Miracle worker #1: Retinol (a.k.a. vitamin A)
How it works: “Retinol fights fine lines by penetrating deep within the skin to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which naturally diminishes as you age,” says RoC expert Kirk Brierley.
Need to know: Retinol can irritate the skin, so you must build up a tolerance. If you really want to amp up your anti-aging routine, visit a dermatologist, who can prescribe a high-concentration retinol cream. Or get a less aggressive product at the drugstore. Today’s over-the-counter formulas boast multiple ingredients that boost retinol’s effectiveness, even in low doses.
Bottom line: Your complexion will look better almost instantly, but retinol can cause sensitivity. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be diligent about slathering on the sunscreen.
Try: RoC Multi-Correxion Anti-AgeMoisturizer
Miracle worker #2: Peptides (a.k.a. pentapeptides, hexapeptides)
How they work: “Peptides are the natural-protein building blocks of collagen,” says Dr. Paul Cohen, a Toronto dermatologist and Chatelaine health adviser. “They support cell production, which strengthens skin.”
Need to know: Just like retinol, peptides stimulate collagen production and fight fine lines. The difference is they are more gentle and generally repair skin cells without exfoliating or irritation.
Bottom line: Peptides are mild, so they’re an excellent choice for sensitive skin types and in products used around the eye, where the skin is more delicate and the first signs of aging usually show up.
Try: Clinique Repairwear UpliftingFirming Cream.
Miracle worker #3: Alpha-Hydroxy Acids or AHAs (a.k.a. glycolic acid)
How they work: Derived from natural and synthetic sugars, these acids help remove dead skin cells and boost the turnover cycle that slows down with age.
Need to know: Apply before bed to avoid sensitivity to the sun. And don’t forget to moisturize; exfoliation can be extremely drying to the skin.
Bottom line: These mighty acids will revive your complexion and bring new life to dull and uneven skin tone.
Try: La Roche-Posay Derm AHAIntensive Resurfacing Serum.
Miracle worker #4: Vitamins C and E (a.k.a. L-ascorbic acid and alpha tocopherol)
How they work: When applied directly to the skin’s surface, vitamins C and E are proven to work together to prevent damage from oxidative stress caused by pollution and UV rays. “Antioxidants are the body’s natural way to protect itself from the sun,” says Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, founder of SkinCeuticals.
Need to know: Look for a concentrated serum and layer it under moisturizer and sunscreen. Be sure to store it in a dark place; light can aff ect its performance. Bottom line: They combat everything: fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and even cancers caused by UVA rays.
Try: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic.