Before we can dive into the best anti-aging serums, we need to discuss a few things first: (1) Aging is very normal. If you’re not aging, you’re not living, so aging is very much a good thing. (2) Changes to our skin, like the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, that happen as we age are also very normal and are largely the result of years of UV exposure and a decline in collagen and elastin levels in the skin. So if you’re seeing signs of aging on your face, neck, and chest, don’t freak—this is a part of life and there are plenty of excellent anti-aging moisturizers and serums on the market to help amp up your skin’s elasticity.
So to help you narrow down all the options, I reached out to dermatologist Elyse Love, MD, and licensed esthetician
Brittany Blancato for their top picks and pulled together the most important things to know when shopping for a new anti-aging serum. But first, a sneak peek:
Our picks for the best anti-aging serums of 2022:
Ahead, the entire list of the 13 best anti-aging serums. Packed with tried-and true smoothing and brightening ingredients—like retinol, peptides, acids, and antioxidants—these serums are guaranteed to give your skin a dewy, smooth glow.
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Best Anti-Aging Serum with Retinol
Obagi Clinical Retinol 0.5
Best Anti-Aging Serum for Dry Skin
Alastin Restorative Skin Complex with TriHex Technology
Best Cult-Favorite Anti-Aging Serum
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Best Splurge Anti-Aging Serum
SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum
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Best Anti-Aging Serum for Sensitive Skin
Avene Retrinal Serum Advanced Correcting Serum
Best Celeb-Favorite Anti-Aging Serum
Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform
Best Anti-Aging Serum for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
Skinbetter Science AlphaRet Clearing Serum
Best Anti-Aging Serum with Growth Factors
ZO Skin Health Growth Factor Serum
Best Anti-Aging Serum for Dull Skin
BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner
Best Resurfacing Anti-Aging Serum
U Beauty Resurfacing Compound
Best Drugstore Anti-Aging Serum
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Pro+ .5% Power Serum
Best All-Natural Anti-Aging Serum
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum
Best Anti-Aging Serum with Peptides
Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum
How to choose an anti-aging serum:
Assess the active ingredients in the formula.
There a ton of different ingredients used in anti-aging serums, and all they all have their own specific benefits. Use this lil cheat sheet below to help you narrow down the options.
- Retinol: Derm-favorite anti-aging ingredient that jumpstarts cell turnover and stimulates collagen and elastin production.
- AHAs: Exfoliating acids that resurfaces, smooths, and brightens skin.
- Peptides, stem cells, and growth factors: Skin regenerating ingredients that improve skin function and signal collagen and elastin production.
- Vitamin C and niacinamide: Two of the best skin-brightening antioxidants that protect skin from the aging effects of free radical damage.
- Hyaluronic acid: Humectant that hydrates skin to temporarily plump fine lines.
Consider your skincare habits and current routine.
Your skincare habits and existing routine should influence the type of ant-aging serum you choose. For example, most serums with exfoliating acids and/or retinol are designed to be used at night, so if you’re the kind of person who forgets to wash their face before bed, they’re prob not the best formulas for you. And if you currently use a moisturizer or face mask with AHAS and BHAs, you may want to reconsider using a serum with acids or retinol as well since doubling up on exfoliating ingredients can cause skin irritation.
Meet the experts:
- Elyse Love, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at GlamDerm in New York, NY. Dr. Love is an expert in clinical and cosmetic dermatologist and takes a holistic approach to skin wellness that includes fitness and diet.
- Brittany Blancato is a licensed medical esthetician based in New York, NY. Blancato’s trusted expertise and simple but effective methods using the best technologies and devices in the medical-grade aesthetics world has made her one of the most sought-after experts in the industry.
Why trust Cosmopolitan?
Lauren Balsamo is deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan with nine years of experience researching, writing, and editing skincare stories that range from the best retinol eye creams to the best lasers for acne scars. She’s an authority in all skincare categories but an expert when it comes to anti-aging products and treatments. She regularly tests and analyzes anti-aging serums for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top dermatologists and estheticians to assess new formulas, brands, and technologies.
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