Does moisturizer prevent wrinkles? What you need to know

It's the age-old question: does moisturizer prevent wrinkles? We break down the benefits of a good face cream

young woman applying moisturizer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s well documented that a good moisturizer can help to tackle a range of skin concerns, from dryness to fine lines. But does moisturizer prevent wrinkles? 

In short, aging is inevitable and no moisturizer alone is going to completely prevent the formation of wrinkles—that would be quite the feat of science. But using certain ingredients in your skincare routine can help with the appearance of aging skin and improve your overall complexion, which in turn makes it look healthier and more youthful.

We've broken down why this is the case and what the best face moisturizer can do in terms of helping to keep your skin looking younger and more radiant—as well as a few other products you should consider adding to your regime if you want to prevent wrinkles.

Does moisturizer prevent wrinkles? 

As we get older, our collagen production decreases significantly and our skin's built-in support becomes weaker, leading to loss of volume (sagging skin) and wrinkles. Ultimately, as the Mayo Clinic puts it: "Moisturizers can't prevent wrinkles, but they trap water in the skin, temporarily masking tiny lines and creases." 

As well as the natural aging process, including the menopause, environmental factors like sun exposure, stress, pollution, and lifestyle habits (such as smoking) also have a big impact on our skin. "Exposure to UV light speeds up the natural aging process of your skin, causing wrinkles and rough, blotchy skin," the Mayo Clinic confirms. "In fact, sun exposure is the no. 1 reason for signs of aging in the skin, including uneven pigmentation." Therefore, also applying the best sunscreen for face every single day that your skin is opposed to the sun is essential if you want to prevent premature skin aging. 

Moisturizer is still an important part of a good skin routine as it hydrates the uppermost layers of your skin and prevents water loss, helping to give skin a plumper and more youthful appearance. That said, many modern formulas do contain ingredients that can help to prevent early skin aging.

Which skincare ingredients prevent wrinkles?

One of the few proven ingredients that can reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin are retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A that are found in products like the best retinol serums. They work by speeding up skin cell turnover and increasing the skin's production of collagen.

Meanwhile, thanks to their antioxidant benefits, the best vitamin C serums offer environmental protection and are also beneficial in preventing premature skin aging, while hyaluronic acid is great for hydrating and plumping your complexion. As for a great moisturizer, though, we've handpicked a selection of quality formulas below that will help you keep your skin happy, healthy and hydrated.


CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

RRP: $18.99/£14 for 52ml

Packed with skin-loving ceramides and hyaluronic acid, this lotion by dermatologist-loved CeraVe also comes with the added bonus of SPF 30 (or SPF 25 if you're in the UK).


Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator Moisturizer

RRP: $28.70/£25 for 30ml

One of the best-selling moisturizers at Ulta, this lightweight hydrating cream lasts for up to 100 hours and deeply hydrates the skin. 


Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

RRP: $89/£89 for 50ml

One of the most popular moisturizers in the world, this anti-aging cream contains a unique marine extract and helps to improve the hydration and elasticity of skin. 

Moisturizer might not be able to banish wrinkles, but it does help to lock in the rest of your skincare regime, followed by the application of SPF as the very last step during the day—answering any questions as to whether you apply sunscreen or moisturizer first.

Although moisturizing alone can't and won't completely prevent or get rid of wrinkles, it is an important part of a skincare routine that keeps your skin looking healthy and youthful. Read our in-depth Origins GinZing Moisturizer review for a detailed insight into a cult favorite formula. 

Aleesha Badkar
Former Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life

Aleesha was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was Shopping Writer at woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing all the new beauty & lifestyle products on the market, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, watching everything Marvel, learning about different wines, attempting new languages and traveling as much as she can.