What to Look For in an Anti Aging Serum

There are so many factors that go into selecting the best anti aging serum for your skin concerns. Some can offer instant plumping via heavily hydrating ingredients while others work to reduce discoloration and fine lines over time with retinols that speed up cell turnover.

Here, experts share their top face serum picks for different concerns.

1. Retinol

Retinol is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and helps to smooth wrinkles and uneven skin tone. It can also treat hyperpigmentation and fade acne marks. It can be drying and irritating for sensitive skin, so we recommend starting off slow and building up to it over time.

Retinoids are hands down the most important ingredient to look for in an Anti Aging Serum. Pure retinol (aka Vitamin A) is the gold standard; it speeds cell turnover, evens out skin tone, fades fine lines and dark spots, unclogs pores, and improves skin texture.

2. Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol is a plant-based alternative to retinol that boosts cell turnover and can reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin tone. It also helps decrease acne lesions and hyperpigmentation caused by them.

It’s been popularized in recent months as a “clean beauty” ingredient—and is often found in products labeled as such. It doesn’t make skin more sensitive to the sun (though you should always use a broad-spectrum SPF during the day), and it has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Lingonberry Stem Cells

Lingonberry stem cells are an anti-aging ingredient that helps reduce fine lines, dark spots, and inflammation. It also improves skin tone and texture.

In a study, the lingonberry fruit extract was found to protect against traumatic injury to rat cortical neurons. This was attributed to the polyphenols cyanidin, cyanidin-3-glucoside, proanthocyanidin A, and quercetin glycosides.

Lingonberry stem cells are a new skincare ingredient, so more research is needed on their benefits and risks. However, they are generally considered safe and unlikely to cause irritation or sensitivities.

4. Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol is a plant-based ingredient that is making headway as a retinol alternative. It’s derived from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant and has been shown to have anti-aging benefits.

It increases skin cell turnover, stimulates collagen production, decreases hyperpigmentation, and improves elasticity and firmness, all without irritating the skin or disrupting the microbiome. It also helps reduce pores and redness.

Look for it in serums and moisturizers, and apply it to clean, dry skin morning and night, before your regular products. Always do a patch test before incorporating any new product into your routine.

5. Dioic Acid

Serums are light and more potent than lotions or creams and penetrate your skin with small molecules that deliver anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants, collagen boosters, and hydration agents. They’re most effective if applied before your moisturizer.

For oily skin types, serums containing brightening ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide can reduce dark spots and uneven pigmentation over time. For mature skin, you can look for hyaluronic acid serums that boost skin elasticity and plumpness. Other beneficial ingredients include edelweiss, buddleja davidii and life everlasting flowers to calm your complexion.

6. Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a great addition to any skincare routine because it helps prevent breakouts, hyperpigmentation, dullness and signs of aging (like fine lines and wrinkles). It also preps the skin for other ingredients, making them more effective.

It’s the smallest in size among all the alpha hydroxy acids, which makes it easy to penetrate the skin. It also helps regulate sebum secretion and minimize pores and blackheads. It’s a very gentle ingredient that can be used on all skin types.

7. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a great ingredient to use in skin care products. It works as a moisturizer, absorbing and binding moisture for more hydrated skin.

Over time, the body’s natural stores of hyaluronic acid deplete, and topical products that contain this ingredient help to boost hydration and smooth out fine lines.

Hyaluronic acid also helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, brightening and evening out skin tone. This serum features four types of hyaluronic acid to flood the face with hydration, while niacinamide visibly evens skin tone and texture.

8. Vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C scavenges free radicals and prevents the skin from becoming dull or dry. It can also improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dermatologists typically recommend serums with a concentration of up to 20%, but start with a lower concentration and work your way up. Dry and sensitive skin can often tolerate higher concentrations better than oily or combination skin.

Look for a product that contains tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a stable form of Vitamin C that penetrates the skin easily. This hydrating serum helps promote collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and brighten the skin.

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