The 18 best anti-aging skin care products

When it comes to skin issues, everyone turns to the same type of person: a dermatologist. they’re the experts on not only what’s good for you, but also what really works. what better way to discover the most effective products than to find out what the professionals use on your own skin?

shop today interviewed several dermatologists about the anti-aging products they actually use, as well as the best practices they recommend, to keep your skin looking youthful. Some noteworthy findings: Sun exposure is a big culprit, the time of day and the order in which you use certain products matter, and surprise! — It’s never too early to start using products with anti-aging properties. (“You can start at age 20,” Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist, told us.)

Reading: Best anti aging skin care products reviews

Read on to find out what exactly to look for in an anti-aging product, what to have in your skincare routine, answers to your frequently asked questions, and of course, a list from our experts and editors. 18 recommendations of the best anti-aging products.

types of anti-aging products and ingredients | how we choose | the best antiaging retinoid products | picks with vitamin c, acids, peptides and more | anti-aging facial moisturizers | sunscreens that help with anti-aging | frequently asked questions | meet our experts

types of anti-aging products and ingredients

Anti-aging products, like other types of skin care products, come in a variety of forms, including creams, serums, lotions, gels, ointments, and even powders. To help you navigate the myriad of options out there, our experts listed the following products and ingredients to look for:


yes, there are moisturizers and exfoliators, but preventing damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays is possibly the most important part of your skincare routine, according to jaliman and dr. rebecca baxt, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of cosmedical in new jersey. because? because those rays break down the collagen in your skin, which causes hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, explained the latter.

“I could write a whole article on sunscreen, but the bottom line is to make sure it’s at least SPF 30 broad spectrum and apply it daily to sun-exposed surfaces,” he said, adding that the hardest part because many people reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours, instead of just when they go to the beach. This leads to “incidental sun exposure,” one of the most common causes of skin aging, Baxt added. she also said there’s no “safe” amount of time to be outside in the sun without your skin experiencing the degrading effects of the rays.


after protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays and making sure it’s moisturized, retinoids are the next most important ingredient to add to your regimen, baxt said. he pointed to over-the-counter examples of this chemical compound that is a derivative of vitamin a: serums with retinol or differin, for example. (There’s also retin-a, a stronger retinoid, available by prescription.)

Retinoids have a host of benefits: They diminish the appearance of wrinkles by thinning the top layer of skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, and stimulate collagen production, baxt explained. Plus, Jaliman said, the increased cell turnover from this ingredient helps unclog pores.

products with vitamin c

After sunscreen and retinoids, there are other categories of skincare products you can use that baxt said are less important, but still contribute small anti-aging improvements when added to your routine. The first of these is vitamin c, “a potent antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and also brightens the skin,” jaliman explained. when applied first thing in the morning, before sunscreen, “[it can] help reverse skin damage if the rays get through,” baxt explained.

acids, peptides and other ingredients

The acids and peptides are similar to vitamin c in that they also contribute small anti-aging improvements, baxt said. Examples of helpful acids include glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane that exfoliates the skin, and hyaluronic acid, a substance our skin naturally produces that holds its weight 1,000 times in water (read: : very, very moisturizing). “It helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to its plumping properties,” jaliman explained.

Peptides are a type of amino acid that, Jaliman said, “stimulate the production of new collagen [and] improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is another effective antioxidant that she also recommends, not only because the substance, like other antioxidants, helps counteract the stressful oxidative effects of UV rays, but also “helps even out skin tone.” of the skin… and it’s anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce redness,” the dermatologist said.


Moisturizing is another necessary step in your anti-aging skincare routine, which jaliman says is important “at any age.” Moisturizers of any variety (for example, lotions, creams, serums, and ointments) are generally “often labeled as anti-aging, since moisturizing reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and the FDA allows that label,” Baxt added. p>

Squalane is another moisturizing ingredient you’ll see in many antiaging products, jaliman said. Squalane is a lipid that is a stable, cosmetic-ready (and therefore skin-friendly) form of squalane, which is the oil our skin naturally produces to protect and maintain moisture. We produce less of this natural oil as we age, which is why Jaliman recommends looking for squalane as one of the ingredients in your moisturizing and anti-aging products. “[it’s] an anti-inflammatory lipid, so it reduces redness on the skin. It’s also very moisturizing,” he added.

