Anti-aging face creams put to the test

A skincare expert and chemistry professor weigh in on the products

POSTED: 09:20 AM MDT May 28, 2013    UPDATED: 09:44 AM MDT May 28, 2013 
DENVER -

They're smeared, slathered and rubbed on faces, all in hopes of stopping Father Time in his tracks.

After all, anti-aging creams often promise a lot.

"They're gonna claim that they're going to soften the fine lines and wrinkles, they're going to give a fresher, more youthful texture back to the surface of your skin." skincare expert Michael Moore told our Denver CNN partner, KDVR.

But do those creams really help to restore the look of youth?

Three Colorado women put three different brands to the test, with the help of KDVR and Moore.

One woman tried Dermalogica's Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 30, which retails for about $65.

Another used Oil of Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream with a price of about $20.

Finally, the third woman sampled the La Prairie Anti-Aging Day Cream SPF 30. It costs abot $215 a jar.

The price difference for these face creams can be significant. But often, their actual makeup is very similar.

Colorado College Professor of Chemistry Ted Lindeman examined the ingredients of three different face creams chosen by KRDO.

We picked the old standby, Pond's. Then, we looked to a national magazine ranking, selecting the best lower-cost anti-aging cream, Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, and the best high-end anti-aging cream, Philosophy Full of Promise Dual Action Restoring Cream.

The prices for the three range from about $9 up to $65.

"The impression was, does every one of these ingredients have to be here," Lindeman said of the ingredient lists.

The most expensive cream, Philosophy, also had the most ingredients - nearly 50.

"It's probably not possible, scientifically, to prove that every one of those ingredients needs to be there," Lindeman said. "Some of them, for sure, are tiny, tiny amounts, and they're swamped with other things."

And when it comes to the differences in the ingredients for the creams, Lindeman said those differences were quite small. 

The creams share many ingredients, including water, glycerin and alcohol, along with different types of mineral and seed oils.

So, why the price difference?

Lindeman says, in the more expensive products, there are often many high-priced ingredients, but they are likely used in very small quantities.

"The main price difference is probably just either the mystique - I can afford this. Maybe I don't need it, but I'm drawn to try it. It might do wonders - and that kind of hope. It's not illegal to sell hope," he said.

And as for the women testing the creams and hoping they would work wonders, the skincare expert only saw a difference in one woman, even if she did not.

Moore concluded the Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream made some difference. He says he's a fan of the product line because it contains peptides, which promote collagen growth.

He also says the best anti-aging product is SPF. And he's a fan of ingredients such as hyalauronic acid and Vitamin A.

Meanwhile, Lindeman points out that, because all skin types are different, it may be best to just test a few different products to find the one that works the best for you.

KDVR-TV in Denver contributed to this report.