Do anti-ageing creams work?




There is no ready recipe for a magic anti-ageing potion but researchers know quite a lot about ageing processes already. Let’s dive in and find out what’s out there!


do anti-ageing creams work

Skin – the largest organ of our body has a total area of 20ft2 playing central role in protecting our bodies from outside environment. Ageing is a natural process caused by extrinsic (pollution, UV radiation, exposure to toxic chemicals) and intrinsic (genetics, hormone levels, metabolism) factors. Collectively all of these influence skin physically and physiologically changing its appearance, especially affecting the most visible outer layer (layers of skin are explained here) .


Market is oversaturated with the cosmetics which meant to make your face look like a 18-year old overnight. Unfortunately, most of them don’t work. If you intend to spend your money on a product which works, see what science says about:


1) Collagen.

It is a protein which makes up about 30% of our body with most of it being in our skin. The collagen content in our skin decreases on average by 1% per year, what causes wrinkles and overall ‘dryness’ of a skin. If you plan to battle your wrinkles with a cream containing collagen – you are looking in a wrong direction. Collagen applied directly on your skin is too large to be absorbed into further skin layers. A cream which has collagen fibres in it may make your skin look nice and soft for the time when its applied, while it won’t fill you wrinkles. Take a step back. What you need is a cream which will encourage your skin to produce collagen itself! It will contain growth factors and cytokines promoting elastin and collagen synthesis. If you read the labels, the creams containing a lot of confusing words ended with “peptide”, TGF-β1, IL-6/8 or matrikines will be definitely a better choice than the ones with “glycerine, silk extract and collagen-alpha”.

2) Stem cells.

There is absolutely tons of creams with stem cells which promise you instant skin restoration after first application. It is all a massive marketing lie. Stem cells enclosed in the jars are simply dead plant-based cells which while placed on your skin will have the same effect as if you put a wooden chopping board or a spoon on your chick and keep it overnight. Plant stem cells wouldn’t work on human skin even if they were alive. I promise you nothing is going to happen. Medical stem cell therapy works because a nurse is taking your blood, filtrating everything but plasma and stem cells and injecting them back in you precisely where the inflammation or other problems arose. These were your own stem cells, still alive and administered in a careful, antiseptic way. What in turn creams have to offer are floating dead cells in a white jelly-like liquid applied on the surface of your skin.

Don’t waste your money.

3) Vitamin C.

It is a very powerful antioxidant (a substance which fights ageing and cancer by mopping up reactive oxygen species) and the most abundant one in our skin. It works synergistically with vitamin E and both are often combined in facial creams. It is protective against photo-ageing caused by UV radiation and is essential for collagen biosynthesis. Taking vitamin C orally allows only a small fraction of it to reach the skin, so it sounds perfect to use it in a from of a cream. However, there is not enough research on vit. C formulations for its topical application. We know it works but we have little knowledge how to enclose vitamin C in a cream formula, so it gets absorbed well (rather than simply dry out on the surface on our skin overnight).

do anti-ageing creams work

4) Hyaluronic acid (HA).

One of the features of ageing is loss of moisture. HA is a molecule which is brilliant in retaining water. It is a component of extracellular matrix (a scaffold for the cells) resulting in a soft, elastic skin. Studies show that HA is involved in a number of important cellular processes and its lack leads to carcinogenesis and immune system malfunction. Skin HA is quickly degraded (with half-life of about 2 weeks) and accounts for 50% of total body HA. Studies on 4 widely known brands of creams with HA show that the depth of wrinkles is significantly decreased after 3 months of daily use. That’s a good sign, nevertheless we need more detailed studies on the concentration of HA and its efficacy in order to find the best cream.

5) Coenzyme Q10.

It is another antioxidant which production decreases with age. It is the only anti-aging ingredient (from the ones presented in this post) which has been proven to improve skin condition when administered topically and orally. Nevertheless, there is one study from 2009 showing that long-term oral intake of Q10 impairs cognitive function in mice. Remember about it when balancing your dietary supplements.

do anti-ageing creams work

I encourage you to read the labels of the cosmetic products so you know what you are paying for.



The best you can do to look young is to eat heathy diet- rich in vitamins A, E, C and other antioxidants and microelements. Stay away from highly-processed foods, thus these have no nutritional value but a lot of calories and trans-fats. Most importantly – DRINK A LOT OF WATER. It’s free and doesn’t have any side effects! It’s best to ensure you are drinking enough before spending money on night creams!


Learn and share knowledge with others! Please share this post if you found it useful 🙂

If you are interested in cosmetics and skincare products, I recommend reading The Little Book of Skin Care by Charlotte Cho explaining South Korean skin care routines, which applied to our western world works wonders! The Little Book of Skin Care By Charlotte Cho 9780062416384 (Hardback)(click)

For more sources, click here:

Anti-aging: 123

Collagen: 1

Vitamin C: 1, 2

HA: 1, 2

Q10: 1, 2, 3, 4

6 thoughts

  1. I am always learning something practical from you, Ewelina. I use a vitamin c serum that does make my skin flakey sometimes, especially after I’ve done an intense exfoliation and derma needling (it really sounds more extreme than the process is). I’ve noticed that the serum dries out my blemishes, which I find helpful and otherwise nice for my skin. My usual skin routine is lots of regular deep sleep, a healthy balanced diet, LOADS of water, lots of clarity and mindfulness, sweaty intense exercise and laughing with my friends. That, honestly, is what I believe is keeping me look young. I’m told all of the time that I pass for much younger than I am, which I find hilarious, but I think it’s because of my skin (and maybe other things too). But this was a good post. Enjoyed your bits of humor in there too. 😉


    1. Thank you so much Jess! You do have a teenager’s skin indeed ❤️ it’s probably the effect of looking after yourself well like you mentioned 🙂 I’m preparing a blog post on the oil you mentioned before. Also I’ rushing to read your recent blog posts (finally have got some spare time to catch up on it!). Take care xx

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