6 Anti-Aging Creams That Really Work, According to Dermatologists
We turned to the experts to find the best anti-aging creams that actually follow through on their promises.
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Take a quick look at your favorite beauty store’s website or the shelves of your local drugstore and you’ll find a plethora of anti-aging creams. They promise to turn back the hands of time by hydrating your skin, preemptively fighting wrinkles and repairing existing damage. On top of that, they’re further broken down by age group, skin tone, skin type, problem and preference—and they all sound amazing. There are so many options boasting so many marvelous marketing claims, it’s hard to know which one to choose.
And you do need to choose wisely. After all, not all anti-aging creams are created equal. No one knows that better than dermatologists, which is why we decided to get their recommendations for the best gravity-defying creams on the market. So, which ones work best? It all boils down to the ingredients and formulations—not the price—says board-certified dermatologist Sapna Westley, MD. “I’m a huge fan of drugstore brands,” she says. “They can be just as good as more expensive department store brands.” Some of them may even be better!
Here’s what you need to know from the pros who know skin care best. And while you’re at it, make sure you have the perfect skin-care routine in place by scoping out our picks for the best night creams, best retinol serum, the best anti-aging eye cream, the best foundations for aging skin; then check out these (totally free!) surprisingly simple ways to look younger.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Regenerating Cream
Want to look better in photos? Start by choosing an anti-aging cream that puts your best face forward, like this Rapid Wrinkle Repair, which leaves skin soft and glowing. Neutrogena touts itself as dermatologist-recommended for a reason. “They actually test the skin and have clinical trials to make sure [products] are working,” says board-certified dermatologist Edidiong Kaminska, MD, founder of Kaminska Dermatology. “As physicians, we like data; we like evidence-based medicine.”
This anti-aging cream uses retinol and hyaluronic acid to smooth out wrinkles and make the skin look plump and youthful. Further turn your face into a real-life filter with these makeup tricks to look younger and this affordable concealer that has 110,000+ rave reviews on Amazon.
- Wallet-friendly price
- Formula that’s free of parabens, mineral oils and dyes
- Retinol may cause some initial redness or irritation while your skin adjusts
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
This CeraVe anti-aging cream is known for its “ceramides,” but what exactly are those? “Ceramides protect the skin and also help to lock in moisture,” explains Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “When skin is dry, fine lines and wrinkles will be more noticeable.”
This ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid-packed product is ideal for when the temperature starts to drop and your skin starts losing moisture. It has a non-comedogenic light and non-greasy formulation, and it’s a top drugstore beauty buy and one of the best night creams doctors swear by.
- Free of fragrances that could cause irritation
- Helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles
- Some Amazon reviewers complain of breakouts, so it’s best to test-patch before using
Best anti-aging cream on Amazon
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer
Do your skincare goals involve increased skin elasticity and improved skin firmness? Then Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is the moisturizer for you. Powered by peptides, vitamin B and hyaluronic acid, this super-hydrating formula deeply penetrates the skin and can, according to Dr. Westley, “offset dryness caused by the aging process as well as other anti-aging products.”
Bonus: This fast-absorbing, non-greasy option has an SPF 30, so it helps protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Plus, you can’t beat the price. Start with one of these affordable face serums for the ultimate budget-friendly routine.
- Conveniently available to purchase on Amazon, and has thousands of five-star reviews
- Includes a broad-spectrum sunscreen for daytime skin protection
- Improves skin’s texture in four weeks
- No fragrance-free option
Best night cream
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Night Cream
Battling deep wrinkles? More than 19,000 Amazon shoppers swear by RoC Correxion Night Cream. “It contains retinol, which reduces the look of lines and deep wrinkles while you sleep,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It helps fade dark spots and lifts and firms the skin.”
“Retinol and squalane help with fine lines and wrinkles and the shea butter and glycerin help keep skin moisturized,” she explains. There’s also vitamin C to even out skin tone and improve pigment. Now that you have the best wrinkle cream, be sure you’re starting your day with the best face wash.
- Apply before bed and let it work while you sleep (skin renews two-times faster at night)
- Can reduce deep wrinkles by up to 50% in 12 weeks
- Non-greasy, non-comedogenic formula
- Some reviewers complain about the product having an unpleasant scent
Beverly Hills MD Lift + Firm Sculpting Cream
When you think of splurging, things like first-class flights and caviar come to mind, right? Well, Beverly Hills MD’s Lift + Firm Sculpting Cream has one of these indulgences built right in: caviar extract! This luxe ingredient helps support healthy collagen and elastin levels.
