Best anti-aging skin care of 2023 that Actually Work

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In the world of beauty products, there’s perhaps no category more saturated than the anti-aging skin care products. Serums and eye creams and lotions galore promise to do everything from smooth fine lines to fade dark spots to restore our youthful glow of years past. And sometimes those promises are more, shall we say, unrealistic hopes rather than truly possible achievements. So who better to help weed through all the youth-boosting lotions and potions out there than dermatologists? After all, they have access to anything and everything, and know first-hand what does and doesn’t work.

The Best Anti-Aging Skin Care of 2023 That Actually Work - A Comprehensive Guide to Achieving Youthful, Radiant Skin

That’s why we decided to ask top derms to share the anti-aging products they actually use on themselves. As in, the stuff that’s in their medicine cabinets and is going on their skin daily. While the picks were varied—don’t worry, we’ll get to those—the overarching theme was that it’s best to take a three-pronged anti-aging approach. One, prevention products—that means sunscreen, of course, plus antioxidants such as vitamin C and E to ward off signs of aging in the first place. Two, hydration, a mainstay of any skincare routine, but particularly important for anti-aging purposes. And finally, treatment, where you bring in anti-aging workhorse ingredients; retinoids, growth factors, and peptides repeatedly came up when we spoke with these skincare experts.

So without further ado, check out the best anti-aging products that dermatologists rely on, the ones you can feel confident will actually deliver on their promises.

What are anti-aging skin care products?

While it may be obvious, sometimes a simple definition gives a better understanding of anti-aging products.

“Anti-aging skincare products are formulated to help reduce visible signs of skin aging like wrinkles, fine lines, leathery skin and dark spots,” said Dr. Dendy Engelman, a spokesperson for
The Skin Cancer Foundation and board-certified dermatologic surgeon practicing in New York City. “They can be preventative or work to reduce signs of aging that are already there.”

What is the difference between serum, retinol and retinoid?

Board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Libby explained the difference between these three popular skincare products.

Serums are a category of products that typically come in a liquid to a gel-like texture, containing more concentrated ingredients, formulated to be applied after cleansing onto clean skin to reap maximum benefits.

Retinol is a retinoid typically more widely found in over-the-counter (OTC) formulations. Retinoids refer to a larger group of vitamin A derivatives that are touted for their abilities to increase skin cell turnover, smooth fine lines, treat acne, even skin pigmentation, and stimulate collagen production.
Retinols are weaker than retinoids as they require more conversions to reach the active ingredient, retinoic acid. More potent, prescription-level retinoids like tretinoin and adapalene (now also available OTC) have a higher level of retinoic acid.

At what age should I start investing and using anti-aging skincare products?
While there is no perfect age to start investing and using specific anti-aging products, most experts say your 20s are an excellent time to start thinking about the long-term health of your skin.

“Start early and don’t wait for [skin] problems to arise or for changes to start bothering [for] you to commit to a skincare routine,” 

said NYC-based, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa K. Garshick.

“As the saying goes, ‘the best thing you can do for your skin in your 50s is wearing sunscreen in your 20s,'” Garshick says. “We begin to lose one percent of our collagen each year beginning in our 20s, and we know that the loss of collagen can contribute to fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, laxity and [the] overall textural changes in the skin.”

Bottom line: the best anti-aging product you can use is sunscreen.

“Since an estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun, protecting your skin from these harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is the most important thing you can do in any anti-aging skincare routine,” Engelman tells The Post. “Sun damage is cumulative, so it’s never too early or too late to start practicing sun protection. Everyone — men, women and children over the age of 6 months — should use sunscreen, including those who do not burn easily or have darker skin tones.”

Adding to that, Garshick explains that sun protection (even in childhood and adolescence) can significantly impact your skin’s aging. So, committing to optimal sun protection as early as possible will ultimately be the best investment for your skin in the long run.

