Think of them as moisturizers with benefits.
When it comes to identifying signs of aging, the loss of collagen and elastin happens slowly and steadily—until one day you notice your skin isn’t as firm as it was before.
Collagen is one of the main components of the skin, and according to Hadley KIng, a cosmetic and medical dermatologist, it “provides strength and volume giving skin its structure.” She notes that it’s “essential for keeping skin robust and youthful,” and as collagen production decreases, our skin loses its firmness. Along with getting older, another major culprit for loss of collagen in the skin is sun exposure. “Overall loss of collagen in the skin is due to two factors: increased breakdown of collagen and inhibition of collagen production,” she says. “Both are stimulated by UV exposure.”
To combat collagen depletion, there are in-office treatments like Sofwave, which uses “high-intensity, low-divergence, multiple ultrasound beam technology,” or radiofrequency coupled with microneedling. But there are also face moisturizers and body creams on the market that can help firm skin when getting a professional treatment isn’t an option.
According to King, the plus side of using creams is that they can be great for regular maintenance and are typically less expensive than an in-office procedure. However, don’t expect an overnight difference, as results will take longer to see. She suggests looking for options with retinoids (or alternatives like bakuchiol) and anti-aging peptides, which stimulate collagen production, niacinamide to improve skin texture, as well as ingredients like humectants to hydrate, emollients for skin barrier support, and occlusives to lock in all that moisture for a plumper look.
Here, we’ve rounded up 13 creams that tout skin-tightening results for every part of your body.
BEST FOR BARRIER REPAIR PÜR MINERALS Get a Lift Firming Facial Cream Moisturizer
One of the firming moisturizers that King recommends both protects the skin’s barrier and fights free radical damage. “Emollients like ceramides and fatty acids [in this moisturizer] support the skin barrier, helping to make the skin more smooth and plump,” she says. “Antioxidants like alfalfa extract help to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by pollution and UV rays that can accelerate collagen degradation.”
BEST FOR MATURE SKIN SkinCeuticalsTriple Lipid Restore 242
Natural cholesterol, ceramides, and fatty acids in this treatment help to restore elasticity and boost hydration, while vitamin E helps fight environmental damage.
BEST FRAGRANCE-FREE BODY LOTION NécessaireThe Body Lotion
This body lotion is packed with vitamins and absorbs fast to help improve the look and feel of skin over time while increasing firmness.
BEST FOR NECK AND CHEST CosmedixIlluminate & Lift
“Cosmedix’s Illuminate and Lift Neck and Decollete Treatment contains tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a potent form of vitamin C that has antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from damage from free radicals from pollution and UV rays that can accelerate collagen degradation,” King says. “It also contains edelweiss stem cell extract, another potent antioxidant, and anti-aging peptides that help to lift and smooth the skin.”
BEST FOR A.M. AND P.M. USE RéViveSupérieur Body Renewal Firming Cream
This luxe body cream includes hyaluronic acid to both soften and plump the skin, while its Bio-Renewal and Bio-Firming proteins help tighten and even skin tone.
BEST FOR LEGS Sol de JaneiroBrazilian Bum Bum Cream
This cult-favorite cream is known for its tropical scent and skin-smoothing abilities. The thick, smooth cream is great for those who also have drier skin, and it features guaraná, a Brazilian plant known for its caffeine-rich properties that help stimulate skin.
BEST DRUGSTORE PICK Pond’sRejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream
“Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream, which moisturizes while also delivering anti-aging benefits, contains niacinamide to improve skin texture and retinol to stimulate collagen production,” King says. “It also hydrates with glycerin and supports the skin barrier with pro-ceramides.”
BEST FOR FINE LINES AND WRINKLES OlayRegenerist Cream
This hydrating cream is packed with an amino-peptide complex to plump skin and smooth over those fine lines.
BEST BODY CREAM FOR MATURE SKINCrepe Erase Advanced Body Repair Treatment
King notes that a “decrease in collagen and elastin” is the major reason why skin can lose its firmness. This body cream treats dry skin and also supports natural elastin production.
BEST FOR ARMS AND LEGS StriVectinTighten & Lift Crepe Control Tightening Body Cream
The tripeptides in this body cream help to improve elasticity, while murumuru seed butter moisturizes and hydrates dry skin.
BEST FOR UNEVEN TONE Augustinus BaderThe Body Cream
Augustinus Bader is a cult favorite for a reason. This body cream helps jump-start the skin’s natural repairing process and also features a combo of amino acids and vitamins to firm skin, fight sun damage, and even fade stretch marks.
BEST FOR NECK AND CHEST WITH SPF Perricone MDCold Plasma Plus+ Neck & Chest Broad Spectrum SPF 25
One of the ways King says people can decrease their chances of experiencing degradation of their body’s collagen and elastin is by practicing “sun-smart behavior, including sun protection, on an everyday basis.” This cream for the neck and chest, which includes broad spectrum SPF 25, is a great start.
BEST FOR STOMACH Maelys CosmeticsB-Flat Belly Firming Cream
If loose stomach skin is an issue for you, this pick is a definite add to cart. Ingredients like Pink Pepperslim, a plant extract, smooth skin, while avocado extract improves the look of stretch marks and shea butter and hyaluronic acid keep skin hydrated and moisturized.
Do skin-tightening creams really work?
Yes, but there’s a caveat. “They need to be used regularly. Prevention and maintenance are key,” King says. And again, don’t expect results overnight.
What are some ways you can make your skin tighter?
“Sun-smart behavior, including sun protection, on an everyday basis, in-office treatments that stimulate collagen, and topical products that stimulate collagen and/or decrease loss of collagen,” King says. “I also recommend an anti-inflammatory diet. This means a diet high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy grains, and low in sugar and other refined carbohydrates and processed foods.”
Why? It all comes down to sugar. “Excess sugar molecules bond to collagen and elastin through a process named glycation, which ultimately causes the collagen and elastin fibers to lose their strength and flexibility,” the derm says.
How long does it take to notice results from creams?
Prepare to wait at least a month to notice results.
How long do results typically last?
Topical products must be used continuously for ongoing results, otherwise the effects will be short-lived.