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Let's get one thing out of the way—wrinkles happen. “Wrinkles are caused by a number of factors," explains New York-based dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD. "These factors can be internal, like age and genetics, or external, such as sun exposure, smoking, and pollution." While wrinkles are never anything to be ashamed of, if you would like to smooth their appearance or prevent them from forming in the first place, it's never too early to start using an anti-wrinkle cream.
When it comes to finding the best wrinkle cream for you, you'll first need to consider when you plan to use it. If you will be using it before you start your day, then you might want one with SPF; according to the American Academy of Dermatology, you'll want to reach for a moisturizer or sunscreen with at least broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection (or layer a sunscreen on top of your cream). Want to use it overnight? Pick a night cream with a heavier formula that can soak in while you snooze.
Read on for the best wrinkle creams on the market for all skin types, needs, and budgets.
Best Overall: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
This beloved wrinkle cream has been earning rave reviews ever since it hit the market. Its creamy texture belies its price tag, and so do its results. It contains the ultimate anti-aging blend of ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, amino-peptides, and niacinamide (vitamin B3). They work together to majorly moisturize, plump skin, lift surface cells, and smooth the appearance of fine lines. You can see wrinkles softening from the first day you use it.
Best Budget: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Maximize your beauty rest with this anti-aging cream that fights wrinkles with retinol while you sleep. It has been clinically proven to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in just 12 weeks. The formula features their exclusive combination of RoC Retinol and an essential mineral complex, which penetrates deep into the skin to smooth even deep-set lines.
Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is a popular anti-aging ingredient and—according to the experts at Mayo Clinic—can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Since consistent retinol use can cause sun sensitivity, it's recommended for evening use only, another reason why this night cream is a great option, followed by sunscreen during daytime hours.
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Fragrance-Free Moisturizer
This affordable option is fragrance-free and promises seven other benefits including replenishing moisture, evening skin tone, enhancing brightness, visibly smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing the look of pores, and restoring firmness. The vitamin-rich formula taps vitamins C and E to fortify the skin barrier so that it’s nourished and moisturized. Because it won’t clog pores, any skin type can benefit from its use and the formula dries down quickly and leaves a silky finish, making it perfect for before makeup or on its own.
Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
A.G.E. stands for advanced glycation end-products, which is a huge part of the natural aging process. This best-selling cream fights just that, meaning it slows down the loss of elasticity in the skin and boosts collagen levels to keep skin looking plump. It's chock full of a 30% concentration of proxylane, 4% blueberry extract, and 0.2% phytosphingosine, which improve the appearance of wrinkles and restore the loss of firmness. This cream also reduces the thinning of the skin, improves texture, and restores essential nutrients and water.
Best with Retinol: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Ask any dermatologist and they’ll tell you that retinol is the gold standard in anti-aging, so it’s an important ingredient to look for if younger-looking skin is your end goal. Intended for all skin types, this moisturizer harnesses the power of—you guessed it—retinol, along with other youth-boosters. Because retinol can be irritating, this velvety-textured cream is formulated to increase moisture and enhance the quality of the skin’s barrier so that it can handle the powerful anti-ager.
Retinol doesn’t stand alone in this mixture though, it’s paired with ferulic acid, which offers antioxidant benefits like fighting free-radicals and preventing sun damage along with the brand’s own ECG complex, made up of ellagic acid, collagen, and gallic acid to brighten and reduce the appearance of dark spots, another prominent sign of aging.
Runner-Up, Best with Retinol: Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform
Bring on the retinol! With 2.2% encapsulated retinol, this gentle, yet effective formula provides multiple anti-aging benefits without the dryness and irritation of many other retinol products. It helps improve cell turn over and collagen production to improve the plumpness and tone of skin, and it also contains 2% lactic acid, which leaves skin noticeably brighter.
Best with Vitamin C: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in making an effective daytime moisturizer, and this formula from Sunday Riley uses it to fight signs of aging like free radical damage, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. It also helps to calm the look of redness on the skin and provides natural beta hydroxy acid to brighten the skin.
Best for Dull Skin: OLEHENRIKSEN Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème
Being that retinol is powerful, there are some people that simply cannot handle it, no matter how many products with ceramides or moisturizing ingredients they use. But now there are retinol alternatives, like bakuchiol which is derived from the Ayurvedic babchi herb, that are a bit less intense on the skin, especially first-timers. In the same way that retinol helps to boost skin cell turnover, bakuchiol can gently slough away the top layer of dead skin to reveal the shiny new skin cells that are buried underneath the dullness.
Paired with edelweiss stem cell, not only does Ole Henriksen's Retin-ALT cream fight signs of aging like lines and wrinkles, but it also nourishes skin so that you don’t get any of the negative side effects that come along with the use of retinol. Best of all, it's gentle enough to use every night.
Best with SPF: Origins Plantscription SPF 25 Power Anti-Aging Cream
The most important thing you can to do prevent the signs of aging on your skin is wear sunscreen on your face every single day—we’re talking rain or shine, winter or summer. Nothing else comes close to having as big of an impact. This anti-aging cream from Origins has SPF 25 to protect you from harmful UVA/UVB rays. Its hero ingredients are anogeissus, infused dill seed extract to boost elasticity, and cassia alata to plump wrinkles and fine lines. There’s also pink rose, mandarin orange, and star anise essential oil. Additionally, the cream boosts firmness, all while delivering a major dose of hydration.
Best Night Cream: Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen
Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, and this cream can help take that up a notch. Wake up in the morning to dewy, glowing skin courtesy of this buttery cream that tackles dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity. It contains vegan plant collagen to smooth and plump, alguronic acid to reduce the signs of aging, Mary thistle plant to hydrate, and ceramides to moisturize.
