Plus, expert-approved products to achieve your best complexion yet.

Updated August 04, 2020
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Stopping time in its tracks might seem like a superpower, but with the right anti-aging products and techniques, you can freeze, and even reverse, the effects of time on your skin. But it doesn't happen overnight. The key to seeing results from these anti-aging products is consistency. Simply committing to a skincare routine can make a big difference, according to Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD board-certified dermatologist at New York Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, and an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell-New York Presbyterian Medical Center. "Staying committed to a routine and being patient is so important as many topical products take time to show results and especially when it comes to anti-aging, you don't want to stop or give up if you're not seeing results right away as it can often take time." Below, three Dermatologists give their top tips for achieving noticeable anti-aging results thanks to some select ingredients and powerhouse skincare products they swear by.

Establish a Routine

According to Dr. Garshick, a basic anti-aging skincare routine should consist of a gentle cleanser used one to two times a day, a topical antioxidant in the morning, a retinoid or retinol derivative in the evening, a moisturizer twice per day, and a sunscreen in the morning and reapplied throughout the day. But not all products will react well with your skin, so it's best to test things out before committing. "For products with active ingredients, such as a retinoid, it may be best to start off using the product a few times per week and increase the frequency as tolerated," she says. Meanwhile, Dr. Ashley Magovern, the owner, founder, and dermatologist of Manhattan Dermatology and Dermstore's medical director, also insists on the importance of everyday use, and the method in which you apply your anti-aging products. "There are a lot of well-formulated combination products out there, but I still layer mine on one by one," she says.

Incorporate Retinoids and Glycolic Acids

"When it comes to a good retinoid, retinoic [acids] are my preference because they are stronger and prescription strength," says Dr. Dianne Davis, MD, FAAD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. "You can also use retinol or Retin-A now, [but] it just takes longer to see the results." She and Dr. Garshick both recommend using SkinBetter Science Intensive AlphaRET Overnight cream ($125, skinbetter.com), due to its prescription strength retinoid and glycolic acid, which helps with anti-aging and evening out skin tone. "This overnight cream combines a retinoid with an alpha hydroxy acid to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while also improving skin tone and texture without leaving behind significant irritation," says Dr. Garshick. "It also provides moisture to help smooth the skin making it tolerable even for those with sensitive skin." Dr. Magovern also suggests incorporating glycolic acid into your regimen. "If your skin can tolerate it, look for products that contain 20 percent glycolic acid, and work your way up to using them several times a week," she says.

Look for Antioxidants

You might think of antioxidants as a key ingredient in some of your favorite cold-fighting foods, but they're actually important ingredients in many anti-aging skincare products. "A good skin care routine consists of an antioxidant, combined with a retinoid, combined with an alpha-hydroxy acid," explains Dr. Magovern. A go-to antioxidant ingredient is Vitamin C. Dr. Magovern recommends Sunday Riley's C.E.O. 15 percent Vitamin C Brightening Serum ($85, dermstore.com). Meanwhile, Dr. Davis recommends SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF ($165, dermstore.com).

Apply Sunscreen

If you had to pick one product to commit to for anti-aging, sunscreen should be it, according to Dr. Garshick. "One of the essential components of anti-aging is daily sunscreen use to minimize cumulative sun damage on the skin in the form of brown spots, wrinkles, dullness and texture changes," she says. She recommends applying Elta MD UV Daily Sunscreen ($29, skinstore.com) to the face daily. "This sunscreen is a lightweight, easy to apply, broad spectrum SPF 40 zinc containing sunscreen that also contains hyaluronic acid which not only hydrates the skin but also improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is a great option for many skin types and won't clog pores." Meanwhile Dr. Davis says she always recommends patients look for physical sunscreen ingredients, like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides—these would even help protect the skin from visible light that comes from computer screens and cell phones.

Technique Matters

"When applying products to your face, start by adding them to the top of your hand instead of your palm, and then rub the excess in after your done with your face," says Dr. Magovern. "The same products you use for your face can usually be applied to the undereye area and lips—if your skin can tolerate it, be sure to apply all your products here as well!" She also suggests using a moisturizer over the products as it can help your skin tolerate more sensitive areas.

Consider Hands and Décolletage

"The neck and décolleté area is another area of concern that people forget about protecting, especially when it comes to sunscreen on an everyday basis," says Dr. Davis. Dr. Garshick agrees, stating that neck and chest creams can also be helpful to strengthen and hydrate the skin in the neck and décolletage area. She recommends Neocutis Neofirm cream ($135, amazon.com). "Additionally, sun protection should also be used regularly in these areas given the potential for chronic sun exposure."

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