The Right Anti-Aging Products for Your Skin
Putting together an anti-aging skincare regimen can seem overwhelming. Scrap that. Is overwhelming. So, we’ve crafted this four-step strategy to help clear confusion and get you just what your skin needs.
[SPONSORED BY SERUCELL]
Anti-Aging Regimen Step #1: Know your skin type
Normal and combination skin types can usually tolerate most anti-aging formulas — so you have the green light to skip this section. Oily or sensitive? Hold up.
If you have oilier skin, consider yourself lucky. The extra lubrication you’ve been battling for years may finally feel like a benefit when hormone swings (hi, menopause) diminish skin hydration. In the meantime, however, having extra oil can clash with some anti-aging formulas. Creams and lotions for aging skin are often laced with very emollient ingredients (e.g. shea butter, lanolin or squalene) to keep the skin looking plump and dewy. On any oilier complexion, however, all the extra moisture may just end up looking and feeling slick. So, search for formulas with descriptors like lightweight, non-greasy, fast-absorbing, and possibly, oil-free (though don’t discount a formula just because it isn’t oil-free. Some oil, like tea tree, can actually be beneficial for oily or acne-prone skin).
If your skin is on the sensitive side, the one ingredient to take extra care with is prescription-strength or over-the-counter retinoids (vitamin A derivatives). While retinoids are a dermatological darling, heralded for their skin clearing, firming and smoothing benefits, they are also notorious for causing irritation, especially in the first four to six weeks of use. To minimize that impact, consider a formula with time-release technology, which diminishes the potential for irritation, or one that has a moisturizing base, which can buffer the skin against a retinoid’s drying effects. You’ll also want to sidestep formulas that are heavily fragranced or contain artificial dye. And, while you can usually use some skin-sloughing acids, do so sparingly and start with gentler options, such as lactic acid as opposed to more aggressive glycolic acid.
Although oily and sensitive types have definite limits to what they can use successfully, there are a few universal products that work for all skin types: a gentle, milky rinse-away cleanser; a noncomedogenic, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30; and an active but not irritating daily serum, such as Serucell Serum with KFS Cellular Protein Complex, which contains a medley of active ingredients, including vitamin A, but is safe for both sensitive and oily skin.
What Aging Well Means to Me
In this special section, we are showcasing women who are proud of their faces — and with good reason! We will be adding women every few days until the end of the year for inspiration as we look toward the new year. Hover over/click a photo to see each woman and read her wise words on aging well.
- Sarah N., graduate student
54, Ann Arbor, MI
I believe that a generous inner spirit and an open heart allow us to deal gracefully with the 'everyday' of life and help us reveal genuine beauty, no matter what our age. By nurturing ourselves, physically, emotionally, energetically and spiritually, we bring peace to our world in an enduring and timeless way.
- Lito K., founder of Lito
47, Athens, Greece
"Aging well means respecting my body changes, feeling comfortable with them, caressing them! It's important to keep exercising, spending more time in nature and with people you love, sleeping a lot, and laughing even more! Just appreciate every day more."
- Susan S., founder/creative director, Evie Marques
54, New York, NY
Aging well means looking the best I can for the age I am. It means having the time and resources to fight for others. It means equal parts love, laughter, friendship, adventure — and tequila. It means wearing the good jewelry and using the good silver. It means being who I am, unapologetically.
- Tricia L., real estate broker, Compass, and entrepreneur
45, Brooklyn, NY.
Aging well means being gentler with myself when it's needed, but also pushing myself to new limits and really exploring my strength. I'm curious about how strong I am, but I also know that rest and self-care need to play a bigger part in my daily life.
- Cady O., real estate broker, The Orchard Private Residences + Jameson Sotheby's International Realty
48, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL
Self-improvement is a critical component to aging well. I certainly care about how I look and am proactive in my self-care. But I also understand and appreciate that aging is a privilege vital to designing and pursuing a life with enduring meaning, grace, and beauty.
- Pamela C., writer, budding astrologer, voice-over artist
51, Brooklyn, NY
It's slightly frightening to think that one's future will, most likely, be shorter than one's past, but this fact is also a great motivator. I'm much more focused on spending quality time with the people I love and care about the most. And I'm keenly cognizant of experiencing joy — from planning trips, to learning to play the piano, to studying astrology. Happiness is an inside job, and it's one of the most important things you can give to yourself.
- Bee S., founder of Ellis Brooklyn, New York Times columnist
New York, NY
To age well, I take care of my exterior — I work out, dabble in fillers and Botox and am down to try nearly any new anti-aging technology. But I've found that it's just as important to keep the mind young. So, I actively try new things and am always open to new experiences. It's the spirit that gives you an air of youth and keeps you present and of this time.
- Susy D., M.D., ER physician
Ann Arbor, MI
Emergency medicine is constantly evolving, so I make it my goal to learn something new every day. I also eat health-consciously and exercise regularly. Aging well on the outside involves regular maintenance and also an acceptance that my goal is to age gracefully rather than return to my youth. Most importantly, I try to do something each day that brings me joy.
- Patricia M., dance and Pilates instructor
Aging well takes some work and I'm not ready to throw in the towel! I am trying to balance letting some of it go without letting it all go. But I keep things easy. I use a gentle facial cleanser with a fresh washcloth, rinse with water, moisturize, especially around the eyes, and apply my Serucell. I see my dermatologist once a year for a full skin check and usually just buy a quality sunscreen on my way out.
