’ll walk you through this process. By the end, you should feel comfortable choosing the best anti-wrinkle cream for your skin.

Why Use a Wrinkle Cream?

Despite their name, wrinkle creams do more than reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The best have ingredients which combat all signs of aging and sun damage. Even if wrinkles aren’t a concern for you yet, these ingredients can also be useful for acne, rosacea, scarring, and other conditions.

  • Moisturizing: Because anti-wrinkle creams are also a moisturizer, they take advantage of the anti-aging effects of just hydrating your skin. Moisturized skin looks brighter, healthier, and less flaky. However, sometimes moisturizers are less effective because of dead cell build-up on aging skin. By adding anti-aging ingredients, the moisturizing properties of your cream can do their work more efficiently.
  • Wrinkles: Whether you’re concerned about future lines or want to minimize the ones you have, this is what wrinkle creams were made for. Ingredients like retinol and coenzyme Q10 have been proven to prevent and reduce their appearance.
  • Other signs of aging: Sun damage and the natural aging process can lead to age spots, a rough and dull skin texture, and skin which appears to sag. Introducing antioxidants and vitamins back to your skin will help you avoid seeing these signs of damage in the mirror.
  • Acne and other skin conditions: Retinol is a retinoid, much like prescription acne treatments like Retin-A. Not everyone tolerates the side effects of prescription-strength retinoids, making anti-wrinkle creams with retinol a good compromise for clearer skin. Other active ingredients like coenzyme Q10, green tea, and vitamin E can soothe outbreaks of rosacea or eczema.
  • Scarring: Retinol, hydroxy acids, and vitamin E are three of the most powerful ingredients available for treating scars. Plump, hydrated skin softens the edges of pitted scars, while anti-aging ingredients can reduce the appearance of raised scars and keloid scarring.

Active Wrinkle Cream Ingredients

Now that you’re familiar with what wrinkle creams can do, it’s time to explore how they achieve those results. The following table illustrates characteristics and benefits of active ingredients commonly found in wrinkle creams.

Ingredient Description Benefits
CoQ10 An antioxidant called coenzyme Q10 which is naturally produced by the skin. Levels decrease as we age, leaving our skin vulnerable to damage. Like all antioxidants, coQ10 prevents and reverses sun damage over time. A clinical study also showed that it can reduce fine lines and wrinkles when used daily, making it perfect for both prevention and treatment.
Grapeseed Oil An oil cold-pressed from the seeds of wine grapes. Often used as a base for other ingredients, grapeseed oil contains natural vitamin E and has anti-inflammatory properties. Since it is lighter than other oils, it can be used by almost all skin types to reduce irritation, boost vitamin E levels, and smooth skin.
Green Tea Young tea leaves. Usually found as an extract in wrinkle cream. Both the extract and the tea are antibacterial and have powerful antioxidants and nutrients. Creams with green tea are perfect for acne or rosacea-prone skin. Retinol creams also use green tea to prevent irritation.
Hyaluronic Acid A naturally-occurring molecule capable of holding and retaining a thousand times its weight in water. The level of hyaluronic acid in our skin decreases with time. Adding hyaluronic acid back through face cream allows your skin to keep the moisture it needs to stay bright and fresh-looking. Properly moisturized skin also has fewer fine lines.
Hydroxy Acid Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) are called “fruit acids” and can also be found in milk and sugar cane. AHAs and BHAs work on two levels. On the surface of your skin, they exfoliate powerfully but gently by breaking the bond between dead cells and your skin. On a deeper level, they stimulate collagen production. Your skin is left firmer, smoother, and brighter.
Peptides Chains of amino acids which instruct the skin on what proteins to create, including collagen. Collagen-enhancing peptides are the most common in skin care. Aging skin loses collagen, but stimulating its production prevents and reverses both fine lines and deeper wrinkles.
Retinol A type of Vitamin A, related to prescription products like Retin-A. Most people are fine with the levels in anti-aging cream, but people with sensitive skin can find it irritating. Retinol is considered the most effective anti-aging ingredient. In addition to stimulating collagen production, it reduces wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage, age spots, and scarring. Wrinkle creams with retinol also work well for acne-prone skin.
Vitamin C An antioxidant vitamin usually found in the form of ascorbic acid. Both sun damage and normal aging involve oxidation. Wrinkle creams use antioxidants like Vitamin C to brighten and smooth skin, reduce wrinkles, and fade age spots. It also promotes elastin production for firmer skin.
Vitamin E An antioxidant vitamin. A combination of vitamin C and vitamin E offers your skin natural sun protection. On its own, vitamin E softens scars and improves your skin’s ability to stay hydrated. As a soothing antioxidant, it is often paired with retinol.

The Importance of Sunscreen

Many common ingredients like retinol and hydroxy acids can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, leading to more sun damage or even sunburn.

Ultraviolet rays also make the ingredients less effective. As a result most creams with retinol or hydroxy acids are meant to be applied before bed, leaving your skin with ample time to make use of them.

