The best anti-wrinkle serum
Anti-aging skincare is everywhere, and aging is inevitable. While the Fountain of Youth has yet to be discovered, the right anti-wrinkle serum may be the next best thing. These potent formulas help restore a youthful glow and smoothness to the skin with a whole arsenal of anti-aging ingredients.
Serums are lightweight and easily absorb into the skin, which make them great for layering under makeup and your daily SPF. We've created this quick buying guide on anti-wrinkle serums so you can cut through the hype of many anti-aging products and choose ones that actually work. We've also included our top and trusted picks, like this magical elixir by Vichy.
Considerations when choosing anti-wrinkle serums
What causes wrinkles?
Wrinkles on our face occur naturally as our skin produces less of two important structural proteins, collagen and elastin, as we age. By the time we hit our forties and fifties, the slowing down of collagen and elastin production causes our skin to lose elasticity. Also, the fat deposits in our skin layers start to thin out, which decreases our skin's ability to retain moisture. The result? Sagging, fine lines, crow's feet, and wrinkles all appear, and our skin also can look dry and dull.
There are also outside influences that can contribute to wrinkles, such as:
Repeated facial expressions
Poor diet (too much sugar)
Fortunately, some of these factors you can mitigate, like wearing a daily sunscreen. Anti-aging serums can also fill in the gaps by helping smooth, tone, and hydrate the skin, reversing some of the effects of your bad habits or genes.
Anti-aging and anti-wrinkle serums often contain a cocktail of ingredients to combat signs of aging. Here is a list of common ingredients most helpful in the fight against the ravages of time:
Retinol: A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is a gold standard in OTC anti-aging skincare. Not to be confused with prescription-grade Retin-A, retinol is still highly effective in boosting collagen and elastin production and cell turnover for increased glow and decreased wrinkles, as well as helping your skin shed dead, dull skin cells.
Peptides: These amino acids are the building blocks of collagen and, when applied topically, will improve elasticity of skin and help plump it.
Ceramides: This ingredient naturally occurs in your skin and is a lipid (fat) that helps your skin retain moisture. Your ceramide levels also decline as you age, and a serum containing ceramides will add moisture and plumpness back to your skin, thus diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Hyaluronic acid: This super-hydrating agent is another naturally occurring property of your skin that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. It moisturizes and plumps skin, resulting in a dewy, youthful appearance.
Antioxidants: Many anti-aging products are packed with antioxidants to combat free radical damage (aka pollution). Green tea extract, vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, and caffeine are all great antioxidants that will protect your skin.
Hydroxy acids: Alpha-hydroxy (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), such as glycolic and salicylic acid, penetrate and exfoliate the skin, removing dead cells. AHAs and BHAs are great for smoothing fine lines. Some are stronger than others, so start off slow with any hydroxy acid-containing serum to avoid irritation.
Plant stem cells: This popular skincare ingredient has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help prevent wrinkles, and there is also some evidence that plant stem cells can promote collagen production as well.
B vitamins: B vitamins, like niacinamide, nourish aging skin by restoring moisture, improving elasticity, and healing damaged cells.
Anti-wrinkle serum prices
Quality anti-wrinkle and anti-aging serums range in price from $15 to $40. Premium luxury brands that use cutting-edge ingredients are priced between $50 and $100.
Q. What's the difference between an anti-aging serum and a cream?
A. Serums and moisturizers (such as creams and lotions) have overlapping benefits like hydration but have different consistencies. Serums are in a liquid form while creams and other moisturizers are thicker. Serums also offer a higher concentration of ingredients, often making them more potent.
Q. My retinol-containing serum is irritating my skin. What gives?
A. Retinol can cause irritation to skin such as redness and flaking, especially if you have sensitive skin. While this irritation usually subsides in a week or two, it's best to slowly introduce a retinol product to your skin, two or three times a week, until you're tolerant enough for daily use.
Anti-wrinkle serums we recommend
Best of the best: Vichy Neovadiol Magistral Elixir
Our take: A premium serum that provides luxurious hydration and toning to aging skin.
What we like: Lightweight, nongreasy, and absorbs fast into your skin. Rapidly diminishes appearance of fine lines.
What we dislike: Oil-based formula not ideal if you already have oily skin.
Best bang for your buck: Cosmedica Skincare Advanced Retinol Serum
Our take: A low-priced retinol serum evens out skin tone and smooths fine lines.
What we like: Inexpensive. Organic, plant-based ingredients. Helps reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
What we dislike: May not do much for deep-set wrinkles.
Our take: A gentle anti-wrinkle formula perfect for sensitive skin.
What we like: Contains natural ingredients that won't irritate the skin. Effectively tightens and softens skin. No parabens or sulfates.
What we dislike: Smell may be too strong for some users.
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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