Boost Your Skin With Firming and Lifting Moisturizers

By: Alia Hoyt
skin treatment
The creators of firming lotions believe they've found the perfect ingredients to smooth out any unsightly wrinkles, lines or cellulite.

The women (and men!) of the world have spoken -- they want moisturizers that effectively firm and lift age-ridden areas, and lots of 'em. As a result, the marketplace has responded with an option or 12 from every major cosmetics house in the world. Because of the variety of factors that can wreak havoc on our bodies, like pregnancy, weight gain/loss, and plain old aging, there are products out there to firm and lift every body part. For example, lip-plumping moisturizers, cellulite-minimizing serums and creams specific to faces, eyelids and necks/jowls, are just a few of the options designed to kick flabby, wrinkly skin to the curb. Some women even use them to perk up lackluster breasts!

It's no wonder we're so keen on the development of such "fountain of youth" products. Our skin takes a beating from practically the time we're born thanks to exposure to sun, wind, chemicals and the general effects of gravity. This is compounded by the fact that, as we age, our skin naturally loses elasticity. When elastin and collagen -- the key components that keep skin looking young and lovely -- lose their oomph, skin starts to sag and wrinkle.


Weight gain and loss also has a major impact on how skin holds up over time. According to Prevention magazine, the average adult woman loses 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) of muscle and replaces it with 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) of fat every decade. Since fat sits differently beneath the skin than muscle does, it affects how our surface appears, often leading to the development of unwelcome cellulite. This dreaded bumpy, cottage-cheesy, dimpled-looking skin can show up anywhere, at any time and on anyone. In fact, WebMD reports that 90 percent of women have cellulite, even the super-skinny set. Weight gain and skin degeneration play major roles in cellulite development, but so do hormones and genetics, which aren't so easily controlled.

So, what do these "miracle products" actually do? The idea is that they plump up the affected area where applied, making problem areas firmer and less noticeable. Depending on the product, some users enjoy excellent results, whereas others feel that they've wasted their money. So, do your research before dropping any cash on a particular moisturizer. If cellulite is your concern, try to incorporate healthy eating and exercise to achieve the best possible results. Although you can't expect total miracles, most creams should help to some degree.

On the next page we'll talk about the active ingredients in firming and lifting moisturizers and how they work.


Active Ingredients in Firming and Lifting Moisturizers

The creators of most firming lotions believe that they've found the perfect combination of ingredients to effectively smooth out any unsightly wrinkles, lines or cellulite. The products all feature different ingredients, however, both active and inactive.

"There are [ingredients] such as retinoids, epidermal growth factors, cytokines, and peptides which have shown increased collagen production," says Wendy E. Roberts, M.D., a dermatologist in Rancho Mirage, Calif. "Typically, products are mixes of many compounds which synergistically work to reduce the appearance of sagging, lines and wrinkles."


Some of the products employ active ingredients that plump the skin to make it look tighter, while others strive to tighten the outer layer of skin to get rid of lines. Most make an effort to stimulate the production of collagen, which is a key component of healthy, young-looking skin.

Firming creams generally contain mineral oils, parabens (as preservatives) and fragrances. The active ingredients, however, are the ones that actually get the firming job done. Here are some of the most commonly used:

  • Peptides are bits of protein molecules that, when combined with glycerin, results in increased collagen production. The many forms of peptides are popular in firming creams, and for good reason. Hexapeptides act as muscle relaxers, whereas pentapeptides and oligopeptides stimulate fibroblast cells, which are responsible for collagen production. Keratin is a blend of protein peptides. Neuropeptides are an even more effective option, but much more costly to produce than more commonly found pentapeptides; therefore they are found in generally high-end creams.
  • Retinoids (chemical compounds derived from Vitamin A) are considered by many experts to be the most effective treatment, thanks to scientific studies. Retinoids allow new skin cells to surface faster and slow the breakdown of collagen as well as thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles tend to begin.
  • Alpha lipoic acid is known to improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also offers the added perk of being an excellent anti-inflammatory, which helps with annoying under-eye bags. Plus it promotes blood flow, resulting in radiant skin.
  • Fat-soluble Vitamin C ester is renowned for its ability to stimulate the growth of elastin, which helps the skin retain flexibility. It also helps to boost collagen production.
  • Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a nutritional supplement that acts as a muscle toner of sorts. In fact, DMAE actually keeps muscles from drooping or sagging, helping to effectively reverse wrinkles and lines and plump up dimpled areas.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Ageless Derma. "What to Look for in an Anti-aging Cream." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Global Rejuvenation." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Andriyenko, Natalia. "Finding the Best Skin-Firming Products for the Face." Daily Glow. 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Glamour. "15 Easy Tips for Flawless Skin." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Gluck, Didi. "10 Body-Smoothing Secrets from the Top Skin Experts." WebMD. 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Olay. "Peptides." 2012. (Sept. 5, 2012).
  • Patterson, Ryan. "Glam Slam: 40 Really is the New 30." Access Hollywood. Aug. 14, 2012. (Sept. 5, 2012).
  • Perricone, Nicolas, M.D. "5 Ingredients to Look for in your Skincare Products." Dr. Oz. Feb. 3, 2011. (Aug. 30, 2012).
  • Roberts, Wendy E., M.D. Personal interview via e-mail. Aug. 29, 2012.
  • Stout, Liz. "Do quick-fix firming creams really work?" Daily Mail Online. 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Yeager, Selene. "Cellulite Alert!" Prevention. Nov. 2011. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Yi, Sharon J. "6 Best Body Firming Products – and the 4 Worst." Total Beauty. 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).