The 15 Best Skin Tightening Creams of 2023

With dermatologist-recommended picks from Crepe Erase, Alastin, No 7, and more

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Skin-Tightening Cream

Byrdie / Kevin Liang

When it comes to the signs of aging, it’s often the wrinkles and spots that get all the attention. But there’s another major issue that comes with time and is equally as responsible for making you look older than you are—sagging skin. At the root of the issue is a breakdown of collagen and elastin, the two proteins essential for firm, smooth, youthful skin. Think of collagen as the mattress frame and elastin as the mattress springs; when both are intact, you have a firm, supple bed, but as one or both start to break down, here comes sagging. And in the case of your skin, that means unwanted laxity and a generally droopy appearance.

Yes, this is a natural and to a certain extent, an unavoidable by-product of getting older, but other external factors (think exposure to UV damage, pollution, and even stress) can exacerbate and speed up the process. Enter the beauty of good skin-tightening cream. In choosing one, your best move is to pick a formula that contains, “ingredients that boost production and decrease the destruction of the three primary structural components of the dermis that improve skin tightness: collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs,” explains dermatologist Dr. Julie Russak. 

More specifically, that means antioxidants; topically-applied vitamin C, vitamin B3, and vitamin E enhance the production of collagen in the dermis, Dr. Russak says. Other good options include vitamin A derivatives (AKA retinoids) and peptides. The nice thing about skin tightening creams? There are formulas made for pretty much everybody part out there since, trust us, this isn’t an issue reserved to just your face.

We conducted hours of research to find the skin tightening creams worthy of a spot in your routine, testing some of the highest-rated products out there. We used these creams for weeks, taking note of how well they improved the overall appearance and texture of their skin. Our team then combined these results with our own research and dermatologist-recommended picks to compile this list.

Best Overall

Alastin Restorative Skin Complex

4.7
Alastin Restorative Skin Complex

Alastin

What We Like
  • Effective ingredients from a dermatologist-recommended brand

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Small amount

When a brand’s name is a play on the word elastin, you know you’re going to get some serious skin tightening benefits. We’re big fans of all of the products in this line, but for full-on firming, “this is an incredible option,” says Dr. Kathleen S. Viscussi, a board-certified dermatologist in Atlanta, Georgia. The star of the show is the proprietary TriHex technology. “Elastin, along with collagen and hyaluronic acid, are all essential components of our extracellular skin matrix that provide our overlying skin with support, volume, and moisturization. It makes this formula ideal for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and tightening the skin, resulting in a more youthful appearance,” says Dr. Viscussi. Plus, it’s also very moisturizing and contains a dose of protective antioxidants to boot.

Price at time of publish: $180

Active Ingredients: Proprietary peptide-based TriHex technology | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream

4.7
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream

Sephora

What We Like
  • Great for sensitive skin

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging isn’t air-tight

Key Ingredients

Colloidal oatmeal is ground oatmeal, which is then placed in a liquid medium for better application and absorption into the skin.

Tightening products are one skincare category that innately skews on the pricier side; credit the types of ingredients needed to make a formula effective. That’s why we appreciate that this night cream rings in at an affordable price… but yes, still gets the tightening job done. At work is a unique tightening ingredient that works super fast—so fast that you may even notice a difference after only a few weeks. Bonus: It’s also a great pick for anyone with sensitive skin, given that it’s both fragrance-free and contains soothing colloidal oatmeal.

Price at time of publish: $44

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

first aid beauty ultra repair hydra-firm night cream

Byrdie / Ashley Rebecca

Best Drugstore

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

4.2
olay-regenerist-micro-sculpting-cream-face-moisturizer-with-niacinamide

Amazon

What We Like
  • Effective

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging isn’t air-tight

  • Not cruelty-free

There have been—are you ready for this?—more than one billion jars of this cream sold. Yes, billion with a "b." The formula is rich in peptides, one of the ingredients Dr. Russak says are best to seek out in tightening creams because they stimulate the production of both collagen and elastin fibers. Plus, this also contains vitamin B3 which works on the surface of the skin to promote cell turnover and gentle exfoliation. This stuff works, it's inexpensive, and you can get it at the drugstore. Enough said.

