When searching for a cream or lotion, make sure you look for ones that will protect you from the sun and moisturize your skin. Your skin should always be protected by sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when you're outside. A good moisturizer can combat the effects of aging [source: AAD]. It literally plumps your skin, which makes it appear firmer. Moist skin is also more elastic.
Next, make sure you pick something that affects the right part of the skin. Many creams and lotions are formulated to target age spots. These deal more with the surface of the skin. To help firm your skin, you should look for products that boost collagen or elastin -- or both -- below the surface.
The favored anti-aging topical product hands down is retinoic acid, also called tretinoin. It's available only by prescription. This vitamin A product encourages collagen growth but is used more for wrinkles than for skin firming. The over-the-counter version is called retinol [source: Lyon].
There are several other ingredients that look promising for skin firming. New research shows that copper might boost collagen growth and also help get rid of damaged collagen and elastin [source: Cleveland Clinic]. Researchers also are focusing on the effects of hormones and aging. Estrogen seems to offer the some firming benefits, but more studies are needed to confirm these findings [source: Schwartz]. L-ascorbic acid, the only effective vitamin C derivative for skin care, encourages collagen growth. It's being used more and more for its skin-firming benefits [source: Cleveland Clinic].
Overall, whether you choose lotions, creams, cosmetics or other treatments, you have many options available to you to help you firm your skin. The days of the dreaded "droopy dog" skin might finally be over. To learn more, check out the links on the next page.