Skin Tightening Creams Designed for Your Best Skin Yet

For skin more elastic than a rubber band.

woman touching her face
(Image credit: Getty/Oscar Gutierrez Zozulia)

No matter what products you use or how diligent you are about your skincare routine, everyone finds themselves, from time to time, looking for a product that will support elasticity and make skin look smoother and more supple. Aging, pregnancy, and even simply looking at your phone can raise the need for a skin tightening cream, so these versatile products can be formulated for use anywhere on the body, from head to toe.

"Skin tightening creams are topical products designed to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin, so that the skin looks firmer and smoother," explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Guanche. "These creams typically contain active ingredients that are believed to provide a firmer and tighter look to the skin."

Such active ingredients, she says, include Pink Pepperslim, which she says "shows promise in actually reducing the circumference of the waist," though she does note that "skin-tightening creams are primarily designed to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin, but generally do not have the ability to burn fat or reduce body weight."

Dr. Guanche also states that while the impact of a skin tightening cream "can vary depending on the specific product, individual skin type, and other factors," it's still possible to see results, particularly if you're using a high-quality option.

"With consistent use of a quality skin tightening cream, a person may experience temporary skin tightening, improved skin elasticity, reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and improved skin texture," she concludes. "In other words, the appearance of the skin improves."

Below, Dr. Guanche explains how to use a skin tightening cream and where it's best to apply one. Plus, we list some of the best skin tightening creams money can buy, including options for the face, neck, body. Smooth skin awaits.

How to Use a Skin Tightening Cream

Where to Use a Skin Tightening Cream

First, it's important to determine the part of your body you're targeting when applying a skin tightening cream. Options include the face, neck, and decolletage, which are all prone to wrinkles and fine lines over time. Dr. Guanche adds that other popular areas include the "arms, abdomen, and waist, and thighs and buttocks," or anywhere else on the body "where individuals may be concerned about sagging or loose skin."

Because these creams are often made for specific parts of the body, it's important to apply them only on the areas intended. Creams intended for the legs or buttocks, for instance ("where the skin is relatively thick and less sensitive, according to Dr. Guanche), should not be applied on the face, where skin is more sensitive.

Dr. Guanche also says it's best to "exercise caution when using skin-tightening creams near the genital area, and to avoid applying skin-tightening creams to areas with open wounds, cuts, or broken skin." She also recommends avoiding skin tightening creams if you have allergies or sensitive skin, because the active ingredients in some formulas can cause a tingling sensation.


Once again, Dr. Guanche reminds us that before applying the product to skin, it's best to "always start by reading the product's instructions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer." And, if you're still concerned or if you have allergies or sensitive skin, she recommends patch testing first.

Once you're ready and confident, she advises, "Begin with clean, dry skin and apply the skin tightening cream to the specific areas of concern. If it's a body cream, apply it to areas such as the arms, abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. Use the recommended amount and massage the cream into the skin using gentle, upward motions. This can help improve circulation and enhance the absorption of the product. It's a good practice to wash your hands after applying the cream to avoid transferring the product to unintended areas, especially if the cream contains potent ingredients. And lastly, be consistent and follow with SPF!" This is especially crucial on exposed areas of skin like the arms, neck, and face.

Getting Results

If you're not seeing tighter skin right away, don't fret. Dr. Guanche says, "The timeline for seeing results from a skin tightening cream can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the specific product, individual skin type, the severity of the skin concerns, and how consistently the product is used." In other words, like all skincare products, skin tightening creams don't work miracles overnight.

However, if you've been at it for months and are still not witnessing any change, Dr. Guanche advises "consulting with a dermatologist."

The Best Skin Tightening Creams

Meet the Expert

Dr. Anna Guanche
Dr. Anna Guanche

Dr. Anna Guanche is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. She is the founder of the Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, California. She is also the host of The Dr. Beauty Podcast. She specializes in cosmetic dermatology, anti-aging, and rejuvenation procedures.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at