The term “anti-aging” can invoke a visceral response. It’s a term fraught with sexist implications, and yet it’s the standard descriptor for beauty products formulated for mature skin. It’s a shame, since these products often contain ingredients that can keep skin healthy in the long run, which should be everyone’s priority. Aging is a privilege, and we use high quality ingredients that nourish skin and repair past damage to leave it supple, luminous and beautiful. That’s how you age gracefully.
So here, the term anti-aging is a catch-all phrase for beauty and skincare products that contain active ingredients that not only target the visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, but also support the long-term skin health. We enlisted Union Square Laser Dermatology-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Y. Claire Chang to give us an overview of anti-aging ingredients and specifically the best anti-aging creams for all skin types. As usual, his advice does not disappoint!
Chang finds that most anti-aging ingredients can be categorized into a few broad categories, including preventative ingredients, repair ingredients, and replenishing ingredients.
Preventive ingredients focus on preventing photoaging before it happens and include sunscreens to block or reduce skin exposure to UV rays.
Repairing ingredients protect and repair the skin from existing damage and include reactive oxidant species like antioxidants.
Regenerating ingredients help stimulate skin renewal and collagen production. These include retinoids, peptides, and alpha hydroxy acids.
However, it is important to note that these categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, retinoids can be considered both preventive and regenerative. Look for products containing these anti-aging ingredients, which can target several different signs of skin aging, including fine lines, dry skin and dullness, dark spots and uneven skin tone:
Chang told HuffPost how each of the above ingredients work: Vitamins C, B3 (niacinamide), and E are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to repair skin from free radical damage, brighten skin, improve the complexion and stimulated the production of collagen. . Green tea has been shown to reduce UV-induced skin damage. Retinoids have been shown to stimulate the production of collagen and elastic fibers to reduce fine lines and improve pigmentation. Ceramides help replenish the skin’s natural lipids and lock in moisture.
Chang recommends starting anti-aging creams and treatments in your late 20s and early 30s, when skin begins to shed collagen. It’s never too early to start with good sun protection and avoid smoking, two factors that accelerate skin aging.
Keep reading for Chang’s picks for the best anti-aging creams available at various price points. They will help your skin feel nourished, protected, healthy and vibrant.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Olay’s Micro-Sculpting Cream is formulated with Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid and Peptide Fragments to hydrate, brighten and revitalize the skin. It is ideal for anyone who wants to strengthen their skin’s moisture barrier.
SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Care Cream
SkinMedica’s Nourishing Cream contains essential ceramides to repair the skin and maintain its hydration as well as peptides which reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is a very healing cream for dry skin types looking to enhance their skincare routine with powerful actives without going the prescription route.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
Suitable for day or night, this Neutrogena cream uses retinol to treat wrinkles and hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated. It’s ideal for anyone new to anti-aging or who has dry, crepey skin.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
Perfect for nighttime use, Drunk Elephant Cream is formulated with retinol and peptides to boost collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, plus skin-nourishing ceramides and fatty acids. It is certified “green” at Sephora, a retailer designation for brands that are committed to formulating products without ingredients potentially harmful to human health and the environment.
Roc Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
A drugstore staple, Roc’s Glycerin Moisturizer works overnight, when skin is most receptive. It combines retinol and glycolic acid to resurface dull, dry skin and enhance collagen production to improve texture.
Olay Regenerist Replenishing Night Cream
Olay Regenerist has been a staple in many beauty practices for good reason. Niacinamide and Amino Peptides flood skin with hydration, brighten and improve texture so you can wake up to plump, glowing skin.