The 29 Best Skin-Care Products for Aging Skin—That Dermatologists Actually Use

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We know that aging is inevitable, so it’s important to seek out the best skin-care products for aging skin to promote healthy natural aging. And with so many “antiaging” skin-care products making claims they can’t back up, it can’t be difficult to diffuse what’s actually effective, versus what has effective marketing. Before we dive in, take a look at the science and derm-recommended ingredients you should be looking for when it comes to aging skin.

When does your skin start aging?

Age-related skin changes start earlier than you might think: at around age 25, when your skin starts producing less and less collagen which is why your skincare routine in your 30’s will look different. By the time we’re 50, there’s almost no new collagen being made and the collagen that does remains becomes broken down, fragmented and weaker, Shari Marchbein, M.D., Professor of Clinical Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine and practices at Downtown Dermatology in Manhattan, tells SELF. This concept is known as intrinsic aging and it is, of course, completely natural.

What factors lead to premature aging?

There are some extrinsic (or external) factors that can exacerbate the natural signs of aging, like smoking, certain dietary choices, and excessive sun exposure. “When people think about aging, most of the aging that people are noticing isn’t chronological aging. It’s not like what happens over time,” Dr. Jerome Potozkin, M.D., CEO of PotozkinMD Skincare & Laser Center, tells SELF. “It’s time plus ultraviolet radiation or sun exposure.”

These habits can lead to a loss of collagen and elastin, thus making sagging skin and wrinkles more likely. You can also develop skin pigmentation (dark spots), and even skin cancers. “The purpose of using antiaging skin-care products containing ingredients such as vitamin C, retinoids, sunscreen, and peptides, is to minimize the impact of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors on skin,” says Dr. Marchbein.

What skin-care ingredients are best for aging skin?

Seeing as there are new and buzzy products for aging skin cropping up all the time, it’s important to know what to look for to address your top concerns.

Start by looking for the two anti-aging skin ingredients with the most science behind them: broad-spectrum sunscreen and retinoids (including retinol). “Sunscreen is without a doubt the single best thing you will do to protect your skin and using a retinoid is the second,” Dr. Marchbein says. Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that have been proven to boost collagen production, which helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines; speed cell turnover, which evens out discoloration and brightens the skin tone; and unclog pores.

Another top contender is antioxidants, like picking the right vitamin C, which help protect the skin against damaging free radicals in the environment that can cause oxidative stress and damage in high amounts. “Antioxidants pair with free radical scavengers in search of a missing electron, so it neutralizes the damage free radicals can do if it were to pair instead with an electron from a skin protein,” New York City–based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., tells SELF.

“Self-educating about ingredients, speaking to your board-certified dermatologist and other non-physician skin professionals, and trial and error are all going to be part of figuring out what’s most helpful for you,” Jessica Krant, M.D., dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology, tells SELF. So we spoke to dermatologists about the best skin-care products for aging skin that they personally use and rely on to promote healthy natural aging.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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