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Texture changes, dark spots, crepey skin, and moisture loss are ordinary effects of aging. We're all for embracing getting older, but the fact is there's still a substantial market for anti-aging products, namely, wrinkle creams. So in the spirit of supporting all types of skincare journeys, we're here to help you find the best ones.
According to dermatologist Diane Madfes, MD, wrinkles are a result of sun damage, sagging skin, and loss of elasticity. As such, the most effective products for treating them will directly address the causes.
"Look for ingredients that are going to stimulate collagen and elastin, like retinoids, glycolic acids, and peptides," says Dr. Madfes. "Remember to protect from future sun damage with UV blockers and DNA repair enzymes."
Scroll down for the best wrinkle creams available today.
Best Overall: Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
If we could only pick one wrinkle cream to use until the end of time, we'd go with Drunk Elephant's A-Passioni. It checks two of Dr. Madfes's recommended boxes (retinol and peptides) to support collagen production, boost elasticity, firm sagging skin, and—more to the point—reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
What's more, this all-star cream contains ceramides and nourishing fatty acids from plant oils to minimize irritation from the retinol and replenish the skin barrier. It also promises to deliver a plumping effect and an all-around supple, healthy-looking complexion.
A-Passioni is undoubtedly expensive. Nonetheless, we stand behind it not only as one of the best Drunk Elephant products but arguably the best wrinkle cream out there today.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, peptides, plant oils, ceramides, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Budget: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
On a budget? You can still get great results from an affordable formula. Case in point: RoC. Containing two of Dr. Madfes's recommended actives, retinol, and glycolic acid, this night cream resurfaces dull, dry skin while smoothing fine lines and supporting collagen production.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, squalane, glycolic acid, vitamin C | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
What Our Testers Say
"Overall, I was very happy with RoC's Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream. On top of being affordable, it didn't irritate my skin, and I noticed a reduction in fine lines within a week." — Leigh Weingus, product tester
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Cream + Hyaluronic Acid
Contains synthetic fragrance
When it comes to over-the-counter retinol products, Neutrogena is a drugstore standby. The brand's Regenerating Cream combines the vitamin A derivative with hyaluronic acid and glycerin to deliver plumping hydration while smoothing wrinkles.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid, glycerin | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter
If you're shelling out the big bucks for a wrinkle cream, you want to know it works. With 30% Proxylane, plus phytosphingosine and blueberry extract, SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter calls on clinically proven ingredients to improve not just wrinkles but all other signs of photoaging.
Active Ingredients: Proxylane, blueberry extract, phytosphingosine | Skin Type: Mature, balanced | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Daytime: CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream with Sunscreen
Replenishes skin barrier
Reviewers note it's hard to blend
Some would argue the best wrinkle cream is sunscreen, as it helps prevent lines from appearing in the first place. That's why we love CeraVe's Renewing Day Cream, which contains a gentle dose of line-correcting retinol, SPF 30 protection from the sun's damaging rays, and barrier-replenishing ceramides to boot.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, zinc oxide, encapsulated retinol, hyaluronic acid, ceramides | Skin Type: Oily, combination, sensitive, mature, balanced | Size: 1.8 oz | SPF: 30 | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Overnight: Specific Beauty Radiance Repair Night Treatment
Before you hit the sack, slather on a thin layer of this reparative night cream. It contains wrinkle-reducing retinol, radiance-boosting antioxidants, and squalane to moisturize while keeping irritation at bay.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, squalane, niacinamide, licorice root extract | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Crow's Feet: The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream
If you're looking to target crow's feet, your best bet is a retinol eye cream, like this supremely affordable pick from The Inkey List. It hydrates and plumps with hyaluronic acid, boosts radiance with vitamin C, and, thanks to the slow-release formula, reduces the appearance of wrinkles without the irritating effects of retinol.
Active Ingredients: Slow-release retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C | Skin Type: Balanced, mature, combination | Size: 0.5 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Neck: bareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Neck Cream
Contains synthetic fragrance
You don't necessarily need a designated cream for your neck, but if it helps you remember to moisturize below the chin, we're all for it. This one contains Bidens pilosa extract, a plant-derived retinol alternative that's been shown to offer similar wrinkle-reducing effects.
Active Ingredients: Bidens pilosa extract, peptides, squalane, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Repairative: Priori DNA Intense Recovery Cream
"Priori DNA Intense Recovery Cream contains DNA repair enzymes, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C," Dr. Madfes tells Byrdie. As mentioned, DNA repair enzymes can help prevent photoaging—but this doesn't mean you can skip the sunscreen.
