Does Anti-Aging Cream Work?

If you turn on your TV or open any beauty
magazine, odds are you’ll come across an ad for the newest anti-aging cream, featuring
models with impossibly smooth faces and long lists of chemicals. These ads sound misleading and, don’t get
me wrong, some of these so-called “anti-wrinkle” chemicals are just marketing buzzwords. But it turns out that a few of them might
actually help protect your skin from damage. Your skin is like a layer cake, and the icing
on that cake is a thin layer of cells called the epidermis. The epidermis is supported by the dermis,
which is where you’ll find nerve endings, sweat glands, hair follicles, and connective
tissue. Connective tissue is made up of a mix of cells
hanging out in an extracellular matrix, which contains some specific molecules that give
your skin some structure and help with things like healing wounds. One is collagen, a really plentiful protein
that helps cells stick together and makes your skin stronger. There’s also elastin, a protein that gives
your skin the ability to bounce back when you stretch it. Then, there are long chains of sugars called
glycosaminoglycans or GAGs, which act like sponges and can hold huge amounts of water. They help resist squishing forces on your
skin and keep it hydrated and healthy-looking. As you get older, the production of these
extracellular matrix molecules naturally starts to slow down. With less structural support from the dermis,
your skin starts to look thinner and build up wrinkles. So we still haven’t discovered a fountain
of youth to fight against biochemical aging, but the biggest cause of wrinkles isn’t
getting older, it’s environmental damage, like from the sun. Sunlight contains three types of UV radiation,
including one that never quite gets through our atmosphere. That leaves two that affect our skin. Look t
Spending time outside is actually good for your skin, in small doses. UVB radiation interacts with a molecule in
your skin that gets turned into vitamin D, which you need to absorb calcium and keep
your bones strong. But too much UVB causes damage to your cells’
DNA, leading to sunburn and ultimately skin cancers. Lots of UVA radiation is also not great for
you, because it interacts with other molecules in your skin to create reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species include things like
hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxides, and unstable molecules called “free radicals”, the
rebellious teenagers of the molecular world. Electrons love travelling in pairs and are
most stable that way, but free radicals have unpaired electrons. Because of their instability, free radicals
are on the hunt for more electrons and will take them from things like DNA, proteins,
and fats—reacting with those molecules and damaging them in the process. And that includes molecules in the dermis
like elastin and collagen, creating tangled clumps or breaking them down. Your body can generally deal with some damage,
but too much, and you might have a wrinkly problem. There are tons of anti-wrinkle creams on the
market, but the chemicals that have been shown to work actually deal with skin damage. Retinol, also known as vitamin A, and chemically
related compounds called retinoids have been shown to reduce wrinkles and to speed up the
healing of cuts and scrapes—as long as you follow recommendations by dermatologists. Using retinoids and then exposing your skin
to sunlight or using them while pregnant, for instance, can cause more damage because
of how they interact with your cells. And you don’t want that. When you slather certain retinoids on your
face, they can interact with different receptors on skin cells, and with DNA to activate certain
genes. Biochemically, this can tell repair mechanisms
in your skin to speed up, so you get rid of stuff that was damaged by reactive oxygen
species and make new cells and molecules at a faster rate. So retinoids can help maintain the structure
of your dermis and fight off wrinkles by making your body produce more collagen, elastin,
and GAGs. And they seem to be the most effective ingredient
in anti-aging creams. A few other compounds have been found to have
similar, but less potent, effects. Chemicals like salicylic acid, for instance,
might also activate genes that cause cells to make more collagen, or boost certain repair
pathways. And hyaluronic acid is a GAG, and can help
retain moisture. But there are also lots of chemicals in anti-aging
creams that are probably just… junk. Take anything with peptide in its name, which
just means it’s a smaller building block of proteins. It’s true that peptides are involved in
lots of processes in your body, including making new cells and proteins, which are important
for your skin’s structure. But many dermatologists think that most of
these anti-aging peptides are just too large to squeeze in between cells in the epidermis. So they probably just sit on top of your skin
and do nothing. And despite all those expensive marketing
campaigns, the best way to fight off wrinkles might just be blocking UV radiation to protect
your cells from damage in the first place. So the best anti-aging cream you can buy is
probably just sunscreen! Thanks to Patreon patron Patrick Gilmore for
asking this question, and thanks to all our patrons, whose support lets us keep making
SciShow! If you want to learn more about skin damage,
we have a video where Hank explains why sunburns happen. And don’t forget to go to youtube.comscishow
and subscribe!

100 thoughts on “Does Anti-Aging Cream Work?”

