The culprit: firming creams and serums
The claim: will tighten and tone skin, reduce the look of cellulite and get rid of stretch marks
As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But while firming products definitely fit the sounding-too-good-to-be-true bill, we’re here to tell you that they aren’t all smoke and mirrors. Some of these so-called, workout-in-a-bottle creams and serums actually do everything they claim (click the link at the bottom to see which five actually do work!).
According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulite “refers to the appearance of dimpled skin on the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen of most woman and some men, too.” It is the result of uneven fat deposits under the skin’s surface, and while it’s not a serious medical condition, it can be the cause of some serious insecurity and embarrassment, especially during warmer weather when the layers come off.
Firming creams and serums are a great way to supplement any workout plan to send dimples back to the only place you want to see them: your face. And while, yes, certain firming creams and serums do tone and tighten your problem areas, Manhattan board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt lets us know that it can’t be looked at as a permanent solution. “Any cream or serum is a temporary fix. That said, they can work well. If the skin is dry and lifeless, a good moisturizer can help firm it up. Retin-A is thought to help remodel collagen underneath the surface of the skin but it only works when it’s being used.”
Many companies have touted caffeine as their primo ingredient, but Dr. Baxt says that it’s actually important to look for water on the label. “You want a good moisturizer. ‘Firming’ is really a good marketing term. The skin will look plumper and more ‘firm’ when it’s moist, not dry. Most of the products on the market should be able to provide a good level of moisturizer.”
Not inclined to reach for the firming cream day and night, seven days a week, and want a more permanent solution for saggy thighs and the dreaded c-word—cellulite? Dr. Baxt suggests a visit to a medical spa for a body contouring/toning treatment. “There are lots of machines out there, from Fraxel laser resurfacing to Thermage, Velashape [and] Ulthera.” These ultrasound and radiofrequency devices all help to tighten and tone the skin and give faster, longer-lasting results than your bottle of firming creams and serums.
We tested out tons of creams and serums that made the claim. Find out which ones passed the test.
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