Active Ingredients: DNA repair enzymes, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Tightening: Yeouth Retinol Moisturizer
For a tightening effect, reach for this wallet-friendly moisturizer. It combines two of Dr. Madfes's recommended ingredients for wrinkles (retinol and peptides), plus soothing green tea and plumping hyaluronic acid.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid, green tea, peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Firming: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Supports collagen production
Replenishes skin barrier
Dr. Dennis Gross combines anti-aging retinol with bakuchiol and rambutan, resulting in a boost in collagen production to improve elasticity, minimize wrinkles, and deliver visibly firmer skin.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, bakuchiol, rambutan, ferulic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 2 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Sensitive Skin: Plantkos Phyto A Face Lotion
Supports collagen production
If your skin doesn't tolerate retinol well, Plantkos Phyto A is a prime choice. It contains bakuchiol, an up-and-coming plant-derived retinol alternative that offers similar effects without any redness, stinging, or irritation.
Active Ingredients: Bakuchiol, niacinamide, vitamin C, gotu kola, Schisandra sphenanthera | Skin Type: Mature, sensitive, balanced, oily, combination, acne-prone | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Dry Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
Wears well under makeup
Replenishes skin barrier
Thirsty complexion? Go with BeautyStat. It calls on hyaluronic acid to draw moisture from the air, bind it to your skin, and keep it hydrated for hours on end. Not only that, but ceramides replenish the skin barrier and support its moisture mantle. The lightweight formula is also great under makeup.
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, probiotics | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best With Glycolic Acid: Skinergy Beauty Skin Guardian Moisturizer
Contains organic ingredients
Dr. Madfes is a fan of glycolic acid for wrinkles, as the AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) sloughs off dead cells to reveal smoother skin underneath. This moisturizer also replenishes the skin with plant oils and calms inflammation with soothing ingredients like aloe, green tea, and reishi.
Active Ingredients: Glycolic acid, plant oils, reishi mushroom, aloe, green tea | Skin Type: All | Size: 2 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best With Peptides: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Supports collagen production
Contains synthetic fragrance
Dr. Madfes recommends wrinkle creams with peptides, as they help strengthen the skin while improving firmness and delivering a lifted look. To take it a step further, Olay blends amino acids with niacinamide (vitamin B3) to boost collagen production and radiance on photoaged skin.
Active Ingredients: Peptide complex, amino acids, niacinamide | Skin Type: Mature | Size: 1.7 oz | SPF: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
The best wrinkle cream overall is Drunk Elephant A-Passioni, a brilliant moisturizer containing line-reducing retinol, collagen-supporting peptides, and barrier-replenishing ceramides. For something a little easier on your wallet, we highly recommend RoC Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, which combines retinol with resurfacing glycolic acid.
Meet the Expert
Diane Madfes, MD, PC, is a board-certified dermatologist and attending physician at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her New York City practice, Madfes Aesthetic Medical Center, specializes in facial rejuvenation, fillers, chemical peels, and general skin care.
What To Look for in a Wrinkle Cream
According to Kavita Mariwalla, MD, Byrdie Beauty & Wellness board member, this over-the-counter anti-aging ingredient has a proven track record of helping to stimulate collagen production to help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Not only does this category of exfoliating acids help to even out skin tone and texture, one of them in particular, glycolic acid, also has some collagen-boosting effects as well.
There's a whole new category of peptides that help with skin elasticity and firmness, both of which play a role in wrinkle formation, too, explains Mariwalla. Not to mention that peptides also tend to be better tolerated and elicit less sensitivity than the retinoids and acids of the world.
This vitamin is a triple threat, acting as a protective antioxidant and excellent radiance-booster while also helping to stimulate collagen production for smoother, less wrinkled skin.
Do wrinkle creams work?
If you choose the right formula that contains some of the tried-and-true anti-aging ingredients we mentioned, use it diligently and have a little bit of patience—they will work. However, it's important to remember that, no matter what type of wrinkle cream you're using, it's imperative to wear sunscreen (with broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection or higher) daily to ensure that sun damage doesn't thwart your wrinkle-fighting attempts.
At what age should you start using wrinkle cream?
The age at which you start seeing wrinkles will depend largely on those external and internal factors that Mariwalla mentioned. That being said, she says that generally speaking, your mid-20s is a good time to start an anti-aging skincare routine, including a wrinkle cream.
How do you apply wrinkle cream?
For retinoid-based creams, Mariwalla recommends applying a pea-size drop of product to clean skin by dabbing it on your forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. If the product you're using doesn't contain a retinoid, you can use about a nickel-size amount.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a seasoned beauty writer and skincare devotee. For this story, she interviewed a dermatologist for their product suggestions and expertise on wrinkle-reducing actives, then combed through ingredients lists and referenced a long list of peer-reviewed articles before landing on her final selections. As a long-time retinol user, Theresa has tried a handful of items on this list, including Drunk Elephant, RoC, Neutrogena, Dr. Dennis Gross, Olay, Yeouth, CeraVe, and The Inkey List. She covers skincare, makeup, and wellness products at Byrdie.
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