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Do wrinkle creams really work?

Nearly every facial moisturizer, night cream and serum these days touts anti-aging benefits. And every year, dozens of new anti-wrinkle creams are introduced, all promising to turn back the hands of time. But do any of them work? First, it helps to separate facial moisturizers from wrinkle creams.

Although many facial moisturizers, which can be applied whenever, make anti-aging claims, most wrinkle creams are designed to be applied at night. That's because these products don't typically contain sunscreen and some of their most powerful ingredients, namely retinol, easily degrade in daylight and can make skin extra sensitive to the sun. While many think that anti-aging skin treatments contain more specialized ingredients, the truth is that the best daily facial moisturizers also contain a lot of the same ingredients. (See our facial moisturizers report for more information on these.) This report on wrinkle creams instead focuses on night creams -- formulas that have more aggressive, anti-aging compounds to diminish the appearance of fine lines and increase skin cell turnover.

Experts say price plays no part in the overall effectiveness of wrinkle creams. In fact, many of the best wrinkle creams can be found at the drugstore -- and we encountered more reviews for these affordable brands than we did for expensive department store wrinkle creams. Although many of these pricey products feel more luxurious on the skin, experts say most work no better than budget formulas with the same active ingredients.

Furthermore, experts agree that no wrinkle cream can perform miracles or even results that mimic professional treatments such as Botox and fillers. The best treatment for wrinkles is prevention. Since age spots and most wrinkles are caused by sun damage, the most effective way to avoid wrinkles in the first place is daily sunscreen use. See our report on sunscreen for top recommendations and further information.

To find the best wrinkle creams, we analyzed and rated professional reviews that test a multitude of products. We also took into consideration overall user satisfaction based on reviews at MakeupAlley.com, TotalBeauty.com, Amazon.com and Drugstore.com.

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