Price at time of publish: $37

Active Ingredients: Peptides, vitamin B3 | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

Best for Body

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

4.9
SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Can be used all-over the body

  • Very moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

Don’t be fooled by the name—go ahead and slather this on all over your body, not just on your booty. Beloved by beauty editors and devoted users alike, use it on the reg for tighter skin. (And yes, on the bum that may translate to less noticeable dimples, too.) Caffeine-rich guarana extract boosts circulation, an essential component for firmer skin, not to mention that the buttery cream feels—and smells—so so good going on.

Price at time of publish: $48

Active Ingredients: Guarana extract, cupuacu butter | Skin Type: All | Size: 8.1 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Arms

StriVectin Crepe Control Tightening Body Cream

StriVectin Crepe Control Tightening Body Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Very hydrating

  • Reviewers notice results within a few weeks

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Think of this as a body moisturizer but with major, major benefits. Sure, it hydrates, but it also visibly tightens and firms skin, improving the look of crepiness in one fell swoop, too. Use it on the backs of your arms or around your elbows, all of those weird little spots where skin can suddenly start to look droopy and wrinkly out of nowhere.

Price at time of publish: $59

Active Ingredients: Peptides, caffeine | Skin Type: All | Size: 6.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Legs

Revision Skincare BodiFirm

Revision Skincare BodiFirm

Amazon

What We Like
  • Clinically-tested for impressive results

  • Very hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Has to be used twice daily

Women who used this clinically-tested body lotion for twelve weeks saw an impressive 83% improvement in sagging skin and a 90% improvement in skin elasticity (as mentioned on the product page). Granted, it was used on the arms in that study, but in our experience, it has a similarly impressive effect on the thighs and butt. That’s thanks to the brand’s patent-pending iFirm technology, a blend of peptides, antioxidants, and a prebiotic, which is designed to help firm, tighten, and lift sagging skin, as well as smooth away the crepiness, says Viscussi, who is a fan. You’ll still have to do squats and lunges, but this can help you score a tighter rearview for sure; Viscussi goes on to say that it delivers visible results.

Price at time of publish: $30

Active Ingredients: Patent-pending iFirm technology with peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 3.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Face

Fresh Black Tea Firming Corset Cream

Fresh Black Tea Firming Corset Cream

Sephora

What We Like
  • Nice texture

  • Very hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging isn’t air-tight

Just like a corset will suck in, cinch in, and tighten your waistline, so will this cream for your complexion. A firming peptide, coupled with an antioxidant power couple of a black tea complex and goji berry extract, all work together in this formula. We also appreciate the cushiony texture and generous level of hydration that ensures this works well on all skin types, from dry to oily.

Price at time of publish: $95

Active Ingredients: Peptide, antioxidants | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Eyes

Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment

Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment

Alastin

What We Like
  • Effective ingredients from a dermatologist-recommended brand

  • Address multiple issues

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Small amount

Like the overall face product, this eye cream also contains that patented TriHex technology that is unique in its ability to promote the growth of elastin. “Elastin is a key component for allowing the smoothing and tightening of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes,” says Viscussi, who counts this as another one of her favorites. But on top of those tightening benefits, the formula is also great for combating other peeper problems, think dark circles, and puffiness.

Price at time of publish: $105

Active Ingredients: Proprietary peptide-based TriHex technology | Skin Type: All | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Neck & Chest

Gold Bond Ultimate Neck & Chest Firming Cream

Gold Bond Ultimate Neck & Chest Firming Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works on face and chest

  • Affordable

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • Not enough information about active ingredients disclosed

Ever look at someone’s face and think how young they look—and then look down at their neck or chest and are shocked to see wrinkles and saggy skin? Not only is the skin on your neck and décolletage very delicate and fragile, but it’s also often exposed to the sun, a major contributor to collagen and elastin breakdown. You can apply the same products you use on your face on the skin below your chin, but if you’re looking for a dedicated option, try this pick. Made for both your neck and chest, it also just happens to be one of the more affordable skin tightening products we’ve ever seen, yet consistently pulls in rave reviews. Users are repeatedly astounded at how well it works, even posting their own before and after photos in their reviews. 