- Chloe V., entrepreneur, restaurateur
New York, NY
I believe in keeping things simple. I want products that are high quality, but I don't want to spend a lot of time putting them on. Also, my skin is quite sensitive, so it is usually better not to overdo it. This is one reason I like Serucell so much. It is only one step and does so much for the skin, but it is also very light and not irritating.
- Naomi S., fashion/beauty consultant
New York, NY
My mother is my aging role model. She looks incredible at 66 — not a wrinkle in sight. She always told me to use good skincare, and I have followed her advice, while focusing on using more eco-friendly, sustainable products that are non-toxic, cruelty-free, and organic. But most of all, I want them to perform — to actually do something. This is one reason I really like Serucell. The ingredients in the serum are naturally derived, and it has totally changed my skin.
- Lisa C., volunteer, occasional publicist
New York, NY
I am not afraid of aging. Thanks to a plethora of dermatologic procedures and great products like Serucell, you can still look and feel great for a very long time. I invest in a regular rotation of Botox, laser treatments, and peels, which I think have kept me out of the plastic surgeon's office.
Anti-Aging Regimen Step #2: Learn your anti-aging ingredients
What signs of aging are you seeing? Fine lines? A jiggly jawline? A smattering of sunspots? A skincare regimen is only as effective as the ingredients it contains, so step two is to “make sure your product(s) contain the right actives to address your concerns,” says dermatologist Amy Vaughan, MD. For efficiency’s sake, look for a multi-tasking anti-aging formula that contains more than one active ingredient and targets more than one of your concerns. These anti-aging ingredients are the ones most often recommended by doctors:
Common Anti-Aging Ingredients and What They Target
1. Retinoids promote cell turnover and stimulate collagen production. They target fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, slack skin, and acne.
2. Peptides boost collagen production. They target fine lines and wrinkles, saggy skin.
3. Antioxidants (vitamins C, E and A, green tea, resveratrol, niacinamide) fight against free radicals, the unstable molecules in the environment that damage cells and accelerate aging. They target all signs of aging, as their role is primarily preventative.
4. Hyaluronic acid helps skin retain moisture (can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water). It targets fine lines and wrinkles (providing an immediate smoothing improvement), dry skin.
5. Ceramides support the skin’s barrier function, keeping moisture in and irritants out. They target dry skin, sensitized/irritated skin.
6. AHAs and BHAs (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids) remove dead skin cells, help even tone, boost collagen production. They target dullness, flakiness, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven tone, and acne.
7. Vitamin C brightens and evens skin tone, in addition to being an antioxidant. Can also safeguard the efficacy and endurance of your sunscreen. It targets dullness and sun damage.
If you are looking for a product that addresses multiple concerns, Serucell Serum with KFS Cellular Protein Complex gives you great bang for your buck, says Dr. Vaughan. “It contains peptides, antioxidants, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid — and it addresses multiple issues, including texture and fine lines, tone, and elasticity of the skin,” she says.
Serucell also serves as an alternative to retinoids, says plastic surgeon Tom McClellan, MD. “The KFS Cellular Protein Complex in Serucell Serum boasts many of the same benefits of a retinoid — cell turnover, increased collagen production — but it does not injure the skin to create the healing process, like a retinoid does. Instead, it hurdles beyond that four-to-six-week period of irritation and gets right to repairing, without redness and peeling,” he explains.
Anti-Aging Regimen Step #3: Pick the right packaging
This doesn’t mean splurging on a product embossed in gold, but you should look for bottles or jars designed to protect unstable active ingredients, like vitamin C, retinoids, and peptides, all of which can degrade if they are repeatedly exposed to light or air. What is thoughtful packaging? Opaque bottles (or opaque tubes within a bottle) with air-tight pumps are smart picks.
Additionally, be careful where you store your skincare products. “Even the best packaging cannot protect a skincare formula from the negative impact of high humidity or extreme temperature fluctuations, both of which can shorten shelf life,” says Dr. McClellan. The fine print on many bottles will suggest storing the product in a “cool, dark place,” which does not mean next to a steamy shower. Your bedroom, your closet or a bathroom without a shower are probably safer spots.
Anti-Aging Regimen Step #4: Be compliant
The best skincare regimen for your complexion is one that’s consistent, says Dr. McClellan. “And for most people, that means keeping things simple so they’ll actually stick to the program,” he advises.
Dr. Vaughan suggests, in the morning, cleansing, then using an active serum topped by sunscreen. This routine is easy and quick so you won’t be tempted to skip a step, even on harried mornings, she says, “but try to choose a one-and-done, multi-tasking serum like Serucell so you get all the benefits your skin needs for the day.”
Similarly, Dr. Vaughan proposes a simple bedtime routine that includes cleansing and application of an active serum. Then, on top, you may want to add a specialty product, like an eye or lip cream, or, in the winter, when skin is driest, a heavier moisturizer. Tip: To ensure you don’t inadvertently dilute your active serum, “allow it to absorb for two minutes before you top it with anything else,” says Dr. McClellan. Finally, once or twice a week, Dr. McClellan recommends exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and create a clear pathway for your active skincare products. You may use a gentle scrub, a chemical exfoliator like an aha or bha — or, just a clean, damp washcloth.