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how we choose

To put together this list, we interviewed 11 dermatologists to ask them what ingredients to look for in an antiaging product and what best practices they recommend for a complete skincare regimen. We then asked some of these dermatologists, as well as some of our skin-savvy editors today, about their favorite anti-aging products. we also take a hard look at dozens of the best-selling products on the internet that contain the best anti-aging ingredients and most of them have positive verified customer reviews.

best antiaging retinoid products

Inexpensive Choice: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoids 2% Emulsion

this creamy-textured emulsion of a “next-generation” retinoid that the brand claims achieves the same anti-aging and skin-lightening effects as other forms of over-the-counter retinoids, without the latter’s tendency to irritate and dry sensitive skin Due to the creamier texture of this serum, it should be applied at night after lighter substances, but before heavier creams or ointments. you should also note that it should not be used in conjunction with other retinoid-based skin care products.

We like this for people with oily skin who can’t handle a lot of oil-based products like a squalane-retinoid formula, due to the fact that it’s oil-free. In fact, one ULTA reviewer raved that, in contrast to a common oil-based retinoid she used previously, “this formula sinks into my skin very well, and I’ve had far fewer breakouts and better healing after the ones.” acne breakouts while using it.”

budget pick: differin adapalene gel 0.1% acne treatment

dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology in New York City, can’t say enough about Differin.

“it used to be a prescription and then it went over the counter. i love differin gel,” she said.

Thanks to the powerful retinoid ingredient (in the form of 0.1% adapalene), this gel doesn’t just fight acne; it also helps reduce the signs of aging. works by reducing inflammation deep in the skin to clear clogged pores and combat fine lines.

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and I would be remiss not to mention its efficacy against acne. If Amazon’s nearly 34,000 five-star reviews (all from verified customers, no less) aren’t enough to convince you, take it from Fran Sales, Associate Editor of Shop Today: “I found this out in the middle of a really bad ‘masknee fight. ‘ and kept using it for my hormonal acne on my chin, which really took off after the last few stressful years,” she said. “Yeah, it’s drying, so I always moisturize afterward, but it probably got rid of about 75 percent of my stubborn breakouts,” he added.

paula’s choice resist intensive repair cream

This paula’s choice night moisturizer contains 0.01% retinol, hyaluronic acid (HA), and peptides, a combination the company claims minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, plumps skin, and locks in moisture. It also has antioxidants in the mix, which helps combat the effects of environmental stressors like UV damage. reviewers with very dry skin give this cream positive reviews, with one verified customer raving, “my skin is aging and very dry, and after applying this to my skin, it just swallows it!”

avon anew clinical line eraser with retinol

“I love this product because it’s sensitive enough for first-time retinol users,” said dr. kim nichols, connecticut dermatologist.

“retinol, a derivative of vitamin a, goes a long way. minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, diminishes hyperpigmentation, blackheads, and dark spots, and reduces inflammation, pore size, and the appearance of blemishes,” she said, adding that it’s not too harsh on the skin.

“Two things to remember when using retinol: Always use it with a moisturizer, and less is more,” she noted. “you only need a penny for your whole face for the night.”

picks with vitamin c, acids, peptides and more

staff pick: l’oreal revitalift 10% pure vitamin c serum

“I used to use this and it’s a great price, it really helps with texture and fades dark spots. It’s thick so it can actually be used as a moisturizer,” said shannon garlin, editorial assistant at shop today . She’s talking about l’oreal revitalift, a serum formulated with vitamin c, which the brand says visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles, as well as brightens skin, in a week or two. it is also safe for sensitive skin and can be used both day and night.

first aid ultra repair beauty firming collagen cream

jaliman highly recommends this highly moisturizing cream for its skin-plumping niacinamide and wrinkle-fighting peptides. but, he added, the glycerin and squalane, which boost hydration as well as firm collagen, are a welcome bonus. It is compatible with normal, dry, and combination skin, and reviewers love its light texture and application. Also, this is one of the products highlighted by Jaliman that really reduces wrinkles on the face.

Staff Pick: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

“I got it as a gift at an event and I’ll buy it again, it doesn’t smell and it’s very light, it applies very well under makeup!” raving garlin. In addition to vitamin c (which targets acne scars in addition to sun spots), this gentle night serum also contains collagen sodium hyaluronate, a combination that the brand claims hydrates and brightens skin. all you need is a few drops and be sure to apply before any night cream.

