There are tons of beauty products that promise to reverse signs of aging while helping you achieve that elusive glow, but which ones really work? The pros help us cut through the noise with picks you can rely on.
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As far as anti-aging products go, you probably feel like you're hearing or reading about a new one each day. That's the way we feel, too. While there are plenty of great skincare products on the market, there are others that don't deliver the results they promise. When there's so much to choose from, how do you make smart selections? If the end goal is to harness your truest, most natural beauty, you'll find that the best way to do that depends partly on your preferences, your lifestyle, and your age. That means that a product your best friend or sister swears by might not give you the result you want.
In your 20s, for instance, experts say your skincare goal should focus squarely on protection from the elements, such as UV rays and smoke. In your 30s, when years of sun exposure starts to show up in the form of hyperpigmentation on your skin, the goal is to minimize it. And in your 40s, a prime focus of your skincare routine involves keeping dryness and sensitivity at bay.
While hearing about the products your friends and family members love can lead you to some great finds, their suggestions are tailored to their needs. That's we think there's an even better group of people whose recommendations you should consider: top dermatologists who really know their stuff. We asked nine of them to share their personal favorite anti-aging products, and they did not disappoint. Here, nine dermatologists reveal the products you can rely on to give you a gorgeous, youthful complexion. (Spoiler alert: If there's one takeaway, it's that you'll want to add retinol and sunscreen into your regimen, stat.)
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Dr. Sameer Bashey, MD
"I like products that have a proven record of anti-aging, and that also protect the skin from DNA damage caused by the sun," says Dr. Sameer Bashey, MD, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist. Retinol and Retin-A products are my favorite because they help even tone, control the exfoliation process, stabilize the skin cells that make pigmentation, and act as anti-inflammatory and repair agents to the skin cells. Retin-A is a prescription, so for patients who cannot get a prescription, or who find Retin-A to be too harsh, I like ZO Skin Health Daily Power Defense to strengthen the skin with a touch of retinol that is gentle enough for sensitive skin and daily use."
ZO Skin Health "Daily Power Defense" Antioxidant Serum, $150, zoskinhealth.com.
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Dr. Pat Wexler, MD
"No. 7 Lift and Luminate Triple Action Night Cream is a great firming moisturizer that improves pigmentation and contains African oils like marula, which is highly moisturizing, plantain extracts for firming, and green tea to combat inflammation," says Dr. Pat Wexler, MD, of New York City's Wexler Dermatology. And SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 is a niacin derivative that reduces the appearances of lines and wrinkles almost immediately while plumping skin."
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Dr. Anne Chapas, MD
"DefenAge 8-in-1 BioSerum is a thin, innovative serum that the stimulates growth of healthier, firmer cells to improve the appearance of pores and fine lines," says Dr. Anne Chapas, MD, of Union Square Laser Dermatology. I also like SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5. Retinol is a star ingredient that can get deep into your dermis to stimulate collagen production. With consistent use over time, it has been scientifically proven to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and even out skin tone."
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Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD
"I like this new brand, OMI Skin Nutrition, which has a line full of new products containing resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant," says says Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. "My favorite is the Renew Wrinkle-Lifting Power Serum. The intense powerphenols repair skin cells and support a healthy skin barrier. It also has a patented complex that reactivates skin cell autophagy, the body's natural process of recycling and eliminating toxin build-up within cells."
OMI Skin Nutrition "Renew Wrinkle-Lifting Power Serum," $120, ominutrition.com.
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Dr. Yunyoung Claire Chang, MD
"Dry skin worsens the appearance of wrinkles and dulls your complexion. Ceramide-containing moisturizers decrease water loss from the skin and increase hydration. I love SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream, which contains ceramides as well as peptides to prevent fine lines and wrinkles," says Dr. Yunyoung Claire Chang, MD, of Union Square Laser Dermatology. "Sun exposure is responsible for increased fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, uneven texture, and skin laxity. I like EltaMD UV Elements because it is a 100 percent physical sunscreen with broad-spectrum UV coverage, and also contains hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. Another plus is that this sunscreen is tinted, so it masks brown spots."
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Dr. Tara Rao, MD
"RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream is easily accessible and nice for sensitive skin," says Dr. Tara Rao, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "Skin Better Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream is not too irritating and good for nightly use, and Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum is a mild product that goes on well under moisturizer."
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Dr. Francesca Fusco, MD
"My all-time favorite anti-aging product is an ingredient: retinol, because it has years of serious science, publications, and studies that support it. My current favorites are SkinMedica retinols," says Dr. Francesca Fusco, MD, of Wexler Dermatology. My second favorite anti-aging product is sunscreen. Consistency of use is critical, which means cosmetic elegance is important, and my patients use Elta MD every day. My last 'anti-ager' relates to hair. I see patients every day with complaints of thinning, shedding, and textural changes. A good start for hair health is a supplement that nourishes and supports healthy hair, like NutraFol."
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Dr. Kenneth Howe, MD
"My personal favorite is SkinMedica's Recalibrate Age-Defying Treatment. It's made for men and is part of SkinMedica's complete skincare system for men called RegiMen. Recalibrate is a nice, lightweight product that goes on quickly and easily, without heaviness or residue. In addition to slowing aging, it also soothes irritation or bumpiness caused by shaving," says of Dr. Kenneth Howe, MD, Wexler Dermatology. It contains a full greenhouse-worth of botanicals—tiger grass [centella asiatica] extract for hydration, soothing magnolia bark to fight inflammation, and niacinamide to even skin tone—to list just a few. And Neocutis Neo Microserum is a powerful, easy-to-use multitasker. It combines hyaluronic acid for moisturizing, pullulan for skin tightening, and an algae extract for its antioxidant effects as well as further hydration."
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Dr. Shereene Idriss, MD
"La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream is an affordable retinol that performs well. It has an elegant formulation that doesn't leave you irritated and boosts collagen production," says Dr. Shereene Idriss, MD, of Union Square Laser Dermatology. And I love Weleda Skin Food to keep the neck moisturized. Use it on areas that are prone to wrinkling—those areas that can get a tissue, paper-like appearance—as it helps keep the skin firm and hydrated.
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