Runner-Up, Best Night Cream: Obagi Hydrate Luxe
Obagi designed this cream to work specifically with your circadian rhythm, taking advantage of the fact that your skin increases its renewal and metabolic functions at night. Those 8 hours of sleep you’re (hopefully) getting are prime time for skincare, so they packed this cream full of ingredients to help you wake up looking refreshed and glowing, like shea butter, biomimetic peptides (which form a barrier on your skin to capture moisture and support cell repair) and hydromanil, another major moisture-retaining ingredient.
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Cream + Hyaluronic Acid
Featuring Neutrogena’s highest concentration of anti-wrinkle Accelerated Retinol SA, this cream penetrates deep into the skin’s surface to minimize the appearance of deep lines. In just a week, it works to reveal noticeably younger-looking skin. Super hydrating, this wrinkle cream delivers a smoother, more even tone. The cream contains Glucose Complex to boost the skin’s surface activity to improve the look of wrinkles, as well as hyaluronic acid to moisturize and revitalize dull skin.
Best for Prevention: Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream
Resveratrol essentially works as a defense system for your skin by fighting free radicals and preventing their formation, and this lightweight cream has no shortage of it. Caudalie's resveratrol comes from their family vineyard, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, in Bordeaux, France. It's sourced from their grapevine stalks and famed for its ability to restore visible firmness. The wrinkle cream also contains grapeseed oil to nourish, peptides to boost collagen, elastin to lift facial contours, and hyaluronic acid to moisturize. Its innovative delivery system features time release technology so that the active ingredients can work their way into the skin all day.
Best for Neck: Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck & Chest
Even the most devout skincare aficionados forget to care for the skin on the neck and chest sometimes, which is why many people might see signs of aging cropping up in these delicate areas first. Give your neck and chest the attention it deserves, and keep signs of aging at bay, with this light-as-air, whipped moisturizer. It's specifically designed for the neck and chest to smooth lines, firm skin, and even out the skin's tone.
It spotlights Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), a potent natural antioxidant and fatty acid found in every cell in the human body, to minimize lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. The cream also includes vitamin B3 to boost radiance and reduce dark spots, and conditioning Candeia Tree Extract to improve the appearance of damaged skin by allowing it to hold on to moisture.
Best with Hyaluronic Acid: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
This light as air moisturizer is quickly becoming a fan favorite for its soothing application and noticeable results. The innovative formula uses hyaluronic acid to bind moisture to the skin, ceramides and pomegranate sterols to minimize premature lines and wrinkles, and ganoderma, an ancient extract that works to detoxify and fight pollution. Users also rave that it plays nice under makeup. A win-win!
Best Organic: Eminence Organic Skin Care Bright Skin Moisturizer SPF 30
This plant-based formula hydrates and protects the skin during sun exposure, while using natural hydroquinone alternative, a complex formulated with African potato and tara tree extract, to brighten and fade discoloration and boost collagen production. It uses powerful antioxidants like bearberry extract, Swiss Alpine Plant Extracts, licorice root, and their signature BioComplex (a booster of antioxidants, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid) to restore luminosity to your skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin: LilyAna Naturals Retinol Cream Moisturizer
Thanks to a potent combo of hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, green tea, shea butter, jojoba oil, and—of course—retinol, this cream can show wrinkles who's boss without drying out the skin.
The Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is a cult-classic that also earns our vote for one of the best wrinkle creams out there. It’s also an affordable pick, but if you want to save even more, the RoC Retinol Wrinkle Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is a true standout. As the name suggests, it relies on retinol, arguably the most powerful wrinkle-fighting ingredient there is. (If you want to check out a few other retinol-based creams, the Dr. Gross Skincare Ferulic+ Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer and Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform are also solid choices.) And our best for neck wrinkles pick—because yes, you can get wrinkles below your chin, too—is the Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck & Chest.
What to Look For In a Wrinkle Cream
According to Mariwalla, these are the OG, over-the-counter anti-aging ingredient, with a proven track record of helping to stimulate collagen production to help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Not only does this category of exfoliating acids help to even out skin tone and texture, one of them in particular, glycolic acid, also has some collagen-boosting effects as well.
There’s a whole new category of peptides that help with skin elasticity and firmness, both of which play a role in wrinkle formation, too, explains Mariwalla. Not to mention that peptides also tend to be better tolerated and elicit less sensitivity than the retinoids and acids of the world.
This vitamin is a triple threat, acting as a protective antioxidant and excellent skin brightener, while also helping to stimulate collagen production for smoother, less wrinkled skin.
Do wrinkle creams work?
In short, yes. If you choose the right formula that contains some of the tried-and-true anti-aging ingredients we mentioned, use it diligently and have a little bit of patience—they will work. However, it’s important to remember that, no matter what type of wrinkle cream you’re using, it’s imperative to wear sunscreen (with broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection or higher) daily in order to ensure that sun damage doesn’t thwart your wrinkle-fighting attempts.
At what age should you start using wrinkle cream?
The age at which you start actually seeing wrinkles will depend largely on those external and internal factors that Mariwalla mentioned. That being said, she says that generally speaking, your mid-20s is a good time to start an anti-aging skincare routine, including a wrinkle cream.
How do you apply wrinkle cream?
If it’s a retinoid-based cream, you only need a pea-size amount for your entire face, says Mariwalla. Apply one dab of that pea-size drop on your forehead, nose, chin, and each cheek. If the product you’re using doesn’t contain a retinoid, you can use a bit more, about a nickel-size amount. Apply it on clean skin, after a serum, if you’re using one.