  1. hey I have found an amazing anti aging formula on Amazon for a great deal… It is the best selling anti aging cream…

  2. hey I have found an amazing anti aging formula on Amazon for a great deal… It is the best selling anti aging cream…


  4. Why does ketamine work (whereas memantine fails) for depression?

    Also… How many people do you know who put on sunscreen, obsessively, every 90 minutes (or whatever)?

  5. Actually sunblock is extremely unhealthy for the body all around. The best anti-aging thing we can do is simply stop eating animal flesh, dairy and eggs and eat real food i.e. vegetation. Foolproof (and of course delicious).

  6. Another thing that causes skin damage, especially on the face, is your cell phones. They omit radiation and having your cell in your face for long periods of time produces premature aging.

  7. So why do so many lotions, moisturizers, hydrators, all contain alcohol and salt as the highest ingredient next to water? Everytime i read packaging for lotions it's always "water, alcohol, acid, salt, perfume, more alcohol" in that order. How would that help moisturize someone's skin? Sounds like it would make things worse…

  8. …then you get old like me (I'm 50) your skin loses it's elastisity. However, oddly enough, I look better now than I did at 40 AND 45. Go figure. (?????)

  9. So…. that would mean black people get less wrinkly due to all the melanin that protects their skin from UV radiation, right? If it was that simple I think we would've caught on by now.

  10. Nice…….Anti-aging products and services: How Next Generation Advance Technology Will Change Consumers Lifestyle
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  11. More people are using Sun Block, but the skin cancer rates stay the same and do you know
    what chemicals you are absorbing in that sun block? Yes, it goes right into your body. And its a fact that people that get more sun have less cancer inside the body. I'm 59 and still looking good, even with all the sun"

  12. The Super Soldier Serum created by Dr. Abraham Erskine worked for me. Its exact chemical make up is a nearly complete mystery. The Vita Rays stabilized the serum and allowed it to affect me at an accelerated rate. My skin is smooth and amazing.

  13. Try this amazing Anti Aging Complex Cream! It helps me to feel confident about my facial skin. It’s scientifically proven that it helps in protecting skin from premature wrinkles, creases, fine lines, and blemishes. ON SALE NOW !!

  14. A lot of people think that east Asians either are all slathering on some miracle cream or are genetically blessed with amazing skin. Speaking as someone who lived a year in Japan, it's actually due to the fact that people don't tan there. In fact, most people actively avoid the sun by hiding in the shade or dawning parasol umbrellas and wearing sunscreen. Tan isn't considering beautiful in Asia and that's why many of them have smooth and youthful skin. So embrace the sun screen!

  15. Get a prescription for a retina from your doctor and a 25 dollar tube will last you 6 months but use your sun block

  16. This video has some misinformation.

    Retinoids do not increase elastin. Where's the source on this? Because I've never read such a thing in the research. Also, it's worth mentioning there's multiple types of collagen. Tretinoin increases type I and type III collagen. But other than increasing collagen production, tretinoin also inhibits the expression of a collagenase (matrix mellaproteinase 1), which breaks down collagen. 0.025% tretinoin was not statistically different from 0.1% tretinoin with long term use as far as anti aging was concerned.

    There are, indeed, peptides which have been tested in vivo (in human subjects) to increase collagen. Granted, these studies were by Sederma which manufactures the peptides, but still, in vivo is our gold standard for determining whether or not slathering something topically on our skin is effective. Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7) increased type I collagen, hyaluronic acid, and fibronectin. Matrixyl synthe'6 (palmitoyl tripeptide-38) increased type I, type III, and type IV collagens as well as hyaluronic acid and fibronectin. Tetrapeptide-21 is similarly promising, but an effective concentration remains to be determined. Matrixyl 3000 was tested at 8% concentration and Matrixyl synthe'6 was tested at 2% concentration.

    All in all though, this video is okayyyy for the uninformed viewer. But for people more knowledgable about skincare science, it's unfortunate you missed mentioning vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid (increased type I and type III collagen, inhibited same collagenase as tretinoin), glycolic acid (increased type I collagen mRNA and hyaluronic acid), madecassoside, and to a lesser extent, niacinamide (which may reduce fine lines and wrinkling due to dermal matrix collagen production and/or epidermal protein synthesis of keratin, fillagrin, and/or involucrin).

    Also, wish more people would help inform others about how to understand the UVA protection in their sunscreens, or the lack thereof. The US is sorely behind the rest of the world on sunscreen. If more people understood PPD (persistent pigment darkening) and Asia's ranking of this in their PA system, that would help dispel this myth that SPF has anything to do with UVA protection, when in fact it's only a measure of UVB protection. Broad spectrum in the US is laughable when learning about the critical wavelength test it uses.