Price at time of publish: $16

Active Ingredients: Brand’s firming complex, salicylic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Serum

No7 Restore & Renew Face and Neck Multi-Action Serum

No7 Restore & Renew Face and Neck Multi-Action Serum

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works on face and neck

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

To get the most bang for your buck, opt for a serum over a cream; they’re more lightweight and contain a higher concentration of active ingredients. This particular pick uses the brand’s unique ingredient blends to help target not one, not two, but five different signs of aging—loss of firmness and sagging included. There are things such as peptides, retinyl palmitate, and skin barrier-boosting ceramides in the mix, all of which work synergistically—to treat the skin on both your face and your neck, we might add.

Price at time of publish: $42

Active Ingredients: Peptides, retinyl palmitate | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.69 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best With SPF

Clarins Extra-Firming Wrinkle Control Firming Day Cream SPF 15

Clarins Extra-Firming Wrinkle Control Firming Day Cream SPF 15

Amazon

What We Like
  • Addresses multiple issues

  • Very hydrating

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging isn’t air-tight

  • SPF is 15, not 30

For the love of all that’s holy, you really should be using sunscreen with at least a broad-spectrum SPF 30 every single day. Because if you’re not, you’re just further speeding up the breakdown of collagen and elastin; sun damage and UV exposure directly correlate with saggier, looser, less tight skin. Enter the beauty of this day cream. It tightens the skin, yes, but it also evens out skin tone and imparts the best amount of lightweight hydration. It also contains SPF 15, a great option for skincare minimalists. 

Price at time of publish: $93

Active Ingredients: Plant-based extracts | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Splurge

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

Walmart

What We Like
  • Effective ingredients from a dermatologist-recommended brand

  • Air-tight packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Growth factors are human-derived

This oldie-but-goodie is a must-have for pretty much every derm we’ve ever spoken with—Viscussi included, who lauds it for visibly improving the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. (Not to mention that it’s also a staple in our medicine cabinet.) It’s super pricey, yes, but along with addressing sagging, it also addresses pretty much every other possible sign of aging. The secret is protein-rich growth factors (the first ingredient on the list), as well as peptides, antioxidants, and any other good-for-your complexion ingredient you can think of. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Active Ingredients: Growth factors, peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Crepey Skin

Crepe Erase Intensive Body Repair Treatment

Crepe Erase Intensive Body Repair Treatment

Amazon

What We Like
  • Promotes collagen and elastin

  • Smoothes and moisturizes

  • Noticeable results

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Contains PEGs

While many products make big promises about their ability to improve the texture of your skin, Crepe Erase actually delivers. This body cream calls on the brand's TruFirm+ complex (a blend of plant extract) to promote elastin production, helping your skin look firmer and supporting its ability "bounce back." It also contains peptides to promote natural collagen production, plus olive oil and cocoa butter to repair, smooth, and quench thirsty skin. It comes in a delicious citrus scent, but if you're not a fan of fragrance, there's an unscented version too.

Price at time of publish: $89

Active Ingredients: TruFirm+ complex, peptides, olive oil, cocoa butter | Skin Type: Dry, mature | Size: 10 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best K-Beauty

Peach & Lily Peptide Pro Firming Moisturizer

Peach & Lily Peptide Pro Firming Moisturizer

Peach & Lily

What We Like
  • Promotes collagen production

  • Makes skin stronger and more elastic

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

If you're a fan of Korean skincare, this one's for you. This moisturizer from Peach & Lily leans on a blend of peptides, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, promote collagen production, strengthen, and improve your skin's natural elasticity. The lightweight formula also goes on smooth, absorbs quickly, and plays well under makeup. The only potential drawback is that the tub-style container isn't as hygienic as a tube or pump bottle, as you have to dip your fingers in every time you use the product.

Price at time of publish: $45

Active Ingredients: Peptides, amino acids, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best With Retinol

Pond's Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream Vitamin B3 + Retinol Complex

Pond's Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream Vitamin B3 + Retinol Complex

Amazon

What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Supports collagen production

What We Don't Like
  • Contains mineral oil

Looking for something with retinol? This drugstore night cream helps smooth wrinkles, supports collagen production, and improves elasticity to promote tighter skin from the neck up. Just a heads up, it contains mineral oil, which is deprived from petroleum and might break out some skin types, though many people tolerate it just fine.

