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Flip through any woman’s magazine and you’ll find several ads for new wrinkle creams promising anti-aging results. But can you really get younger-looking skin in a jar? Before you plunk down your money for the latest beauty product, learn more about what you can expect – and what you can’t – from the ingredients in wrinkle creams.

Common Ingredients in Wrinkle Creams

Ignore the ads and check the labels when you’re trying to determine which beauty product is right for you. Here’s a list of some common ingredients that may offer some anti-aging results.

Retinol (Retinol A). This was the first antioxidant to be widely used in wrinkle creams and other beauty products. It has the potential to neutralize free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that make skin look aged. Although retinol is an antioxidant, it is less potent than the vitamin A derivative tretinoin that is available by prescription.

Hydroxy acids. Alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids and poly hydroxy acids are exfoliants that can remove the upper layer of dead skin, which then stimulates the growth of new skin. Hydroxy acids can also remove your skin’s protective layer, leaving you more susceptible to dryness and sun damage.

Coenzyme Q10. Some studies have shown that Coenzyme Q10 can reduce fine lines around the eyes by regulating energy production in cells. It may also help protect the skin from sun damage.

Copper peptides. Copper peptides promote wound healing and collagen production. Collagen is the substance that causes skin to appear plump and smooth.

Kinetin. It’s unclear how, exactly, kintenin works. Some research suggests that kinetin may help skin retain moisture, stimulate collagen production, and act as an antioxidant.

Tea extracts. Green, black and oolong tea all contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may address some of the signs of aging.

Although research suggests that some of these ingredients have the potential for anti-aging results, it’s important to have realistic expectations for over-the-counter wrinkle creams and other beauty products. Remember that nonprescription beauty products will only contain a lower dose of active ingredients than prescription creams, which means any potential results will be limited and short-lived. You should also be aware that any possible results can only be achieved with daily use over the course of several weeks, and your results will typically disappear as soon as you stop using the product.

For most people, the best anti-aging results aren’t found in a wrinkle cream, but in a good skincare routine. Use a skin cleanser no more than twice a day, moisturize regularly, and always wear sunscreen. Avoid the use of topical  steroids due to the possibility of skin damage.  You can also reduce your risk of premature aging by avoiding cigarettes and eating a balanced diet.