  17. What about kitchen oils such as macadamia oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil? A dermatologist on youtube, dr dray said that olive oil will eventually dry out your skin.

  18. For many yrs I would apply my face cream by first dabbing onto my left hand. I used dept store products. Mostly Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Revlon, Lancome, Max Factor brand day and night creams. Decades later there is absolutely no difference between my left and right hand.

  19. UVC rays reach the surface of the earth quite strongly. On YouTube, find MRMBB333. He has people worldwide who measure the uvc rays and he reports the results.

    We've destroyed our atmosphere.

  20. The best anti-aging thing you can do is wear sunscreen every day and follow the advice on the label to apply every two hours. It also keeps you from getting cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in America

  21. My mother can't understand why/how I got the "good genes" that are preventing me from looking my 42 years. I told her even though it freaked her out, that me being a shade loving "goth" kid in highscool helped out a whole lot.? It just wasn't cool to have a tan in that crowd.? I'm thankful because nobody taught me how important taking care of your skin is. Now, I teach my mom all about skincare. The most important is sunscreen, it's the only true anti-aging product in existence. I will also spend good money on good exfoliants and retinol, they make a huge difference in the health and overall appearance/eveness of skin. I use cheap cleanser and moisturizer, as long as they don't strip the skin's natural barrier, they all do the same thing. I like to keep my skin healthy without breaking the bank and the quickest way to not break the bank is stop buying overpriced products that claim to be anti-aging when there is no such thing. Even stuff for wrinkles specifically says "minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," not removes or takes away fine lines and wrinkles.

  22. No, you're better off health wise & financially to use moisturizer like sorbolene & sunscreen, or specialist creams if you have allergies or dermatitis.

  23. I would say no as its the nutrients in the bloodstream and how hydrated you are that constitutes good skin.

  24. Beauty industry: Exposed
    Advertising: Undergoing rebranding
    Economy: in tatters
    Face : fixed
    Science: Winner
    Hotel: Trivago

  25. Well if a young man wants to make himself look like a 70 year old woman, wearing large earrings on both ears is one way to accomplish that

  26. If any of these products actually had any effect on the epidermis they would have to be registered with the FDA and one would need a prescription to get them. They are just moisturising agents with maybe sun protection so just buy a cheap one that you like.

  27. This video is misleading with regards to retinoids and pregnancy. Taking them while pregnant (oral retinoic acid, Accutane) causes birth defects. And that should be made more clear, rather than how they phrased it (2:50) as "causing more damage," which is so vague that it sounds like they're still just talking about skin damage.

  28. The one thing westerners just pretend is not true. Why do you think do Asian women in developed countries look so incredibly young when compared to same aged western women.
    I'm 29 (caucasian) and I've never actively went outside to get tanned. I don't lie around at beaches or go to solariums. I use spf in my skincare for as long as I can think and now I can finally see, comparing myself with other women my age, that this really helped my skin. I never did it because I wanted to avoid skin aging (well now I do haha) but simply because I never liked the look of being tanned. I always wanted to be fair skinned.

  29. Nelson: Hey, Simpson, your epidermis is showing!
    Bart: It is? [looks around him, then falls]
    Nelson: Your epidermis is really your hair. That's why it works. Excuse me a minute–
    HA HA!
    Milhouse: Nelson, it looks like Bart's really hurt. I think he broke his leg.
    Nelson, put upon: I said "HA HA!"

  30. Watch some of the newer videos, and you'll see that Michael did not in fact figure out the secret to anti-aging.

  31. I'd like to know how the use/abuse of meth ages you. Like what happens inside of the user. Thank you so much for the infos.

  32. This is what a skin care and makeup formulator told me. Prevention is the best anti-aging you can do. There are things no cream can fix and they aren't responsible for fixing your bad skin choices.

    The next thing is, any anti-aging cream is absolutely useless untill your 35 or 36 since this is when your skin really starts to change. If anyone tells you you need some anti-wrinkle anti-aging in your 20s, turn around and run.

    And as sick and tired as you hearing about it, water, water, water, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen (every 2 hours and no less no matter what spf it is.), Quit smoking and quit popping those pimples and for F^¢k$ sakes, cut back on the junk food and get your sleep!

  33. Free radicals: the rebellious teenagers of molecular world.

    Why I didn't I hear this statement when I had chemistry classes?????


  35. What about amino acids?

    When I use an amino acid liquid from The Ordinary mixed with my normal skin cream (fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid), my skin seems less prone to irritation and generally more stable. It also facilitates healing from dermatitis and eczema, so there’s got to be some sort of skin barrier / support system happening there.

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