The anti aging skin care formula helps tighten, firm and lift your face and neck without harsh ingredients that could lead to dry or flaky skin. When applying, be sure to massage into your skin in an upward, circular motion—the product is lightweight, but you’ll feel a subtle lifting and tightening sensation. We know it’s pricey, so check out these outfits tricks to look instantly younger—no purchase necessary.
- Reduces the appearance of sagging skin
- Lifts, smooths and hydrates
- Suitable for all skin types
Best anti-aging hand cream
Cashmere Moon Whipped Hand Lotion
The condition of your hands is often a telltale sign of your age, so whip your hands into shape with Cashmere Moon’s hydrating hand cream. The lightweight formula won’t leave your palms greasy, but will help heal cracked cuticles and knuckles thanks to the inclusion of moisturizing aloe vera and shea butter.
The formula also contains vitamin C to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and vitamin E for increased firmness. Check out more hand creams with nearly perfect reviews to add to your beauty arsenal.
- Antioxidants and vitamins promote firm, youthful skin on hands
- Lightweight, non-greasy formula
- Vegan formulation that’s not tested on animals
- Only one size available
What to consider when buying an anti-aging cream
When choosing the best anti-aging skincare, always look at the ingredients list first—words like retinol, vitamin C, peptides, antioxidants, niacinamide, squalene and hyaluronic acid will signal that it’s a quality product that actually works. But you don’t necessarily want to see all of those words, either.
“One or two active ingredients in a product are fine,” says Dr. Jaliman. “An anti-aging product with two or three active ingredients does not necessarily mean it will be more effective than a product with just one.”
Next, think about how much money you want to spend. You can find surprisingly effective products for under $20 on Amazon or at your local drugstore—the best wrinkle cream isn’t always the most expensive jar. Finally, be sure you understand if it’s a nighttime or daytime use product so you don’t risk an unexpected sunburn.
Types of anti-aging cream
Some anti-aging creams are specifically formulated for certain body parts—like your neck, hands, eyes or face—while others are more generic and can work well for full-body applications. You may find the term “wrinkle cream” on your product instead of “anti-aging,” and that’s okay—they serve the same purpose.
How We Chose the Best Anti-Aging Cream
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Do anti-aging creams really work?
Yes, but like any beauty product, the results really depend on the ingredients and how diligently you use them. “Anti-aging creams generally contain active ingredients that help skin cell regeneration and boost collagen production,” says Dr. Jaliman. “They help improve skin texture, and they moisturize to plump the skin and minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles.” It’s also important to take a comprehensive approach to anti-aging. As the saying goes, you are what you eat: These eight foods help prevent wrinkles. Also, consider these stylish accessories and chic hairstyles that will make you look younger.
What ingredients are best for anti-aging?
When deciphering what to buy, look for ingredients such as retinoids (vitamin A compounds that help reduce fine lines and wrinkles), vitamin C (or ascorbic acid, an antioxidant to protect the skin from wrinkle-causing free radicals), peptides (which stimulate collagen production) and niacinamide (an antioxidant related to vitamin B-3 that helps improve skin elasticity).
Alternatively, bakuchiol is a gentle alternative for anyone who finds retinoids too strong, says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, a dermatologist and the founder of Entière Dermatology. “Bakuchiol is derived from a plant native to India, which has been shown to induce collagen production, improve pigmentation and improve skin elasticity without causing irritation or dryness,” she says.
When should you apply an anti-aging cream?
“You shouldn’t use products with acids and retinol simultaneously,” explains Dr. Jaliman. “If you’re going to use products with retinol, use them at night and use products with acids in the daytime. Using them at the same time can cause irritation, redness and dryness.”
If you’re wondering about the order in which to apply your skincare products, she says to follow this process: cleanser, toner, serum and, finally, an anti-aging cream.
How soon do anti-aging creams work?
If they are being used daily, Dr. Jaliman says it takes a couple of weeks for results to be seen. Be sure to use your cream consistently for the quickest and most impressive results. And remember, more is not better when it comes to applying skincare products. “Using several anti-wrinkle products at the same time may cause irritation rather than benefit your skin,” she says.
- Sapna Westley, MD, board-certified dermatologist
- Edidiong Kaminska, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Kaminska Dermatology
- Debra Jaliman, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist
- Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology
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