LumiSpa™: A device for cleansing and firming up the skin at home

Just like our muscles, our skin needs to move and “work out” in order to stay healthy. Above all, we need to pinpoint the best movements to optimise this work-out! This is what Nu Skin has developed with its LumiSpa device, which enables you to thoroughly cleanse your skin every day and preserve it from the effects of aging.

Its rotating silicone head provides a made-to-measure work-out for your skin, which is focused on cell movement and designed to provide a deep cleanse while respecting the skin’s balance.

The skin is immediately cleaner, the pores are rid of make-up, dirt and impurities, and the newly-stimulated cells are primed to receive the rest of your skincare routine. After two weeks, the skin is smoother, and the final results are visible after 12 weeks.

The LumiSpa is very easy to use: four 30-second bursts (the device pauses after each 30 seconds) to treat the 4 areas of the face: upper left and right, and lower left and right.

Choose from three different
cleansers, each formulated for a different skin type and its requirements – dry, normal to combination, oily – to leave your skin radiant and refreshed.

The LumiSpa™ ageLOC® activating cleansers are specially formulated to provide precise, cushioned cleansing and interaction on the skin, thus optimising the action of the silicone ageLOC® LumiSpa™ head.

Two types of silicone head are available: a “normal” head for the daily cleansing of all skin types, and a firmer head for oily skin or the occasional more in-depth cleanse.

The LumiSpa™ even works when wet, so it can be used in the shower and is easy to clean for flawless hygiene.

The Others Best selling Anti-Aging Products

1. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $13+

Garshick and more than 46,000 Amazon reviewers are fans of the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream.

“This drugstore favorite uses hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help hydrate the undereye [area] while strengthening the skin barrier, helping to improve the appearance of dark circles and puffiness,” says Garshick.

“It also contains niacinamide which is soothing on the skin, plus a marine and botanical complex which helps brighten the area. The CeraVe Eye Repair Cream also uses a patented delivery system, known as MVE technology to provide long-lasting hydration.”

2. Pond’s Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer, $8+

The Pond’s Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer is highly recommended by both NYC dermatologists Garshick and Dr. Hadley King.

“This daily moisturizing cream incorporates alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate the skin gently, collagen [to keep your skin youthful], as well as hydrating ingredients [to help] the skin look firmer and brighter,” Garshick explains. “It is also thought to improve the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Note: Using alpha hydroxy acids in your skincare routine may cause heightened skin sensitivity. Remember always to apply sunscreen.

“It’s a great option for moisturizing while also delivering anti-aging benefits,” King adds.

3. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, $16+

The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser is another fan favorite among the skincare community. It’s a daily face wash with a creamy, milky texture to help skin retain essential moisture while gently removing face and eye makeup, dirt and impurities. This facial cleanser also helps maintain your skin’s natural protective barrier and pH balance.

“This cleanser is good for anti-aging because it provides hydration to the skin, keeping it healthy and supple,” says New Jersey-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling.

Celebrity esthetician Nicole Caroline is also a fan of this product, particularly for those with sensitive skin, which usually goes hand in hand with anti-aging clients.

“This formula is safe for all skin types but especially sensitive skin because it’s formulated with niacinamide for soothing redness and ceramides for hydration,” Caroline says.

Maryland-based dermatologist, Dr. Chesahna Kindred, also stands by this La Roche-Posay cleanser. “I prefer cleansers that gently clean and hydrate the skin — and this cleanser does just that. It’s a great gentle cleanser at an affordable price,” Kindred said.

4. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $39+

Sperling’s favorite sunscreen is the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46.

“Sunscreen is one of the most important anti-aging products to add into your daily routine!” Sperling exclaims. “This is one of my favorites, as it’s good for all skin types, including those with acne, rosacea, and sensitive skin. It’s both lightweight and hydrating.”

5. Naturium Azelaic Topical Acid 10%, $20

The Naturium Azelaic Topical Acid 10% is an excellent alternative for pregnant people who can’t tolerate a retinoid or retinol.

“This formulation also incorporates niacinamide and vitamin C to improve the overall texture and tone [of your skin], reducing hyperpigmentation, blemishes and redness — all signs that go along with aging,” Garshick says. “[You can use it] once or twice per day, and it is recommended [you follow up] with a moisturizer.”

