The best anti-aging cream

Ana Sanchez

Vitamin C is a popular ingredient found in anti-aging products — for good reason. This antioxidant prevents and repairs sun damage, lightens up dark spots, and boosts collagen production in the skin.

For anyone over the age of 30, an anti-aging cream is a must-have in your skincare arsenal. Even if signs of aging aren't yet visible on your face, these potent creams can slow them from developing -- so the younger you start using them, the better.

If you've already got wrinkles from years of laughing or age spots from spending too much time in the sun, using a good anti-aging cream can help firm up skin and even out irregular tone. Though none of these creams will perform a Benjamin Button miracle, when used daily, a quality anti-aging cream significantly reverses some of the ravages of time.

We've put together this quick shopping guide on what to look for in an anti-aging cream and have included our top recommendations, such as this smoothing night cream by StriVectin, which works wonders overnight.

Considerations when choosing anti-aging creams

Types of anti-aging creams to consider

When choosing an anti-aging product, you want one that works with your skin type. Here are the three main formulas to choose from:

Anti-aging serums are lightweight and have a thin, liquid consistency. They absorb easily into the skin because they don't contain heavy moisturizers. Select a serum if you have acne-prone or oily skin.

Anti-aging moisturizers are thicker than serums but still lightweight enough for daytime wear. They typically contain SPF. These contain moisturizing ingredients so are best used if you have a dry, normal, or combination skin type.

Anti-aging night creams are thick and designed to be applied at bedtime because they often contain anti-aging ingredients that make your skin sensitive to the sun. They also contain heavy moisturizers that take a while to absorb into your skin.

Anti-Aging ingredients featured

Not all faces show aging alike, so pick an anti-aging cream with ingredients that target your specific issue or issues. Here's a list of ingredients you'll typically find in anti-aging creams that address various concerns:

For fine lines and wrinkles

Vitamin C
Hydroxy acids (AHA and BHA)
Tea extracts
Peptides and collagen
Grape seed extract

For dark spots (age and sunspots):

Hydroxy acids (AHA and BHA)
Vitamin C

For sagging skin:

Tea extracts

For dullness:

Vitamin C
Hydroxy acids

For rough texture:

Hydroxy acids

For crow's feet:

Coenzyme Q10

Tips for anti-aging creams

Select opaque packaging if your anti-aging cream contains vitamin C or retinol. Both ingredients lose potency when exposed to light.
Apply anti-aging creams to your neck and décolletage. These areas are just as sensitive to aging as your face.
Always use anti-aging creams in conjunction with sunscreen, especially if they contain ingredients that make your skin photosensitive. SPF can prevent further signs of aging.

Anti-aging cream prices

Anti-aging creams can be notoriously expensive, upwards of $100, but you can certainly find ones that work between $20 and $45. Less potent but more affordable anti-aging creams are priced between $8 and $18.


Q. How long do I have to wait to see results of using an anti-aging cream?

A. For optimal results, use an anti-aging cream consistently every day in order to see results four to eight weeks out.

Q. I have sensitive skin. Are there any ingredients in anti-aging creams that I should avoid?

A. Because anti-aging creams can contain a whole host of potent ingredients, irritation can occur (even if you don't have sensitive skin). Retinol in particular is known to cause redness, flaking, and dryness, especially when you first start using it. Start slow when using an anti-aging product; only use it a few times a week before gradually building up to daily use.

Anti-aging creams we recommend

Best of the best: StriVectin Retinol Intensive Night Moisturizer

Our take: A powerhouse anti-aging night moisturizer with exceptional results.

What we like: From a popular anti-aging brand, this moisturizer delivers ultimate hydration and effectively diminishes fine lines. Contains retinol.

What we dislike: Very expensive but worth it to many consumers.

Best bang for your buck: One Life Vest Organic Vitamin C Serum

Our take: A mid-priced anti-aging serum formulated with vitamin C.

What we like: Lightweight and thin. Vitamin C brightens appearance and diminishes wrinkles and sun damage. Contains organic ingredients.

What we dislike: May cause breakouts in some users.

Choice 3: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Night Cream

Our take: A budget anti-aging night cream containing retinol from a reputable brand.

What we like: Packed full of moisturizing ingredients that deeply penetrate your skin while you sleep. Won't break the bank. Contains retinol, a potent anti-aging ingredient.

What we dislike: Carries a fragrance even though labeled fragrance-free.

Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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