I am sure many of you clicked into this article with the same question I had when I embarked on this research: Do skin tightening creams really work? It’s a valid question and while we have our own assumptions, we reached out to Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff, founder of Le Jolie Medi Spa to find out once and for all. To our surprise, she’s actually a fan revealing that “skin tightening creams work effectively by boosting the collagen in the skin, smoothing the skin, and increasing skin hydration.” But here’s the thing… While some firming and skin tightening creams and serums can help to tone and tighten problem areas, it really is just a temporary fix. That said, they are, just like your other skincare products, contributing to your overall skin health and that is important. For example, if your skin is dry and lifeless, a good moisturizer can help to firm it up with hydrating ingredients.

As our skin loses tightness due to the loss of elastin, cartilage, and fat along with the thinning of the dermis, there are also professional treatments you can have that target skin tightening: think micro-needling, radiofrequency, PDO threads, lasers, etc. Dr. Rafaeloff suggests pairing skin tightening ingredients with these professional tools to help prevent and treat loosened skin. Some of the most popular treatments she offers clients are Forma, Morpheus8, and the Neurotris Facial. For at-home tools, she suggests LED hand-held devices, EMS devices like NuFace, and gua sha.

Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff
  • Medical Director and Owner, Le Jolie Medi Spa
  • Instagram

After performing clinical research at the world-renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Rafaeloff opened her private practice, Le Jolie Medi Spa in 1996.

Ingredients to Look for in Skin Tightening Creams

  • retinol – renews and tightens the skin
  • niacin – with vitamin B3, it helps to rejuvenate and tighten
  • hyaluronic acid – holds 1000 times its weight in water so it helps to hydrate and plump

10 skin tightening creams Dr. Rafaeloff swears by:

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier

This is the best hyaluronic acid because it hydrates and plumps the skin really well.

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, $102

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

This has a high percentage of ascorbic acid which helps protect skin from the sun, brighten the skin, and helps with cell turnover.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $166

SkinMedica HA5® Rejuvenating Hydrator

This keeps the skin super hydrated with hyaluronic acid.

SkinMedica HA5® Rejuvenating Hydrator, $178

Alastin Restorative Skin Complex

Alastin Restorative Skin Complex contains peptides that help protect your skin from wrinkles and laxity. It’s a great product before and after in-office treatments.”

Alastin Restorative Skin Complex, $195

IS Clinical Youth Complex

This complex hydrates the skin by plumping and putting moisture into the skin.

IS Clinical Youth Complex, $154

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

This serum contains growth factors and antioxidants to help protect the skin and tighten.

SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, $281

Senté Bio Complete Serum

This is a vitamin A retinal with hyaluronic acid that is great for all skin types. The reason this is suitable for all skin types is because of the heparan sulfate, which moisturizes and prevents irritation from the retinol.

Senté Bio Complete Serum, $118

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid

This one is great because it contains a synergistic combination of vitamin C, phloretin, and ferulic acid. It combats environmental and UV damage resulting in more even tone, texture and a reduction of fine lines.

SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid, $166

IS Clinical Youth Serum

I really like how this serum immediately tightens and firms the skin while adding a youthful glow.

IS Clinical Youth Serum, $154

IS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum

I personally like how the serum evens the skin tone and plumps your face. When I use this serum I notice that it immediately evens my skin tone. Men also love this serum!

IS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum, $94

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