The Best Firming Ingredients in Skin Care Products

Age-related loss of collagen and elastin in your skin can cause a decrease in skin firmness. You have several options for treating this condition, such as a surgical face lift. But as a cheaper and less painful alternative, you can try a skin firming topical product. Not all skin-firming products are made alike, however. For the best results, choose one created with what skin care experts have determined are the most effective firming ingredients.

Emollients or Humectants

Emollients trap moisture in your skin whereas humectants draw water from the skin's surface deeper into the skin. Example ingredients include oils, silicone and waxes. Such ingredients are great for wrinkled, sagging skin, according to skincare expert Paula Begoun, because they help plump up the skin with moisture. She says that a well-formulated basic moisturizer can result in smoother, firmer skin.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids are listed on skin care ingredient lists as a wide range of natural acids, including citric acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid. They're typically used to help exfoliate dead skin. The University of Maryland Medical Center says they can help stimulate your skin's natural production of elastin and collagen to help firm the skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

Nothing plumps and firms the skin like hyaluronic acid, according to the beauty editors of Elle magazine. The magazine reports that the acid can hold up to a thousand times more water than its total weight, making it extremely effective for firming via infusing the skin cells with water. The magazine specifically recommends hyaluronic acid-enhanced skin care products for firming and lifting the skin in the eye area.


Peptides can help boost your skin's levels of collagen for a firmer surface, according to Real Simple magazine's beauty editors. This makes it a common ingredient in anti-wrinkle skin care products. The University of Maryland Medical Center specifically recommends copper peptides, noting that it helps to both protect your skin from damage and repair past damage.