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These 10 Firming Ingredients Are Your Ticket to Tighter Skin

Droop is inevitable. Hormonal shifts result in low levels of collagen, making the battle against gravity a real challenge. As our body’s natural sources of hydration decrease moisture production, our skin appears dry, thirsty, and in need of a replenishing lift. But it isn’t all doom and gloom. With the right ingredients, you can slow the visible signs of aging and improve the appearance of slackening skin. If you want to minimize sagging around your eyes, cheeks, jawline, and neck, this article reveals the top 10 skin-firming ingredients to look for when shopping for anti-aging products.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

By warding off droop and wrinkles, as well as soothing your complexion, alpha-lipoic acid plays a dual role in caring for aging skin. It also can deliver incredible antioxidant defense, so layer this ingredient underneath your sunscreen. Look for alpha-lipoic acid (also known as thioctic acid) in day lotions, firming night creams, and serums.


Applying an antioxidant serum daily gives you an extra layer of anti-aging power. In addition to UVA (which go deep and damage DNA) and UVB rays (which cause sunburns), the sun has an entire spectrum of light, including infrared rays (IRAs). Over time, IRAs can destroy collagen and produce harmful free radicals, which can cause lines, wrinkles, collagen loss, and more. As key defenders against skin damage, antioxidants keep your skin looking plump and cushioned. Here are the all-star antioxidants to look for when choosing skincare solutions:

Vitamin A

Found in retinol creams and serums, topical vitamin A is known to stimulate collagen production, helping the skin appear plumper and lines less severe.

Vitamin C

This antioxidant protects the skin from environmental pollutants, including UV exposure, while promoting collagen and reducing the look of lines.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E works powerfully to blast free radicals and protect against UV rays, pollution, and other environmental aggressors. Since your body cannot naturally produce this antioxidant, it’s a good idea to treat your skin with a topical containing Vitamin E.


Want a skin-lifting ingredient with more immediate benefits? By constricting blood vessels in the skin, caffeine offers quick, albeit temporary de-puffing and tightening results. You’ll find caffeine in many anti-aging eye, face, and neck creams.


Our skin produces ceramides naturally. They are lipids that help maintain moisture levels, protect the epidermis from irritation, and stave off dryness. As we age, these natural hydrators decrease in number, making our skin thirstier, itchier, and more inflamed. To make up for this moisture loss, add a ceramide-rich moisturizer to your daily routine.

Glycolic Acid

A chemical exfoliant, glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that can dissolve dead skin cells, improve skin texture, and support the production of collagen and elastin in the body. To get started, choose a creamy cleanser or gentle scrub with a low-concentration of glycolic acid. Or, use a glycolic acid ‘peel’ (facial mask) once a week for a radiant look, smoother complexion, and easier makeup application.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body, but diminishes as we age. A mighty moisturizer, hyaluronic acid is a star player in keeping your skin plump and hydrated. It has a powerful ability to retain moisture, holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Used twice per day (once in the morning and once in the evening), hyaluronic acid can offer your skin a supple, smoother-looking texture.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a moisture magnet and a good alternative to those whose skin is too sensitive for glycolic acid. As a humectant, it attracts and holds on to water, delivering extra hydration for dehydrated skin. As an anti-anger, lactic acid can promote firmer, thicker skin.


Peptides serve as the building blocks for new collagen and elastin fibers — two proteins that give your skin firmness and elasticity. To perk up your skin with the power of peptides, look for an anti-aging moisturizer or serum containing copper peptides, which help your body both generate and preserve collagen.


As we age, hormones can do a number on our skin. Estrogen is one hormone that helps keep skin looking bright and lifted. So if your body is suffering from a decrease in estrogen, the effects may show up on your face. Soy contains phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens, that can support collagen production in the body. You can find cleansers, lotions, and night creams that contain this plant-based skin plumper.


Applying anti-agers to your skin is useless if you’re not using sunscreen!

If you’ve been religious about applying SPF all your life, keep up the good work. If you’ve been inconsistent, it’s not too late to start slathering on the SPF. You want a product that offers broad-spectrum protection. That means it will shield you from both UVB rays (the ones that burn) and UVA rays (the ones that age skin).

The minimum sun protection factor you should apply daily is 30 SPF. Use a teaspoon-sized amount for your face and a shot glass full for your body. Don’t forget often overlooked places like the ears and neck. And remember to reapply every two hours.

Hate the feeling of a thick cream? Go for a lightweight sheer gel. Want something that creates a smooth canvas under makeup? Seek out a silky gel texture. There also are lotions that help you fight the signs of aging as you protect. These lotions contain line-fighting and collagen-boosting ingredients like the ones mentioned above.

For sensitive skin, look for a physical sunblock. They are generally considered less irritating for easily irritated skin. Look for a fragrance-free lotion that incorporates minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc to reflect UV light.

Baby Your Skin Cells

Do your skin cells a favor. Help them ‘perform’ younger so they can do a better job of fending off collagen and moisture loss. Tightening lotions, antioxidant-infused serums, and a daily SPF habit are your ticket to looking lifted for as long as you can and experiencing maximum anti-aging effects.

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