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What Are You Putting On At Night?

Updated on September 13, 2014

How Do You Choose When Every Jar You See Is Jam Packed With Promises

(Are you putting them on, or are they putting you on!)

What are the best face creams? I have to admit, being of a certain age, when it comes to skin care products, especially rich moisture face cream, the sheer quantity of claims has definitely sparked my interest. If you're like me, you've probably noticed an abundance of new suggested skin care treatments and wonder if they really work.

There are anti aging creams with vitamin C, night creams with retinol; apparently we can now moisturize, lift, renew cells, fill lines, erase wrinkles and more, while we sleep. Have you ever stopped to pick up a little something for your skin at the drug store, only to face a confusing array of products, at prices that seem to be all over the lot?

Best anti aging face cream?
Best anti aging face cream? | Source

Miraculous or misleading?

Keep in mind, this review only addresses the advertised positioning of differentiating ingredients. For example, I love Estee Lauder's Re-Nutriv. It's an extra emollient night cream, and because I am the extra-dry type and look for the best face cream for dry skin, my skin soaks it in like a sponge. I like this cream very much, however, I probably would not have chosen it based on the claims of their super ingredient, Resveratate.

Here's a quick look at some of those miracle skin care ingredients in popular night creams, which may or may not be indicative of the product's over-all effectiveness.This list identifies and explains the advertised differentiating ingredient(s) and their manufacturers theory of effectiveness (in order of price, from high to low).

KEY INGREDIENT(S) OF NIGHTTIME FACIAL CREAMS

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv ($375)
RESVERATRATE

Key ingredient(s): Resveratrate, a trademarked Estee Lauder ingredient. Estee Lauder claims it “is a more potent, stable, and time released form of Resveratrol.”

Resveratrol: A compound found in the skin of red grapes that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.

What it claims: According to Estee Lauder, this product is meant to extend the skin’s youthfulness so that time “stands still”; the skin will increase in its clarity, tone, and fine dry lines will be plumped by the moisturizer.

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. "..Until more high-quality research is available, experts say they can't recommend resveratrol supplements for antiaging or disease prevention…" WebMD

Paula's Choice Rating: Average; EWG's Hazard Rating: 5 out of 10 (0/safest)*

Lancome Absolue Night Precious Cells ($175)
PRO-XYLANE

Key ingredient(s): Pro-Xylane, a derivative of Xylose, monosaccharide pentose (sugar) derived from plants.

What it claims: According to Lancome, "Upon wakening skin looks rested, soft and supple, skin feels strengthened. Wrinkles appear reduced."

Does the scientific community support the claim: Yes. "An histological study of the biopsies of skin samples from two study groups was reported to have shown the group treated with the active ingredient demonstrated an increase in the expression of GAGs (GAGS provide the dermis its compression resilience) in the treated zone, particularly the GAG lacking at the wrinkle level (Chondrotine-6-Sulfate)," reports Florence Hill, in Beautymagonline.

Paula's Choice Rating: Average*

Clarins Super Restorative Night Cream ($122)
PUERARIA LOBATA EXTRACT

Key ingredient(s): Pueraria Lobata extract, also called Kudzo, is a climbing vine plant in the pea family native to southern Japan and east China, where it's been used for centuries to make medicinal teas and extracts.

What it claims: "Revitalizing Pueraria Lobata extract helps counteract dullness, wrinkles, age spots and loss of elasticity caused by natural hormonal changes due to the aging process."

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. Per Drugs.com, "Most commercial products containing pueraria are available as rejuvenating, antiaging, or skin-lightening creams...However, there is no literature to support these uses."

Paula's Choice Rating: Average: EWG's Hazard Rating: 6 out of 10 (0/safest)*

Shiseido Benefiance NutriPerfect Night Cream ($76)
CARNOSINE

Key ingredient(s): Carnosine DP ™ combined with multivitamin B, C, E and P

Carnosine: "Carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) is a protein building block that is naturally produced in the body. It is concentrated in muscles when they are working" -WebMD

What it claims: "restores skin density and firmness for younger-looking facial contours and intensively renews skin's vitality while you sleep"

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. Current medical opinion is that the benefits of supplemental L-Carnosine are questionable and based on scant scientific evidence. -EmaxHealth

Paula's Choice Rating: Average; EWG's Hazard Rating: 6 out of 10 (0/safest)*

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift & Firm Night Cream ($72)
CERAMIDE TRIPLE COMPLEX

Key ingredient(s): Ceramide Triple Complex. An Elizabeth Arden
trademarked ingredient that "is a skin-identical replenishing lipid combination..."

Ceramide: One of the main components of the epidermis layer of human skin, together with cholesterol and saturated fatty acids, ceramide creates a water-impermeable, protective organ to prevent excessive water loss due to evaporation. (Wikipedia)

What it claims: Elizabeth Arden claims it "...helps firm, strengthen and retexturize skin’s appearance while delivering enhanced moisturization."

