Nowadays, there are so many anti-aging skincare products on the market that it can be hard to know which one to choose. The truth is that before you can find the best wrinkle serum for you, you need to know which ingredients really work.
So instead of simply pointing you to some best-selling anti-wrinkle products, we’re taking you through an overview of common anti-aging ingredients in facial creams and serums. We’ll explain the unique benefits of each one, so you know what to look for on your next trip to the beauty aisle.
First thing’s first. Do you need an anti-wrinkle cream if you’ve already got a good moisturizer? Well, while both products have their own benefits, a pure moisturizer may not be what you’re after if you’ve got a more specific skincare goal in mind.
The average moisturizer tends to be all about keeping your skin nice and hydrated — and it’s true that hydration can make wrinkles look less noticeable. But while anti-wrinkle creams and serums often include moisturizing ingredients, they don’t stop there. True anti-wrinkle creams and serums generally include one or more of the ingredients we’ll explore here.
Best Wrinkle Serum Ingredients
Eventually, we all get to the point where we realize it’s time to up our skincare game. If you’re looking to cut down on the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles or keep new ones from forming, then there are several ingredients you’ll want to look for in your search for the best anti-wrinkle product for you.
Vitamin A compounds such as retinol have long been known as the heavy hitters of the wrinkle-reduction world. Retinoids can speed up cell turnover, which helps keep the top layer of your skin looking fresh. But unlike many other skincare products, retinol works not just on the topical level, but a deeper level within your skin. It can boost production of both new blood vessels and collagen, a substance that’s key to fighting sagging and wrinkles.
Retinol is a key component in many of the best anti-wrinkle products because it can prevent new wrinkles from making an appearance while also reducing the appearance of those that have already appeared. If you use them consistently, retinoids can indeed have noticeable results. Just be careful if you’ve never used them before. Because of their strength, experts recommend starting with an every-other-night routine and building up to every night over time.
If over-the-counter (OTC) retinoids aren’t getting you the results you want, you can also talk with your doctor about stronger prescription retinoid options. And make sure you wear a good daily sunscreen, as retinoids make your skin more sensitive to sun.
Bakuchiol is often marketed as a plant-based or vegan alternative to retinol. But there’s no need for vegans to avoid retinoid skincare products — the types of retinoids used in cosmetics are made in a lab and don’t involve animals.
Vegan concerns aside, if your skin doesn’t tolerate retinol, you may want to check out bakuchiol. This ingredient tends to be more gentle and less irritating than stronger retinoids, while still helping to reduce signs of skin aging.
“Bakuchiol, like retinol, works by increasing cell turnover, thereby stimulating collagen production and diminishing wrinkles, skin laxity, and overall photodamage,” dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, explains to Allure. So if you’ve had a bad experience with retinoid creams or serums, it might be time to give bakuchiol a try.
Peptides are chains of amino acids that can promote the production of collagen and elastin in your skin — two compounds that are key to a more youthful appearance. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen and elastin, causing a loss of firmness and elasticity. Peptides can give aging skin a boost in these areas, so that fine lines and wrinkles will naturally become less visible.
And good news for those with sensitive skin: Peptides are usually much less irritating than retinoids and other harsher serum ingredients. So if you’re looking for a gentle way to reduce wrinkles, check out some serums with peptides.
Best Ingredients for Aging Prevention
Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to go straight to the source. Environmental factors like sun damage and pollution can have a nasty effect on unprotected skin, causing wrinkles to appear at an accelerated rate.
So what’s the very first step before you even look for the best wrinkle serum? Wear sunscreen! Most signs of skin aging are related to sun damage. So one of the best ways to protect your skin is to wear sunscreen every day.
The good news is that many of the best wrinkle serums also include ingredients that act as an added layer of protection. Check out these ingredients that can help shield your skin and prevent new wrinkles from forming.
Vitamin C is a popular ingredient in many great wrinkle serums because it’s a potent antioxidant. It works by helping to protect your skin from both sun damage and free radicals. What are free radicals, you ask? To put it simply, they’re unstable molecules that can damage the cells of your skin and increase the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin spots.
Think of vitamin C as an extra layer of armor that can help keep your skin looking younger. But don’t skip the sunscreen! Vitamin C on its own does not prevent the sun damage that ages your skin and can lead to skin cancer.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another handy antioxidant that can help prevent skin aging and wrinkles. CoQ10 is found naturally in the human body, but you produce less of it as you age.
When used in facial products, it’s similar to vitamin C in that it can help block the pollution and environmental irritants that can encourage fine lines and wrinkles. It may also help skin look more firm, improve skin tone and lead to better-hydrated skin.
Look Beyond Wrinkle Serums
Once you’ve found the best wrinkle serum for your skin, you’re off to a great start. But if you want to expand your wrinkle fighting routine beyond serums, a good exfoliant can also make a big difference! Exfoliants remove dead skin cells and help soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Hydroxy acids are a popular and effective ingredient in many anti-aging exfoliant products.
Just be aware that these acids can make your skin more sensitive to sun damage — so it’s especially important to pair these with a good daily sunscreen.