Best Anti-Aging Serums & Retinols
1. Pond’s Rejuveness Skin Tightening Serum, $10

Regarding retinol, King recommends Pond’s Rejuveness Skin Tightening Serum.

“It’s formulated with retinol as well as vitamin B3 and pro-ceramides that help to support the skin barrier,” King told The Post. “Vitamin B3 helps to even skin tone and smooth skin texture.”

Retinol is a key ingredient in anti-aging skin care and works well to prevent wrinkles and smooth fine lines by increasing cell turnover and collagen production.

Note: Do not use retinol if you’re pregnant; always consult your doctor before using new products.

Retinol should also only be used at night, as it can make your skin sensitive to the sun. Since retinol can irritate the skin, when you first add it to your nighttime skincare routine, start slow (try it once or twice per week), then increase the frequency if your skin can tolerate it. This will minimize the chances of dry skin, redness and breakouts.

2. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum, $78+

Ulta Beauty
“This serum is designed to be mixed at home before first use to ensure freshness and maximum potency,” says Garshick. “It is best used once daily in the morning and can be applied to the face, neck, chest, and hands.”

The formula includes potent vitamin C (as l-ascorbic acid), vitamin E, and ferulic acid, plus fruit enzymes and extracts to help fight free-radical damage while brightening and firming the skin and improving the overall complexion.

3. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex, $75+

Sperling is a fan of the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Complex. “This serum [includes] key ingredients [like] hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, which target fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness,” Sperling says. “Apply at night time to increase hydration and suppleness of the skin.”

Hyaluronic acid is a key skincare ingredient that gives your skin a nice plump and will help restore moisture.

Tip: if you’re not ready to invest $75 on the full-size bottle, you can also get a mini version of the same product for a fraction of the cost.

4. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum, $26+

“This accessible serum contains peptides, which are composed of amino acids. They function as the building blocks of protein production to encourage collagen production for firmer skin,” Camp said.

According to the brand’s website, this serum is ultra-lightweight, creamy and fast absorbing. The non-greasy formula is specially designed to regenerate surface cells and deliver anti-aging ingredients 10 layers deep into the skin’s surface.

5. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid, $169

For a luxurious and impactful serum that you don’t mind spending a small fortune on, Kansas City-based dermatologist Dr. Brittany Oliver recommends this option from SkinCeuticals.

“No antioxidant serum has ever toppled Skinceuticals Phloretin CF from the No. 1 spot in my book,” Oliver praised. “

I consider this a splurge for sure, but the combination of ingredients in this formulation is particularly helpful for oily skin and evening out skin tone, so I often recommend this to those who struggle with hyperpigmentation or acne-prone skin.”

This is best used by applying four or five drops directly to the face and neck after cleansing.

6. Advanced Retinol Nightly Multi-Correct Serum, $99

When it comes to anti-aging retinols, Oliver’s top choice is the Advanced Retinol Nightly-Multi-Correct Serum.

“This retinol was formulated for comfort, which those of us who have struggled to incorporate retinols [into your routine] can certainly appreciate,” Oliver told The Post.

“Unique surface release technology allows for continuous delivery of retinol that’s gentler on the skin. It also contains polyglutamic acid, ashwagandha, and a patented form of niacin that all work together to minimize irritation while maximizing efficacy in reducing the appearance of wrinkles.”

Best Anti-Aging Face Moisturizers
1. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 and Hyaluronic Acid, $15+

Sperling recommends this combination moisturizer with SPF for those looking for an effective but budget-friendly and anti-aging daily lotion.

“This lotion is great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin and or acne-prone skin. It moisturizes the skin throughout the day and is formulated with SPF 30,” says Sperling, who recommends using at least SPF 30 every day for optimal protection.

“[It doesn’t] produce the white residue that makes some patients look like the Tin Man from the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ It also contains hyaluronic acid for hydration and niacinamide to reduce redness,” Kindred said.

2. Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Intense Wrinkle Cream, $77

If you’re intimidated by the idea of using retinol but want similar results, Camp recommends using Dr. Dennis Gross Wrinkle Cream.

“This smooth, hydrating moisturizer contains retinol as well as bakuchiol, a plant-based product that offers similar benefits to retinol with less irritation,” says Camp.

3. Reserveage Beauty Firming Face Cream, $38+

This face cream is made with a unique, proprietary formula that’s packed with elements that help promote the appearance of beautiful skin. With the help of collagen and other natural ingredients the facial skin tone, evenness, smoothness and texture can improve in weeks.

“Copper-encapsulated peptides help support healthy collagen production which minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” Libby explains.

4. DRMTLGY Peptide Night Cream, $40
“A solid product at an attractive price point, this moisturizer is rich without being too heavy – for that reason, I use it year-round, day and night!” said Oliver.

“It contains peptides important in collagen production as well as ceramides important in skin barrier function [and hydration]. Hydration is essential for maintaining a healthy, youthful appearance to the skin and this moisturizing cream ranks among the best in my book.”

Best Anti-Aging Cleansers
1. NakedPoppy Nourish Cream Cleanser, $28

King’s top pick for an anti-aging cleanser is the NakedPoppy’s Nourish Cream Cleanser.

“It thoroughly cleanses [your skin] while supporting the skin barrier [and doesn’t contain any] harsh detergents like SLS [sodium lauryl sulfate] or SLES [sodium laureth sulfate] which can dry out the skin,” King explained.

This cleanser features gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid, a lactic acid, and an alpha hydroxy acid with humectant properties, to gently exfoliate the skin. Plus, this NakedPoppy cleanser also contains nourishing ingredients like baobab extract, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and aloe, which soothes the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties. Other key ingredients include quinoa extract, which can help brighten the skin.

2. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Face Wash, $5+

Since some anti-aging products like retinoids and exfoliating acids can be especially harsh on the skin, Garshick likes to recommend this gentle (and affordable) cleanser from Neutrogena to her clients.

“This gentle cleanser is a great option. It effectively cleanses to remove dirt, makeup and buildup, while helping to replenish lost moisture, leaving the skin feeling healthy and refreshed,” Garshick tells the New York Post.

3. RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Gel Facial Cleanser, $10

“The glycolic acid in this product is an alpha-hydroxy acid that helps gently exfoliate to reveal brighter, healthier skin. It also contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects against some of the effects of UV radiation,” explains Camp.

The RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Gel Cleanser is made with a clinically-proven formula that helps remove impurities and delivers a more radiant complexion, leaving you with refreshed and glowy skin.

4. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, $48

Oliver’s anti-aging cleanser choice is this option made by Skin medica.

“This gentle exfoliating cleanser combines alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids to improve skin texture without being too abrasive,” Oliver said. “I find this suitable for daily use, but when you’re first starting out I recommend using 2-3 times per week and working your way up from there.”

Aimed to enhance a smoother and brighter complexion with round soft jojoba spheres that provide gentle exfoliating action, while lavender extract tones and soothes inflammation. The mildly astringent citrus oils minimize large pores for a radiant and refreshed appearance.

Best Anti-Aging Eye Creams
1. Olay Total Effects 7-in-One Anti-Aging Transforming Eye Cream, $23+
Olay Total Effects 7-in-One Anti-Aging Transforming Eye Cream
King likes the Olay Total Effects 7-in-One Anti-Aging Transforming Eye Cream for anti-aging because it’s “rich in moisturizing ingredients and antioxidants, as well as niacinamide.”

According to the brand, this product fights seven signs of aging in one formula. It replenishes moisture, reduces the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, enhances brightness around the eyes, evens skin tone appearance as well as smoothes and evens your skin texture.

2. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum, $89

When it comes to anti-aging eye treatments, Sperling’s top choice is the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum.

