We know that aging is inevitable—we'll all get older each our body and skin will change as a result. So, many of the claims that antiaging skin-care products make are simply bunk. Still, dermatologists tell us that some products may be worth trying. But picking the right one for you depends on your specific concerns and how aging has affected your unique skin.
Those aging-related skin changes start earlier than you might think: at around age 25, when your skin starts producing less and less collagen. In fact, by the time we’re 50, there’s almost no new collagen being made and the collagen that does remains becomes broken down, fragmented and weaker, Shari Marchbein, M.D., Professor of Clinical Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine and practices at Downtown Dermatology in Manhattan, tells SELF. This concept is known as intrinsic aging and it is, of course, completely natural.
But there are some extrinsic—meaning external—factors that can exacerbate the natural signs of aging we all develop. That includes lifestyle choices such as smoking, diet, and excessive sun exposure. These habits can lead to a loss of collagen and elastin (making sagging skin and wrinkles more likely), skin pigmentation, and even skin cancers. “The purpose of using antiaging skin care products containing ingredients such as vitamin C, retinoids, sunscreen, peptides, etc. is to minimize the impact of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors on skin,” Dr. Marchbein says.
So, how can you choose the right antiaging skin-care product for you? Start by looking for the two antiaging ingredients with the most science behind them: sunscreen and retinoids (including retinol). “Sunscreen is without a doubt the singlebest thing you will do to protect your skin and using a retinoid is the second,” Dr. Marchbein says. Retinoids are “vitamin A derivatives [that] have been proven to boost collagen production (reducing wrinkles and preventing fine lines), speed cell turnover (evening out discoloration and brightening skin tone), and unclog pores (making them look smaller and reducing acne).
Another top contender is antioxidants, like vitamin C, which help protect the skin against damaging free radicals in the environment that can cause oxidative stress and damage in high amounts. “Antioxidants pair with free radical scavengers in search of a missing electron, so it neutralizes the damage free radicals can do if it were to pair instead with an electron from a skin protein,” New York City–based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., tells SELF.
Seeing as there are new antiaging skin-care products on the market each day, it’s important to know what to look for to address your top concerns. “Self-educating about ingredients, speaking to your board-certified dermatologist and other non-physician skin professionals, and trial and error are all going to be part of figuring out what’s most helpful for you,” Jessica Krant, M.D., dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology, tells SELF. So we spoke to dermatologists about which products they personally use and rely on for antiaging benefits. See their top recommendations below.
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