Anti-Aging All-Stars

Not all great skin-care products are new. If you combine these classics with the new anti-aging breakthroughs, they’ll maximize your results. But even on their own, these products will make a real difference

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Products that contain topical vitamin A (aka retinoids) have long been popular ammunition in a dermatologist’s anti-aging arsenal—but many patients could not tolerate them and complained of redness and peeling.

However, today’s new formulas are much easier for everyone to tolerate. “Retinoids—both prescription and nonprescription—are less irritating than they’ve ever been,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “If you’ve been using Renova and feel ready for a stronger prescription, there’s ReFissa, a more potent 0.05% cream with an emollient base.”

Over-the-counter formulas also boast gentler options, like Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Retinoid Pads and Solution ($74;, StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Concentrated Serum ($119; and SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Cream ($63; Finally, to clear up acne fast, new prescriptions Veltin Gel and Epiduo Gel are part retinoid, part antimicrobial.

SPF Plus

Wearing sunblock is a no-brainer, since almost every dermatologist on the planet says nothing ages skin faster than UV rays. So as long as you’re slathering, it makes sense to consider an SPF that boasts bells and whistles. At the top of the add-ons list are antioxidants (see suggestions at right). Here, other excellent plus-ones:


“If you have pigmentation issues, choose an SPF that contains a skin brightener, like niacinamide or soy,” says Leslie Baumann, MD, a Miami-based dermatologist. Try NIA 24 Sun Damage Prevention UVA/UVB Sunscreen SPF 30 with nicotinic acid ($49; or Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 with soy ($14; drugstores).

“If your skin is red or irritable, look for sunscreens with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea and feverfew,” says Baumann. Try Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 ($17; drugstores).

If you’re blemish prone, sunscreen spiked with salicylic acid can help keep pores clear. Try Ahava Time to Smooth Age Control Even Tone Moisturizer SPF 20 ($60;


Sunscreen is still your best protection against skin cancer—but adding other kinds of UV protection can score you some cosmetic benefits as well. For example, including a layer of topical antioxidants in your daily skin-care regimen can slow down the development of fine lines and sunspots (and maybe even prevent skin cancer: Studies show antioxidants help stabilize and improve the longevity of your sunscreen).

The easy way to get this done? “In the morning, use an antioxidant serum underneath your sunscreen or slather on an SPF with antioxidants. Either will combat free radicals,” says Elizabeth Hale, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. “Then, at night, apply another antioxidant cream, preferably over your retinoid. This replenishes your body’s natural antioxidant store, which gets depleted during the day.” For day, try Origins A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer with White Tea ($41;; for night, Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer ($45;

Related: Better Skin Now Than at 20
Next: Beauty Self-Acceptance at Last


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First published in the April 2014 issue

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