Why isn't there an effective anti-wrinkle treatment?

< Disclaimer: this isn’t a rant. I don’t think human biology is simple, that there’s a conspiracy or that the world’s finest minds should devote themselves to cosmetics. >

Considering the amount of time and money that has been put into developing anti-wrinkle treatments (particularly skin creams), and the payoff for success, the results have been pretty poor AFAICT.

It’s quite surprising, when you think about it, that we have not discovered any way of significantly tightening or smoothing human skin in vivo (except for mechanically e.g. face lift).

The closest thing we have is botox, which works by immobilizing particular facial muscles.
Perhaps that hints as to why this is so difficult: That to significantly improve the layer of skin you see, you have to fix everything: all layers of skin, muscle tone, remove fat, surface chemistry etc?

I don’t think there is any cream, no matter how expensive, or beautifully packaged, that is going to work miracles. Yes, there are creams that can take five or more years off of a person’s age, but even if there were a miracle cream, I don’t think a 60 year old woman would want to look 20 years old again. In addition, I don’t believe in plastic surgery, unless it is necessary, for example, a car accident or something. I have seen quite a number of women, who in my opinion, looked better before plastic surgery. And some of the injected lips look just horrendous. But, getting back to the anti-aging creams, with time there will probably be some significant progress with anti-aging products.

I always thought it’s because of entropy. If you take a piece of something and stretch it (which is basically what happens to skin), there’s no way to make it shrink back to its original length again.

Agreed. At this time, many people that try to fight the ageing process come off looking worse.

I know it was a strange OP (and for a while it looked like I’d pulled off another Zero Replies Thread).
It’s just I saw a 1950s ad for a skin cream and it was making the same level of claim as you see nowadays. Clearly progress has been made since then, but it doesn’t feel like a lot.

There is. It’s called Sunscreen. However, you have to use it to prevent wrinkles–and other skin oddities.

(There are other products that do buff the complexion up a bit. Not all that expensive or fancily packaged.)

I think that the skin regenerates itself from the inside out. Several layers below the surface, something (maybe keratinocytes) is creating new cells, which move upward over time to become the stratum corneum, or skin. Over time, that process slows down, and not as much firm and elastic skin is formed, leaving a somewhat wrinkled texture.

So either find a way to stimulate the creation of more keratinocytes, or find a way to make the reduced amount of formed skin more firm and elastic. My former business is probably trying both, but neither is very easy to do. Many companies just go the easy way, and use the snake oil approach of bold claims and high prices. Hey, it must work if it costs that much.

Note that I only worked on the skin side of the business for a short time, so I am hardly an expert.

I don’t think any cream can counteract years and years of gravity.

It seems like there are fairly effective preventative anti-wrinkle ointments and treatments. But I suspect you are talking specifically about anti-wrinkle treatments for the already-existing variety.

if a remedy works then you can sell it once.

if you make people hope a remedy works even if is an illusion then you can sell it for decades.

The only effective anti-wrinkle treatment is to die young.

The strategy makes sense, but it’s hard to see how it could play out in the real world. It’s not just one guy in a shed* developing these things.
To know that they have developed an amazing new treatment, there would have to be large-scale trials. And if there are such trials they would want to apply for patents or else they risk losing their IP. And to patent something you must release details to the public.

  • Or like one of the banner ads: “Housewife discovers amazing wrinkle cure…doctors are furious!”

True, but this doesn’t surprise you? I’m not talking about an elixir of youth, just anything not harmful that has a significant effect on human skin.

If we were to list the fields with the worst “results per dollar spent” scores, skin anti-ageing would definitely be among them.

Starting from the time I was about 14, I have spent probably thousands of dollars on creams, lotions, and coverups to get rid of dark circles under my eyes.

None of them have ever worked. Well, the coverups, some more than others. Makeup works, but it rubs off.

HOWEVER…40+ years of applying stuff to my eyes, while it never once got rid of the damn dark circles, seems to have resulted in an amazing lack of wrinkles.

I mean, I do have wrinkles. Just not around my eyes.

It is unfortunately too late to experiment with this stuff and see what it might have done had I applied it to the rest of my face, or my neck.

PS Sunscreen. A friend’s mother is 84 and for her entire life she has been zealous about using hats, umbrellas, sunscreen, never going to the pool in the daytime. Now, she doesn’t exactly look young, but she sure doesn’t look 84. Years ago I asked what her skin care regime was. I figured it was long and tedious and involved many expensive products. No. She washed her face at night with Noxema and put on Ponds face cream.

I like this!

Although this is a little off-topic, but in the same category, if it is a hot, sunny day I will wear gloves while driving. Hands need protection from the sun also, and quite often, one can tell the age range of a person by looking at their hands. While driving, I wear the kind of gloves where you can get a good hold on the steering wheel, as I think that is safer for driving.