Comparison of firming creams

Written by kristen hampton
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Comparison of firming creams
Examining ingredients in firming cream can be a helpful way of comparing the products. (face cream image by PinkShot from Fotolia.com)

The skin care industry is booming, especially in the antiaging arena. One reason people purchase antiaging products is to firm and tighten skin. Since there are a plethora of products on the market, knowing which is right for you can be difficult. When comparing firming creams, take a look at the ingredients listed on the label. Knowing what's inside the cream will help you understand how it may work for you.

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Co-Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (also called Co-Q10) is a natural element found within human skin cells, where it helps cells produce energy. As people age, levels of Co-Q10 in skin diminish, causing loose or saggy skin, fine lines and wrinkles.

Using a firming cream that contains Co-Q10 can help you achieve a firmer-looking skin surface. This antioxidant stimulates energy production in cells, which creates a firming effect. The enzyme can be found in many over-the-counter products sold by mass retailers.

Collagen

Collagen is a popular ingredient in antiaging creams. Collagen doesn't actually firm skin but it does give skin a smoother, tighter appearance. Collagen, which is a protein naturally found in the skin, diminishes as people age. Skin care companies claim that reinfusing the skin with collagen helps to fill in wrinkles and fine lines, making skin look plumper, smoother and tighter and lending a firming effect. One thing to note is that collagen molecules found in skin-firming creams are too big for the skin to absorb. Since they can't penetrate the dermis, they simply sit on top of the skin. There is much controversy over whether or not this can actually improve signs of ageing.

Elastin

Elastin is another main ingredient in several skin-firming creams. Elastin is popular in antiaging products because it is a protein naturally found within the skin. It keeps skin looking firm, taut and generally youthful. Elastin production decreases as people age. The less elastin there is in the skin, the more fine lines, wrinkles and saggy skin start to crop up. Skin loses its elasticity as it loses elastin.

Elastin is used in many firming creams because theoretically, it gives skin back that resiliency that a loss of elastin removed. However, as is the case with collagen, studies point to elastin molecules being too large to be absorbed by the skin. They can't sink into the dermis, so they sit on the surface layer of skin when cream is applied. There is debate over whether or not elastin-infused creams actually reduce sagginess in skin.

Cynergy TK

Cynergy TK is, as of 2010, a relatively new compound that has been popping up on skin care product labels. Cynergy TK is form of protein (keratin) sourced from the wool of New Zealand sheep. Cosmetic scientists have broken down fibres in sheep's wool and extracted keratins and amino acids for use in skin care products. The products claim to firm skin and improve its elasticity as well as plump up the skin through intense hydration through the keratin's peptides and lipids. Tests are being conducted to determine the validity of these claims. The longer Cynergy TK remains on the market, the more knowledge the consumer will have about its efficacy.

Caffeine

Caffeine is often found in lotions formulated to tighten skin on the body. Caffeine has proven effective at reducing the appearance of cellulite and firming skin in areas such as the buttocks, thighs and stomach. The caffeine causes blood vessels to contract, which temporarily gives skin a firmer, tighter look. The smooth skin only lasts as long as the caffeine is active, which is a few hours. Skin then returns to its original state.

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