How does wrinkle-minimizing makeup work?

Getting Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Can the ingredients in wrinkle-minimizing makeup really help reverse the signs of aging? See more pictures of getting beautiful skin.
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When you look in the mirror, do you see fine lines and wrinkles? If so, you're not alone. Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, but age is not the only reason that people get wrinkles. They can also be caused by exposure to UV light from the sun, smoking and continued facial muscle contractions, often referred to as frown lines and crow's feet [source: Bernstein].

Whatever the cause, people have fought against the aging process for thousands of years. In the 15th century, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon searched Florida looking for the elusive fountain of youth. Drink the water, and you'll be forever young. Obviously, he didn't find this miracle tonic, or we would all be wrinkle-free. Even the stunningly beautiful Nefertiti, ancient queen of Egypt, couldn't avoid a few wrinkles here and there -- a 21st century CT scan showed that the iconic sculptured bust of the infamous queen was retouched to preserve her beauty [source: Discovery Channel].

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Although there is little we can do about the aging process, today consumers have numerous choices for fighting wrinkles. Many people choose popular wrinkle-minimizing makeups over more costly anti-wrinkle treatments, like Botox injections, laser treatments and face-lifts. There are countless cosmetic products on the market, including foundations, lipsticks and blushes, many of which contain wrinkle-fighting agents. The ingredients in these products help moisturize your skin and make it feel firmer, giving it a more youthful appearance. Some cosmetic companies claim that their products fight free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that contribute to aging. Others maintain that they improve your skin's circulation or make skin more elastic by increasing collagen, a natural protein in the body that helps make your skin smooth.

The types and amounts of ingredients in wrinkle-minimizing makeup are crucial to the makeup's effectiveness. So before you purchase any wrinkle-minimizing product, you need to be armed with knowledge about what these ingredients are and what they do.

Wrinkle-minimizing Makeup Ingredients

When shopping for wrinkle-minimizing makeup, remember to check the labels for active ingredients. One ingredient that you'll see mentioned often is retinol. A form of vitamin A, retinol is an antioxidant found in many makeup products and nonprescription wrinkle creams meant to increase collagen and make the skin feel smooth and more elastic [source: Mayo Clinic]

Another ingredient you'll find frequently is alpha hydroxy acid. Most likely, you've seen this ingredient listed on cosmetics labels with the abbreviation AHA. Products containing alpha hydroxy acids help to exfoliate the skin, removing the dead outer layers. Some of the more common AHAs listed on makeup labels are glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, hydroxycaprylic acid and hydroxycapric acid. A word of caution: You need to be careful with products containing alpha hydroxy acids because they may increase sensitivity to the sun. It's a good idea to wear sunscreen with any makeup containing AHA [source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration].

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You might also find green tea listed as another common component in wrinkle-minimizing products. It's a popular additive because its extracts naturally contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, although scientists are not certain how green tea affects the aging process.

A couple of other ingredients you might see listed on the labels are copper and kinetin. When copper is combined with small proteins called peptides and added to makeup, it can boost the effects of antioxidants and create more collagen [source: Mayo Clinic]. Kinetin plays a major part in plant growth. Although not much is known about how kinetin works, scientists believe it's a powerful antioxidant and works to stimulate collagen.

It's always a good idea to get in the habit of reading labels and understanding the basic ingredients of anti-wrinkle products. Once have a better grasp of the lingo, you can make good choices about which makeup brand is right for you.

Wrinkle-minimizing Makeup Brands

Whether you shop for makeup in a drugstore or a department store, you will be faced with an overwhelming choice of wrinkle-minimizing skincare products. Descriptions on labels can be confusing because cosmetic companies come up with their own ingredient formula names. Again, this is why it's important for you to be an informed consumer, knowing which ingredients are most often in wrinkle-minimizing makeup and what they do.

Many of the leading makeup brands include a line of anti-aging products. L'Oréal's Visible Lift Line Minimizing & Tone Enhancing Makeup advertises the use of retinol to fight lines and wrinkles. Both Prescriptives' All Skins Mineral makeup foundation and Clinique's Repairwear Anti-Aging Makeup include antioxidants, which, according to advertisements, help reduce wrinkles and other fine lines.

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Meanwhile, Revlon's Age Defying Makeup incorporates hexapeptides and botanicals into its formula, which advertises a nearly 90 percent decrease in the look of your lines and wrinkles. That's a high number, but personal success can vary depending on how often and how properly you use it, not to mention how deep your lines were to begin with.

Smashbox uses peptides as well as anti-oxidants in its powder foundation called Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder. The company claims that clinical studies have shown a 33 percent immediate reduction of eye wrinkles, which jumps to 67 percent after six weeks of continued use.

There's a trend here -- no matter which brand you choose, it comes with the promise of age-defying results. But the real issue is whether you can trust these claims. Your best bet is to look at label ingredients instead of promises. You've already learned about retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, tea extracts, antioxidants and peptides. Now you can put your knowledge to work, read the labels and choose the brand you think is best.

To learn more about the effectiveness of your favorite wrinkle cream, read on.

Effectiveness of Wrinkle-minimizing Makeup

While we would all love to believe every claim put out by cosmetic companies, you have to exercise caution. Cosmetic companies are on their own when it comes to testing their products, and they're not going to put anything uncomplimentary on their labels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not test cosmetics before they are sold in stores. It does, however, require that labels carry truthful information. The law says that the label must tell what the product is, what's in it and how to use it safely [source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration].

So, all of the promises on the labels are true, right? Well, sort of. This is why some companies assign their own names to the ingredient compounds found in their products. The scientific-sounding words they use to describe the compounds lead some consumers to buy, thinking that the compound is scientifically approved. Also, you'll see cosmetic companies carefully word their claims, using suggestive phrases like "reduces the appearance of wrinkles" and "helps eliminate signs of aging."

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It would be great to put on anti-aging makeup and have all of your wrinkles disappear, but that probably won't happen. The kinds and amounts of active ingredients in a product determine how effective it is. Over-the-counter wrinkle-minimizing makeup has lower doses of active ingredients than a skin care prescription you would get from a doctor. You may have to use the product consistently and for a long time to see any promised results. Also, some of these products may cause skin irritation, so it's always good to read the warnings on the label. The results you get from the product might not be worth a rash or nasty sunburn. As the consumer, you should weigh the benefits against the risks. Overall, you might see some improvement by using wrinkle-minimizing makeup, but if you desire a more dramatic result, it's best to see a dermatologist.

For lots more information on skin care, look over the links on the next page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

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