“This eye serum is a great choice for wrinkle prevention, hydration and under-eye brightening,” Sperling says. “The key ingredient is retinol, which works well to prevent wrinkles and smooth fine lines by increasing cell turnover and collagen production.”

3. Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum, $55

Camp stands by this Kiehl’s eye cream for the best anti-aging results.

“This eye serum contains vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free oxygen radicals that develop from the body’s natural metabolism and UV exposure,” Camp says. “Oxygen radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures like DNA, lipids, and proteins. This product helps encourage collagen production and treat dark circles.”

4. SkinBetter Science InterFuse Treatment Eye Cream, $115

Oliver raved about this eye cream from SkinBetter Science for those looking for a good anti-aging option.

“There’s a reason so many dermatologists love SkinBetter Science. You can’t really go wrong with anything in their lineup, but this eye cream stands out to me in its ability to reduce the appearance of under-eye puffiness and fine lines,” Oliver said. “It is pricey, but a little bit goes a long way.“

Best Anti-Aging Face Sunscreens
1. Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Sunscreen, $55-$60

While all sunscreens are, in effect, anti-aging, of course, there are a few specific picks that the experts we interviewed like best.

The Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Sunscreen, for instance, was recommended by both King and Garshick.

“This ultralight zinc sunscreen absorbs so well it’s hard to believe it contains zinc,” says Garshick. “It also contains DNA repair enzymes and antioxidants to help protect against and repair [sun] damage, making it particularly helpful in an anti-aging skincare routine.”

According to Garshick, it can be used on all skin types and is also easy to apply under makeup because it doesn’t leave a greasy finish.

Due to the combination of DNA repair enzymes, zinc oxide and antioxidants, King loves this sunscreen because “it’s actually repairing and protecting [your skin all] at the same time.”

2. Neutrogena Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen, $11+

“I look for sunscreens [like this one from Neutrogena] that have physical blockers in them (like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) because these physically block the sun, causing the sun to bounce off the skin and deflect the sun’s rays,” said board certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, a.k.a Dr. Pimple Popper.

The Neutrogena Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen contains a dermatologist-tested formula that’s fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. It’s also water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

3. Supergoop! Daily Dose Hydra-Ceramide Boost + SPF 40 Oil, $46

Feel even more hydrated while keeping your skin protected from harmful UV rays with this Supergoop! sunscreen oil.

“In addition to offering SPF 40 protection, this hydrating sunscreen oil contains ceramides to keep the skin barrier healthy and hyaluronic acid to encourage moisture retention and hydration,” said Camp.

4. Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, $42

Dr. Dennis Gross
“A 100% mineral sunscreen that leaves no white cast, layers well with other products in my morning routine, protects against UVA/UVB, AND contains antioxidants to help fight signs of aging? Need I say more?” Oliver said. “This has and always will be an all-time personal favorite and is probably the best purely physical sunscreen I have ever used.”

Best Anti-Aging Face Masks
1. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask, $69

When Sperling’s clients ask her which mask she likes best for anti-aging, she always mentions the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask.

“It targets dull, rough and uneven skin [and is] formulated with hydrating ingredients to promote youthful-looking skin,” Sperling says simply.

2. Loops Beauty Sunrise Service Mask 5 Pack, $35

“The Sunrise Service mask is rich in baobab oil, pumpkin extract, flower extracts and a probiotic, designed to hydrate, moisturize, brighten, smooth, depuff and protect [your skin] from free radicals,” King says.

All Loops Beauty masks are compostable, cruelty-free and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and synthetic fragrances, which is always an added plus!

3. First Aid Beauty 5-in-1 Bouncy Mask, $38

Garshick likes this First Aid Beauty mask for all skin types but especially those with sensitive skin since it is alcohol-free, artificial fragrance-free and free of parabens and formaldehyde.

“It contains a blend of vitamin C, Pepha Tight, benoitine, and botanical extracts that help firm the skin and improve the appearance of pores while brightening [your complexion] and reducing fine lines and wrinkles,” Garshick explains. “It can be used two to three times per week and is meant to be left on for about 10 minutes.”