13 Best Skin-Tightening Creams 2024 to Improve Sagging Skin

13 Best Skin-Tightening Creams 2024 to Improve Sagging Skin

Editor Tip: Not only does this night cream help improve fine lines and even skin tone and texture, but being a retinoid, it can also target other concerns, like breakouts and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. “I used this immediately after I had my baby, and it worked wonders on fading the dark spots from my pregnancy acne,” attests Pai.

Key Ingredients: Retinoid, lactic acid, glycolic acid | Who It’s For: People who can tolerate retinol | Fragrance-free: Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cream that really tightens skin?

Again, a firming cream can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles and improve elasticity—as in, giving skin some bounce and suppleness—but no topical formula can actually tighten skin, which requires collagen remodeling on a much deeper level.

Still, certain ingredients can help, with retinoids being among the best. These are “vitamin A derivatives that can increase skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen,” says Dr. Chang. “Retinoids have been shown to clinically reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve skin texture and complexion.” She also points to peptides, short chains of amino acids, to help improve skin hydration and support collagen production.

On the antioxidant side, vitamin C and niacinamide also promote collagen production and reduce the oxidative damage that can break down the protein, leaving skin loose and crepey over time. And finally, “Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, helping to plump and hydrate the skin to give a more youthful appearance,” she says.

The best ingredients may ultimately depend on your skin type. For instance, if your skin is dehydrated, hyaluronic acid may be worth looking for, whereas people with sensitive skin might need to consider using peptides instead of retinol.

What do dermatologists recommend for tightening skin?

There are two routes of tightening skin in the office: ultrasound and radiofrequency. These “stimulate collagen on a deeper plane to tighten and lift saggy skin more effectively,” says Dr. Chang.

Dr. Woolery-Lloyd is a fan of Ultherapy, which “uses high-frequency ultrasound to tighten skin,” she says. That ultrasound energy heats the very deep layers of skin, thus triggering the body’s wound response. Meanwhile, radiofrequency devices, such as Thermage, also reach the deeper layers of skin, heating it to trigger new collagen production.

Meet the experts

  • Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Miami
  • Claire Chang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City

How we test and review products

When Allure tests a product, our editors look at it from every angle in an effort to best serve you. We review ingredients, scrutinize brand claims, and, when necessary, examine peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies. In addition to testing each and every product that’s included in each and every review, we rely on experts who shape their fields, including dermatology, cosmetic chemistry, and medicine, to help us vet the ingredients and formulas.

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