“If you want to know a woman’s age, look at her hands because hands don’t lie.” -anon
Today’s question, submitted via the FutureDerm.com Facebook page:
Hi Nicki! What are the best anti-aging, firming body creams/lotions, etc. ?
What a great question! With all of the already stunningly beautiful models and actresses in magazines being airbrushed to utter perfection for the past decade, it’s no wonder that the quest for better skin has started to venture from the face downward. Here are six of the best treatments I’ve found, and why each is so wonderful:
6. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Body Moisturizer ($19.99 for 15.2 oz)
There’s but one reason I recommend Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand + Body Lotion: it works, plain and simple. It is especially useful when it is applied to partially damp skin following a bath or shower, as the occlusive agents lock moisture into the skin. When applied in the morning, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand + Body Lotion also prevents skin from becoming dry once exposed to the harsh winter weather. And when applied under a 100% cotton, tight-fitting garment before falling asleep, it helps you wake up with softer skin in the morning (yes, really)! If you don’t believe me, start out using it under a pair of 100% cotton socks – it’s like a spa experience while you sleep!
Ingredients: Purified Water, Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax NF, Octyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol Isoceteth-3 Acetate, Cyclomethicone, Stearic Acid, Aloe Extract, Matricaria Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone Copolyol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Sodium Sulfate, Hydrogenated Lanolin, Glyceryl Laurate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, BHT, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Benzalkonium Chloride, Fragrance.
5. Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($16.84 for 18 oz)
Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion contains Avena sativa (oat) flour, which has to be one of my all-time favorite moisturizing ingredients. In a supplement to the journal Cosmetic Dermatology, it is stated that oat flour is so potent, it is amongst the few ingredients in skin care and cosmetics regulated by the U.S. FDA. Oat flour contains agents that soothe, hydrate, and fight inflammation in the skin, including protein, lipids, enzymes, saponins, prostaglandin synthetic inhibitors, vitamins, and flavonoids. Oat also binds to the skin extremely well, as it has a lower pH than human skin.
Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Aveeno, also claims that their oat extract reduces itching and inflammation similar to mild prostaglandin inhibitors (source). I know that I have sensitive skin that often breaks out from trying so many products, and each time, I turn to the Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion for a fast recovery. That’s not an advertisement, folks – that’s truth!
Ingredients in Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion: Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oat Flour (Avena Sativa), Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride
4. Vaseline Sheer Infusion with Stratys-3™ ($5.99 for 6.3 oz)
In my four years of beauty blogging, I’ve come across many a product that is overpriced. Vaseline Sheer Infusion with Stratys-3™ is one of few instances I’ve encountered where you get a large quantity of a top-notch, high-quality product featuring new technology, for a price significantly below the rest of the market.
Stratys-3™ is actually revolutionary: a blend of two ingredients, glycerol quat (GQ) and hydroxyethyl urea (HEU), that hydrate the skin down to the deepest part of the stratum corneum. GQ is a humectant, a quaternized glycerol derivative that is able to bind more than 4 times the water than glycerol alone. Furthermore, GQ is not very lipophilic, i.e., it does not bind to the upper membranes like many other ingredients.
Combined with the fact that HEU is able to penetrate through to the stratum basale (the deepest portion of the uppermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum), Vaseline Sheer Infusion is truly revolutionary, as most lotions stay within the first two layers of skin.
The clinical data support the idea that Vaseline Sheer Infusion delivers superior hydration to deeper layers of the skin as well. In the most convincing Unilever-affiliated study, 168 subjects were split into 12 different groups, each with a different leading body lotion applied by a trained clinician on a 2-square-centimeter surface of the subjects’ legs. Another trained clinician measured the skin hydration levels with a 2ooEX Skin Hydrometer, and the results were astounding: Vaseline Sheer Infusion resulted in a score of 1150; the next leading body lotion was a mere 800, with the lowest-scoring leading formula falling in at a meager score of ~180.
I’ve used Vaseline Sheer Infusion on and off since its inception in 2010, and I can say it’s the only lotion my boyfriend notices that I’m using: “Your hands are so soft!” Every time. Without fail. Again, not an advertisement: Just an honest opinion of a truly revolutionary body lotion.
3. Olay Quench ($12.52 for two 12.5 oz. bottles, 25 oz total)
Olay Body Quench Lotion begins the top three of the six body lotions: not only are they hydrating, but they are proven to have anti-aging effects as well. Olay Body Quench Lotion contains a fair concentration of niacinamide, which has been clinically proven to do everything from hydrate to eliminate sunspots to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles slightly when used consistently over a period of time. Realistically, after three months’ daily use of Olay Body Quench Lotion, your skin will be significantly smoother and softer (almost a complete turnaround), sunspots will be reduced slightly (my best guess is 30%), and wrinkles will be somewhat less noticeable (my best guess is 10-20%).
Other beneficial ingredients in Olay Body Quench Lotion include hydrating petrolatum and dimethicone and antioxidant vitamin E. The product also contains titanium dioxide, so it offers some level of sun protection, although not likely very much.
2. Glytone 17.5% ($29.58 for 8.4 oz)
If you’re a bikini model, pole dancer, or have any other reason to be showing lots of skin, Glytone 17.5% is truly the best way to get dramatic results in the shortest amount of time. Equipped with a full 17.5% glycolic acid, Glytone 17.5% will significantly reduce wrinkles, brighten, and firm (skin only, not muscles – sorry!) when used over time.
Glycolic acid works by advancing desquamation and exfoliation of the top layer of the skin. As a result, glycolic acid quickens the rate of cell turnover, decreases small wrinkles and increase fibroblast proliferation of collagen. It does not specifically inhibit melanin production, but many dermatologists and aestheticians report the appearance of sunspots is improved with continual use.
Unlike other glycolic acid-based treatments out there, Glytone 17.5% is formulated such that most people do not report much irritation, despite the high level of glycolic acid. At any rate, do not leave the lotion exposed to the air for too long, as the other ingredients can evaporate, leaving glycolic acid more concentrated and hence more irritating for the skin. Furthermore, be sure to use this product in conjunction with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least 30!
It was really close between Glytone 17.5% and Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream. Glytone 17.5% gives results faster, but Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream is more hydrating for the harsh winter months.
In the long run, I chose Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream not only because of its potent hydrators (olive oil, cetyl alcohol, stearate, and triglycerides), but also because retinol is probably the most profound anti-ager on the market today. As renowned dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch, M.D. once said, “We have beautiful, profound data that shows if you use [retinoids] for 20 years, you’re going to look a lot better than someone who doesn’t.” When applied after UV exposure, retinoids also help to prevent collagen loss. Retinoids have been proven to stimulate matrix metalloproteinase genes, which are in part responsible for collagen degradation, and to increase cell turnover rates (Cosmetic Dermatology). In essence, retinoids smooth the skin, refine the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and make skin more firm over time.
While I normally do not recommend creams that contain both vitamin C and retinol, as the activity of each is optimized at a different pH, the open-top design of the jar means that vitamin C (as L-ascorbic acid) won’t be stable for very long anyway! With that said, retinol is actually not stable for more than one month after it is open and exposed to the air either (source), so be sure to use your jar of Dr. Jeannette Graf Rejuvenation Body Cream within a month after opening! Also, use it with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least 30 during the day, as retinol can make the skin more photosensitive.
Hope this helps!
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