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. The link between skin disorders and changes in barrier lipid composition, especially in ceramides, is difficult to prove because of the many variables involved. (NCBI)

Paula's Choice Rating: Average*

Black Soil, Kudzo, and Seabuckthorn Berries
Black Soil, Kudzo, and Seabuckthorn Berries

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Intense Night Cream ($60)
ANTIOXIDANT PLANT OILS

Key ingredient(s): Antioxidant plant oils.

What it claims: Boosts skin's ability to recharge and rehydrate during its nightly repair process, plumping fine lines and improving tone and texture.

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. "Whether inhaled or applied on the skin, essential oils are gaining new attention as an alternative treatment for infections, stress, and other health problems. However, in most cases scientific evidence is still lacking." -University of Maryland Medical Center

Paula's Choice Rating: Average*

Mary Kay Timewise Repair Night Treatment ($50)
Night Cream with RETINOL

Key ingredient(s): retinol "Among those ingredients is retinol, and Mary Kay included it in an amount that appears to be greater than the amount in many other available retinol products. -Paula's Choice.

What it claims: "Recapture the vitality of youthful-looking skin and visibly repair the signs of aging."

Does the scientific community support the claim: Yes. Per Dr. Oz, "Out of all of the 'anti-aging' ingredients available on the market today, retinoids are the only ones scientifically shown to work on a molecular level. Retinol is the gentler “cousin” of retinoids, and this is what is found in over-the-counter products. These are not as strong and therefore don’t deliver the results of a prescription-strength cream, but they also have scientific evidence to show they work."

Paula's Choice Rating: Good

Bare Escentuals Purely Nourishing Cream ($28)
ACTIVESOIL COMPLEX

Key ingredient(s): RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex, a trademarked Bare Escentuals ingredient. According to Bare Escentuals, it's "Extracted from nutritionally dense virgin soil, [and] contains a blend of 72 essential macro and micro minerals.

Active soil: The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.

What it claims: According to Bare Escenutals, this product will dramatically improve the appearance of skin by increasing cell turnover and providing antioxidants at levels significantly greater than blueberries or pomegranates.

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. Cosmetic expert Paula Begoun says, "there is no published research proving soil-based minerals have any benefits for your skin."

Paula's Choice Rating: Poor; EWG's Hazard Rating: 7 out of 10 (0/safest)*

Roc Multi Correxion 5 In 1 Night Cream ($28.29)
HEXINAL (ingredient technology)

Key ingredient(s): Because their patented "breakthrough HEXINOL™ Technology" may refer to the ingredient hexylresorcinol, or the idea of targeting the five (hex-) areas of discoloration, sagging, dryness, dull skin tone and wrinkles, in which case key corresponding ingredients would be Vitamin C and hexylresorcinol.

What it claims: "Fights multiple signs of aging while you sleep, when your skin is most receptive, so you wake up looking youthful and rejuvenated."

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. Cosmetic expert Paula Begoun says, "The vitamin C and hexylresorcinol will likely reduce brown spots but for best results you should consider a more potent dark spot treatment applied separately. Dullness is countered by the cosmetic pigments this contains as these add shine and a soft glow to skin...As for sagging, no skin-care product is able to help all that much...no single product can do it all."

Oil of Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream ($24)
AMINO-PEPTIDE +B

Key ingredient(s): Regenerist advertises an advanced amino-peptide +B complex (vitamin B) that “regenerates surface skin cells while you sleep.”

Amino-Peptide: Skin is made up mostly of collagen. Collagen is protein and is made up long chains of amino acids strung together, like chains of linked building blocks. When it is broken down, short segments of 3-5 amino acids form, called peptides.

What it claims: The ingredients "Hydrate to plump skin while you sleep, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and continuously moisturize throughout the night."

Does the scientific community support the claim: Yes and maybe. Paula Begoun of Paula's Choice says that vitamin B3 "When applied topically has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis. It definitely belongs on the A-list of great skin-care ingredients". While Dr. Benabio of The Derm Blog says,"One strategy to improve winkles and to make you look younger is to replace lost collagen. When collagen breaks down, it forms specific peptides. These peptides act as a signal to tell your skin it was damaged and to make new collagen", however, "There are many things that have to go right in order for peptides to actually have a benefit. Because they are break-down products of proteins, they have to be stabilized or they might continue to break down further in a topical cream, becoming useless."

Paula's Choice Rating: Average; EWG's Hazard Rating: 7 out of 10 (0/safest)*

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream ($18)
CLARY SAGE

Key ingredient(s): Clary Sage, a member of the mint family and is native to the northern Mediterranean. It has a lengthy history as a medicinal herb and is currently grown for its essential oil that is used in homeopathy and aroma therapy.

What it claims: Burt's Bees promotes this product as an "anti-aging moisturizer also helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles."

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. "Whether inhaled or applied on the skin, essential oils are gaining new attention as an alternative treatment for infections, stress, and other health problems. However, in most cases scientific evidence is still lacking." -University of Maryland Medical Center

Paula's Choice Rating: Poor; EWG's Skin Deep Hazard Rating: 5 out of 10 (0/safest)


Lumine Premium Beauty Night Cream ($29.99)

TRI PEPTIDES AND SEA BUCKTHORN OIL

What it claims: "provides your skin ultimate nutrition during night. Provides overall relaxation to face line and helps to restore skin's elasticity."

