Say hello to vibrant, glowing skin.
While no magic product exists to instantly make you look or feel younger (bummer), a good anti-aging serum is about as close as you’ll get to a fountain of youth for your skin. These highly-concentrated formulas call on a variety of key ingredients to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, even skin tone, repair environmental damage, brighten your complexion, and reduce inflammation. It’s no wonder dermatologists constantly recommend these multi-tasking skincare agents.
“Serums are more concentrated.” Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, tells Health. “That’s what basically makes them more effective than a regular cream or moisturizer.”
Finding the best anti-aging serums on the market comes down to knowing which ingredients to look for—so we tapped three dermatologists to learn more. They all agreed that retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid are the trifecta of effective anti-aging ingredients—but they also had a few lesser-known suggestions.
While there are a myriad of ingredients out there that promise anti-aging benefits, Rachel Nazarian, MD, New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, recommends sticking to those that have the most scientific evidence behind them. “Look for [options] such a bakuchiol or retinol that stimulate youthful collagen and elastin, or those that protect against premature aging, such as vitamin C and E,” she said.
In addition to these powerful components, Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, suggests hyaluronic acid for dryness, soothing botanicals for redness, and hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid) to address a loss of radiance.
If you’re looking to tackle dehydration or puffiness, Dr. Jaliman points to squalane and caffeine. “Squalane is extremely moisturizing and keeps skin hydrated,” she explains, “[because] its molecular makeup is similar to the skin’s cell membrane, which allows the plant-based ingredient to quickly absorb into the skin.” As for de-puffing the skin, caffeine constricts blood vessels, which decreases puffiness, according to Dr. Jaliman.
Armed with this vital information, you’re ready to choose your new favorite skincare product to combat wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Here, the 15 best anti-aging serums—made with powerful, dermatologist-trusted ingredients—for younger and brighter skin.
- Best Overall: Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum
- Best for Wrinkles: Replenix All-Trans-Retinol Serum 1x
- Best for Radiance: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Glycolic Acid Serum
- Best for Damaged Skin: Obagi Professional-C Serum
- Best for Brightening: Neutrogena Bright Boost Illuminating Serum
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
- Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II
- Best Overnight Repair Serum: Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum
- Best for Fine Lines: Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
- Best for Dark Spots and Scarring: Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum
- Best for UV Protection: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
- Best for Redness: Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
- Best Splurge-Worthy: La Prairie Swiss Moisture Cellular Hydrating Serum
- Best for Hydration: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum
- Best for Environmental Damage: Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum