You and I can buy anti-wrinkle cream over the counter. There is an entire aisle dedicated to nothing BUT anti-wrinkle products in almost every drug store and discount department store in America. There are also anti-wrinkle creams that are available only by prescription. Our family doctors or our dermatologists can write prescriptions for us so that we can buy them.
Many over-the-counter and prescription anti-wrinkle creams contain identical active ingredients. There are simply less of the active ingredients in the over-the-counter versions than there are in the prescription-strength creams, so the over-the-counter versions are less effective and must be used for a longer period of time before they provide any visibly notable lessening of wrinkles, if they ever do.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) must approve both over-the-counter and by-prescription anti-wrinkle creams before they’re available to the public. But the standards to which products must rise for approval are very different. Prescription anti-wrinkle creams are classified as “drugs,” and so must meet very high standards that include proving to be effective before they can be sold. But over-the-counter anti-wrinkle creams are classified as “cosmetics,” and the standards for approval are much lower. About the only requirement is that a cosmetic not cause any harm; effectiveness is not a factor.
The cost of over-the-counter anti-wrinkle creams has no bearing on just how effective the cream might be. Cost and effectiveness are unrelated. A very expensive anti-wrinkle cream can be far less effective than a very inexpensive one. The determining factor is the ingredients, and not the cost.
Some of us have very sensitive skin, very sensitive skin, or suffer from skin allergies, or both. We may well have nasty little symptoms of an allergic reaction like rashes, irritation, burning, or redness. If these symptoms of an allergic reaction are noticed, discontinue the use of the product immediately; and if the problem continues, see your doctor.
Research does suggest that the ingredients in some over-the-counter anti-wrinkle creams can improve the appearance of wrinkles.