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la roche-posay facial serum with pure vitamin c

“when i think anti-aging, i think protect, prevent and correct, so i always like to have an antioxidant in the morning,” said dr. michelle henry, clinical instructor of dermatology at weill cornell medical school in new york city.

henry recommends la roche-posay vitamin c serum because it brightens skin, removes dark spots, and stimulates collagen. “It makes the skin look fresher and eliminates lines and wrinkles,” she added.

cerave hyaluronic acid moisturizing facial serum

henry calls hyaluronic acid a “wonder molecule”, and this serum is packed with it.

“It really helps plump up the skin,” he explained. “As we age, we lose moisture in our skin and this ingredient can help restore moisture.”

drunk elephant c-signature fresh day serum with vitamin c

drunk elephant b-hydra intensive hydration serum

“I started researching natural skin lines a few years ago when I was looking to replace my underperforming moisturizing gel,” said dr. jessica weiser, dermatologist, new york city.

“That’s when I discovered this gel and serum combination. I was initially drawn to the hypoallergenic and non-toxic nature of these two products, but after trying them I was immediately drawn to their silky texture and smooth application, and results. . “

he first encountered the superstar drunken elephant duo when they were sold in a set of smaller sizes. that set is no longer available, but don’t worry! you can achieve just as radiant skin with full-size bottles that will last you even longer.

“I apply the serum every morning – its powerful antioxidants brighten my complexion and help prevent UV rays and environmental damage,” she said. “Then comes the gel, which contains hyaluronic acid, which ‘locks in’ on top of the smaller molecular nutrients and vitamins in the serum. The combination leaves my skin glowing, radiant and perfectly primed for sunscreen, the final and most important step of my skin care routine.”

skin medica age defense retinol complex

“I swear on retinoids! all dermatologists learn about this form of vitamin a in residency as part of our training,” said dr. gary goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at mount sinai hospital in new york city. “as an antiaging agent, retinoids help to soften wrinkles and lines and diminish pigmentation caused by the sun. but they also treat breakouts and stimulate collagen and elastin fibers.”

goldenberg also loves its exfoliating properties.

“Want more? Retinoids can improve pigmentation problems like brown spots and melasma thanks to their exfoliating properties, and they can reduce pore size and brighten skin,” she added. “Any product left on my fingers goes directly to the back of my hands for a little anti-aging there.”

anti-aging facial moisturizers

aveeno positively radiant daily facial moisturizer spf 15

“although there are many expensive skin care treatments on the market, nothing is better at preventing both skin cancer and premature aging of the skin than sun protection,” says dr. joshua zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at mount sinai hospital.

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“Studies have shown time and time again that regular sunscreen use prevents the development of skin cancers, including melanomas, which can be life-threatening,” he said. “In a recent year-long study, regular sunscreen use was even shown to improve the cosmetic appearance of skin, probably because the protective skin was able to heal itself.”

ultimately, consistency is key when it comes to skin care.

“For starters, the best treatment for aging skin is to prevent damage from ultraviolet light,” Zeichner said. “skipping a day won’t result in a huge loss, but if you skip it regularly, your skin will ultimately pay the price.”

zeichner said he was impressed with the brightening properties of the product.

“I was introduced to this product when I was a resident,” shared zeichner. “I love that not only does it protect from uv exposure, but it’s the only product that really brightens the skin, thanks to its soy complex and light diffusers.”

eucerin daily protection spf 30 moisturizing face lotion with sunscreen

“I love this anti-aging because it’s dual-action: it’s an oil-free, fragrance-free moisturizer, plus it’s a broad spectrum uva/uvb sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide but doesn’t leave skin looking pasty and chalky,” said dr. sonia badreshia, clinical instructor of dermatology at the university of california, san francisco. “it’s a must for face, neck, décolleté and hands. I highly recommend it to treat and prevent dark marks and it’s my secret weapon against rough knees and elbows.”

cerave ultralight moisturizing lotion spf 30

levin recommends this blend moisturizer with spf 30. “it has three essential ceramides that really hydrate and protect the skin barrier. it also has hyaluronic acid, which is a super hydrating skincare ingredient that i love,” explained.

neutrogena hydro boost gel-cream

“I’ve been applying hyaluronic acid to my skin for years,” said dr. Rachel Nazarian, an assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It is a substance found naturally in the skin and works to maintain hydration. for a fuller, more youthful appearance.”