Does the scientific community support the claim: No. "most of Lumene's formulas contain only a dusting of the superstar ingredients they brag about. Vitamin C, ceramides, antioxidants, peptides, and the like" Paula

Paula's Choice Rating: Average

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream ($12.99)
RETINOL

Key ingredient(s): Retinol and green tea

What it claims: Per Neutrogena, this is "a dermatologist recommended Retinol anti-wrinkle cream clinically proven to visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging."

Does the scientific community support the claim: Yes. Per Dr. Oz, "Out of all of the 'anti-aging' ingredients available on the market today, retinoids are the only ones scientifically shown to work on a molecular level. Retinol is the gentler “cousin” of retinoids, and this is what is found in over-the-counter products. These are not as strong and therefore don’t deliver the results of a prescription-strength cream, but they also have scientific evidence to show they work."

Paula's Choice Rating: Best; EWG's Hazard Rating: 4 out of 10 (0/safest)*

Ponds Rejuveness Anty-Wrinkle Cream ($12.99)
AHA's

Key ingredient(s): AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) which are lactic acids

What it claims: "Formulated with AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and collagen, this daily moisturizer visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines"

Does the scientific community support the claim: Yes. "Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs rejuvenate the skin by encouraging the shedding of old, sun-damaged surface skin cells." -DermNet NZ (Pond's contain 8% lactic acids)

Note: These night cream products were chosen because of their high visibility in common retail markets and because they can usually be found in neighborhood department or drug stores. Some brands were skipped because they either had no differentiating ingredient and/or they were rated as having poor results on reputable skin care sites.

*Paula's Choice, the Cosmetics Cop at http://www.paulaschoice.com; EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

In My Humble Opinion

Since I drink a lot of green tea and orange juice, I think I'll considered myself covered regarding antioxidants by taking them internally. Keeping in mind, as I mentioned before, despite the fact that many of the creams are exceptionally rich in emollients and feel wonderful and they're the ones I love sampling in the department stores, I'm looking for the best value for my money and ingredients. My conclusion:

  • Because I don't want to guess about these issues in the delivery system; is the container air-tight, not allowing oxygen to disintegrate the properties,
  • or the science of it; have the break-down properties of any proteins been stabilized,
  • and all sources agree, Retinol is the surest bet when it comes to skin rejuvenation.
  • additionally, considering I like to get the best value for my money...

I think the next face night cream I'm going to try is Mary Kay's Timewise Night Repair Treatment.

How much did you pay for your last face cream purchase?

See results

MarketWatch Statistic

"Americans spent a whopping $33.3 billion on cosmetics and other beauty products in 2010, up 6% from 2009, according to the Commerce Department. That's more than consumers shelled out to buy new foreign cars ($27 billion) or TVs ($25 billion)." - 10 Things the Beauty Industry Won't Tell You

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    • EGamboa profile image
      Author

      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      Good to hear Liticrig. I've actually never used them, but have I do have a friend that has been inviting me to her parties. I'm not a big party goer, so she'll be happy to hear from me. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for your message!

    • profile image

      Litlcrig 3 years ago

      I have used Mary Kay products for years. Their Time Wise Collection is by far the best product I have used. When I use it and I wake up, I can see the difference in my skin.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Such detailed information! What got me is how you can work on those wrinkles for $12.99 instead of plopping down over one hundred dollars for something that does not work! (Voted up, tweeted)

    • EGamboa profile image
      Author

      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      I'm glad it was helpful. It's something that interested me personally, so I hoped by sharing it, it would help others. Thanks for reading, Alicia!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for creating such a useful hub! The details that you've shared are very interesting. Visiting the cosmetics department of a store and looking at the fantastic claims for each product can be overwhelming. An article that narrows the choice of products is very helpful.

    • EGamboa profile image
      Author

      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      You're entirely welcome. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Julia 3 years ago

      Thank you for this article!

    • EGamboa profile image
      Author

      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      Thank you for your comment Sue. Yes, I agree that cosmetics prices seemed to be soaring. But since I've had very dry skin since I was a kid--to the degree it's uncomfortable problematic, and have been combatting it forever, I've come to terms with the investment. As far as dairy free…oh dear, I am from Wisconsin. Enough said.

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 3 years ago from Andalusia

      Leave your skin well alone. Don't believe the hype. Like almost any industry, the cosmetics giants are out to cheat us out of our money. With a good vegetarian and dairy free diet the skin is designed to perfectly look after itself.

    • EGamboa profile image
      Author

      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      My pleasure. The results were a total surprise to me because I've spent tons of money also, especially the face creams. Oh vanity! And it seemed whenever I searched for a site that compared face creams, they were always selling a brand I've never heard of, so I was wary of the results. Thank you for reading YogaKat!

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 3 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      So the cheapest night creams were the best wrinkle reducers. I spent over $100.00 for Clarin's Double Serum thinking $$$$=best ingredients. Thanks for all the great research . . . next time it's $12.99 at the ABC store instead of big bucks at Macys.