Price at time of publish: $25

Active Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin B3 | Skin Type: Mature | Size: 7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Final Verdict 

If sagging skin has got you down (pun intended), a good skin tightening cream can help. We’re big fans of the Alastin Restorative Skin Complex with TriHex Technology, a derm favorite that relies on, among other things, a blend of peptides to stimulate collagen and elastin production. For firmer skin on your face, try the Fresh Black Tea Firming Corset Cream; for your body, reach for the (yummy-smelling) Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. (Yes, you can use it on spots besides your booty.) And if you’re a drugstore devotee, don’t miss the classic Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, which also offers a host of other youth-boosting benefits.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream
Byrdie / Ashley Rebecca

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Julie E. Russak is the Founder and CEO of Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York City. She specializes in the latest cosmetic treatments that require little to no downtime—injectables, laser rejuvenation, body contouring, and an array of noninvasive aesthetic remedies—including options for, you guessed it, skin tightening.
  • Dr. Kathleen S. Viscussi is a board-certified dermatologist in Atlanta, Georgia, and the co-founder/partner of Dermatology and Surgery Specialists of North Atlanta.


What to Look for in a Skin Tightening Cream

Antioxidants

Antioxidants like vitamins C, B3 (niacinamide), and vitamin E can help boost collagen production, a key factor when it comes to scoring firmer, tauter skin. Some of our favorite antioxidant-rich formulas include Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream.

Retinoids

The powerhouse skincare ingredient can do no wrong. Just as vitamin A's collagen-enhancing benefits are great for warding off wrinkles, retinoids are also great for making skin firmer and less saggy. If you're looking for something containing retinol, go with Pond's Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream
Byrdie / Ashley Rebecca
FAQ
  • Do skin tightening creams work?

    Yes, while results may not always be the most dramatic, Dr. Russak says skin tightening creams do work. If you choose a formula that contains ingredients that boost and protect the three structural components of the dermis (collagen, elastin, and GAGs), you can help slow down and improve the appearance of sagging, drooping, and laxity. Be sure to opt for a cream that’s formulated for the specific area you’re trying to address—such as the face, neck, or arms—for best results.

  • Are skin tightening creams safe?

    According to Dr. Russak, yes, skin tightening creams are safe. Since they’re often formulated with collagen- and elastin-boosting antioxidants and peptides, they’re great for improving the overall health of your skin while targeting sagging and loose skin. However, skin tightening creams that contain retinoids may be on the harsher side, so be sure to patch test first and ease yourself into daily use if need be.

How We Researched & Tested

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there.  A skincare enthusiast, she became all about skin tightening creams when she learned that you start to lose elastin at your skin at a rapid rate after the age of 25.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any skin tightening creams from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Bissett DL, Oblong JE, Berge CA. Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearanceDermatol Surg. 2005;31(7 Pt 2):860-865. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.2005.31732

  3. Ryan R. 12 benefits of guarana(Plus side effects). Healthline.

  4. Schagen S. Topical peptide treatments with effective anti-aging results. Cosmetics. 2017;4(2):16. doi: 10.3390/cosmetics4020016

  5. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.2147/CCID.S144180

  6. Murakami, Hitoshi et al. Importance of amino acid composition to improve skin collagen protein synthesis rates in UV-irradiated mice. Amino acids vol. 42,6 (2012): 2481-9. doi:10.1007/s00726-011-1059-z

  7. Shivsharan, Utkarsha & S, Raut & M, Shaikh. Packaging of Cosmetics: A Review. Journal of Pharmaceutical & Scientific Innovation. 3. 2014, 286-293. 10.7897/2277-4572.034158.

  8. Kong R, Cui Y, Fisher GJ, et al. A comparative study of the effects of retinol and retinoic acid on histological, molecular, and clinical properties of human skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016;15(1):49-57. doi:10.1111/jocd.12193

  9. Rawlings AV and Lombard KJ. A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. International journal of cosmetic science vol. 34,6 (2012): 511-8. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00752.x

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