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nazarian said hyaluronic acid drugstore products are now better than ever.

“Today, smaller molecules of high-grade hyaluronic acid with better topical absorption capabilities can be found in over-the-counter products, including this gel-cream that I apply every night. Bonus: Its hydrating properties curb breakage irritation caused by retinols,” he told us. “I still use a few tricks to improve absorption, like applying it after a shower while my skin is still damp, or using it after an exfoliating wash.”

sunscreens that help with antiaging

Staff Pick: La Roche-Posay Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50

shop today, senior editor jess bender swears by this tinted sunscreen, which she’s been using more regularly lately. “In addition to being a lighter option than concealer or moisturizer, it has a higher spf so I don’t have to worry as much about burning throughout the day,” she said.

eltamd uv face sunscreen with physical tint broad spectrum spf 41

“Sunscreen is the most important anti-aging product because the sun is responsible for 90% of skin aging,” said dr. arielle kauvar, a new york city dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at langone nyu medical center.

better yet, this moisturizer is perfect for sensitive skin.

“This is my favorite facial sunscreen because it won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin—we even use it on patients after laser procedures,” kauvar said. “It’s waterproof and adds a slight tint to your skin, which is great for when you want to go makeup-free. I apply it after my moisturizer and before my makeup. Just make sure to reapply if you’re outdoors all day.” day.”

frequently asked questions

When should I start using anti-aging skin care products?

“[you] can never be too young to start taking care of your skin,” says dr. Jaliman said. “It’s important to learn proper cleansing techniques at an early age: Moisturizing, exfoliating, and preventing sun damage is important at any age,” she added.

what should my skincare routine consist of to help with anti-aging?

jaliman recommended this specific order for your daily skin care regimen:

  1. clean up
  2. exfoliate (once or twice a week)
  3. apply toner
  4. apply serum
  5. apply eye cream (if using one)
  6. apply spot or topical treatments
  7. moisturize
  8. use sunscreen if your moisturizer doesn’t contain it.
  9. what kind of serums, you may ask? “Serums vary depending on the specific skin issue you are addressing,” Jaliman replied. “You want those ingredients to soak in before you apply your moisturizer (if you’re using one),” she added. she recommends antioxidant serums for daytime use, while she suggests retinol serums for nighttime.

    and yes, the order of each skincare step is very important, she concluded. “[wrong ordering] minimizes the benefit of the products being used. You want to get the most benefit from each product you use,” explained Jaliman.

    what other daily practices help with antiaging?

    Believe it or not, applying (and reapplying) sunscreen is the biggest daily habit you can have. “often the left side of people’s faces is worse than the right side because of the sun coming in through the car window for years and years,” says dr. Baxt explained. “People are out in the sun walking the dog, running errands, etc,” he added. His favorite type of sunscreen is a zinc-based one, but he says that “the best sunscreen is one that the patient will use daily and reapply.”

    reapplication of sunscreen is also a common problem among regular makeup users, baxt said. Fortunately, “there are powder sunscreens that can be applied over makeup,” she said. Just keep in mind that it’s not as effective as regular sunscreen, so don’t rely on it for the beach,” but it’s great for running errands, etc., for women who wear makeup and don’t want to reapply sunscreen. creamy sun.” she concluded.

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    meet our experts

    1. dr. sonia badreshia is a clinical instructor of dermatology at the university of california, san francisco.
    2. dr. rebecca baxt, md, mba, faad, is a board certified dermatologist based in new jersey.
    3. dr. gary goldenberg is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at mount sinai hospital in new york city.
    4. dr. michelle henry is a clinical instructor of dermatology at weill cornell medical school in new york city.
    5. dr. Debra Jaliman is a NYC Board Certified Dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets of a Leading New York Dermatologist.”
    6. dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology in New York City.
    7. dr. arielle kauvar is a dermatologist in new york city and clinical professor of dermatology at langone nyu medical center.
    8. dr. Rachel Nazarian is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
    9. dr. kim nichols is a dermatologist based in connecticut.
    10. dr. Jessica Weiser is a dermatologist based in New York City.
    11. dr. joshua zeichner is the director of cosmetic and clinical research at mount sinai hospital.

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