Whether your wrinkle cream contains retinol or not, make sure to apply sunscreen every morning. Dermatologists recommend sunscreen as one of the best ways to prevent the signs of aging. While our skin ages naturally, sun damage accelerates the process and is one of the leading causes of age spots (also called “sun spots” for this reason).

The Feel of Wrinkle Cream

Even the best wrinkle creams can vary in texture from a thin serum, to a light or even watery lotion, to a heavy cream. What works best for you will depend on your skin type and how you like to apply your moisturizer.

Heavy creams which don’t sink into the skin easily can be uncomfortable to apply before bed. At their worst, they can leave your face feeling sticky or hot and can stain your pillow (particularly if you’re a side or stomach sleeper).

Most people already know what type of cream they prefer. If you prefer a heavy cream but need one which won’t clog your pores, look for thick lotions meant for acne-prone skin. If you find heavy creams make it difficult to fall asleep (or just bother you) then consider moving your skincare routine to earlier in the evening. Applying cream to damp skin can also make it spread more easily and sink in faster.

Day Cream vs. Night Cream

Ordinarily, day creams have a lighter texture than night creams. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Day creams are usually meant to be worn under makeup
  • Sleep is an excellent time for your skin to repair any damage done during the day

Anti-wrinkle creams are often meant as night creams. Some ingredients (like retinol and hydroxy acids) can increase sun sensitivity and lose effectiveness in daylight. Depending on the product, these night creams can be as light as a day cream or very heavy.

Most regular day creams contain sunscreen. However, wrinkle day creams (or those meant to be applied twice a day) rarely do. If you choose one of these products, remember to apply a separate sunscreen cream every day.

Key Considerations for Wrinkle Cream Shoppers

Active ingredients get the most attention, but other ingredients in anti-wrinkle cream have their own benefits. In addition to their anti-aging properties, creams and serums moisturize your skin. Different products will use different ingredients to attract and seal in moisture, repair damage, and smooth out rough areas.

Preservatives are also a misunderstood but important part of creams. Many of the ingredients in moisturizers are attractive to bacteria and mold. Antibacterial and antifungal ingredients keep your product safe and effective. If you’re concerned by parabens and other manufactured ingredients, natural preservatives like essential oils and daikon seed extract are popular alternatives.

If you have sensitive skin, look for fragrance-free formulas. While this doesn’t mean the cream will be scentless, it will have no potentially-irritating fragrance ingredients added. This can also be the deciding factor in a night cream for anyone who finds strong scents make it difficult to fall asleep.

Natural and Organic Creams

It is easier than ever to find natural skincare products. However, many natural ingredients in wrinkle cream can sound synthetic when reading the ingredient list. As skincare becomes more scientific, scientific names are used more often. For customers used to only seeing complex names for manufactured ingredients, this can be confusing.

Skincare companies dedicated to natural products will usually explain the complicated names on their ingredient lists. (Hyaluronic acid, for example, can be extracted from plants. Hydroxy acids are often sourced from milk and sugar cane.)

While the word “natural” has no restrictions on who uses it, the FDA has strict guidelines for using the word “organic”. This makes choosing a more natural product easier, as synthetic ingredients are not organic by definition.

One thing to remember is that natural does not always mean safer, more effective, or less likely to cause irritation. Common natural ingredients like lanolin and plant extracts can sometimes provoke an allergic reaction which is easy to mistake for retinol sensitivity. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s still important to look for a hypoallergenic label.

Vegan and Cruelty-Free Creams

Both terms go together, but these are their common definitions:

  • Vegan:Contains no ingredients sourced from animals. Common ingredients which are left out from vegan products include milk-based alpha hydroxy acids, honey and bee propolis, lanolin from sheep’s wool, and gelatin stabilizers.
  • Cruelty-free:Was not tested on animals. Instead, cruelty-free products are tested for safety and effectiveness using laboratory research and human volunteers. However, many ingredients now used were initially tested in the past using animals. Supporting cruelty-free companies does not support this older testing, but it is up to you if you want to avoid these ingredients.

Like the word “natural”, there are no legal definitions for vegan or cruelty-free products. Many companies advertise their vegan status, but if there’s no mention on the label (usually shown as a capital letter V) it’s a good idea to contact the company directly.

Other Buying Factors

  • Subscribe & Save: If you find a wrinkle cream you love, Amazon’s Subscribe & Save option can save you both time and money. Subscribing to a product means Amazon will automatically deliver it as often as you request. You can choose for it to be delivered every month, or up to every six months. The more items you subscribe to, the higher your savings will be.
  • Shipping and delivery: On Amazon, most creams qualify for free shipping or are eligible for Prime. When buying from other sites, make sure to check shipping fees. Wrinkle creams can be heavy for their size and expensive if there is no free shipping option. Customers outside the continental United States, or in other countries, may not qualify for free shipping.
  • Warranty and returns: Skincare can be expensive. If you haven’t tried a product before, look into the return policy. Some companies will accept returns in the case of irritation, while others will not. If you receive a damaged product, make sure to contact the company to find out the next step.
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