While we like to think we actually get better with age, we totally understand that there might be some pesky skin changes, you want to address as the years pass. And while there are a variety of medical procedures and spa treatments, there’s no reason why you can’t pamper yourself (and your skin) with anti-aging creams in the comfort of your own home.
Texture changes, dark spots, crepey skin, and moisture loss are ordinary effects of aging. We’re all for embracing getting older, but the fact is there’s still a substantial market for anti-aging products, namely, wrinkle creams. So in the spirit of supporting all types of skincare journeys, we’re here to help you find the best ones.
But, we get it: Not all anti-aging creams are equal, and with thousands of options available on Amazon alone, online shopping can feel complicated. To help you navigate the over-saturated world of anti-aging creams, we spoke to several skincare experts to give us the low-down on all things anti-aging creams.
Our top picks for the best anti-aging moisturizers of 2022:
We conducted our research, sifted through tons of product reviews, and consulted the following top dermatologists to find the best anti-aging creams available:
Daily fragrance-free face moisturizer deeply hydrates to visibly firm skin for a lifted look
A hydrating formula that will seamlessly blend to strengthen skin’s moisture barrier for bouncy, firm & younger-looking skin
Formulated with Vitamin B3 + Hyaluronic Acid, to help skin turnover, remove dead skin cells & correct the look of wrinkles
There’s hardly a list of wrinkle creams without mention of RoC’s classic Retinol Correxion products. Boasting an affordable price point, impressive ingredient list, and more than 12,000 5-star Amazon reviews, this popular anti-aging cream is undoubtedly our best overall pick. It uses a retinol-packed formula to improve skin while you sleep. You’ll see a reduction in crow’s feet, under-eye wrinkles, and deep lines with 12 weeks of use.
A bonus: Amazon reviewers say it also tackles their acne scars. To quote one glowing 5-star review, “I’ve been using it consistently every night with moisturizer for one week, and I’m already seeing drastic results to smooth out my cystic acne scars on my cheeks.”
This popular anti-aging cream is perfect for people who want to take their retinol routine to the next level. It’s one of the most powerful concentrations you can find (a whopping 1.0% retinol), and a triple-peptide blend gives your skin the anti-aging boost you’re craving.
One Amazon reviewer called this clean anti-aging cream “a must-have if you’re over 30” because it tackles acne, fine lines, and wrinkles. “I won’t be using any other retinol product except the Drunk Elephant brand. I’ve noticed such a dramatic difference in my skin. It lightened my sun spots and gave my face a much smoother appearance,” adds another Amazon reviewer.
- Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, sunscreen
- Best For: All skin types
- Size: 1.7 oz.
Great for everyday wear, Roc’s moisturizer with SPF was a GH Beauty Lab anti-aging day cream test winner, absorbing quickly and not leaving a greasy feeling on skin. In Lab digital imaging with the Visia Complexion Analyzer, the formula reduced visible dark spots by 4.5% and improved skin’s texture by 11% in four weeks. Consumer testers gave it top marks for softening, firming and reducing wrinkles. “It made my skin feel plump, smooth and glowing,” one reported.
- Key ingredients: Caffeine, retinol, peptides
- Best for: All skin types
- Size: 0.5 oz.
A top performer in the GH Beauty Lab’s anti-aging eye cream test, Garnier’s bargain eye cream packs potent firming and softening benefits in a small package. In Lab calculations, it increased skin’s firmness by 32% and hydration by 31%. It was also highly-rated among testers, who gave it points for having a pleasant scent. “There was definitely a noticeable difference,” a tester commented.
This anti-aging cream is one of the top bargain-friendly choices for your nighttime routine. You won’t get the bougie packaging you’d find with pricey alternatives, but it’s powerful where it counts: the ingredient label!
It contains three essential ceramides to keep your skin plump and firm. Plus, it has a boost of hyaluronic acid to hydrate thirsty complexions, giving you results of firmer, suppler skin before you get to hit the snooze button.
“I love a good face moisturizer and trying different brands, but I always end up returning to this product. This didn’t break me out, made me feel greasy, and made my skin feel so smooth in the morning,” says one 5-star Amazon.
Another reviewer gave this cream 5-stars and suggests using a face massage tool for at-home spa vibes.
Looking to reduce your fine lines and wrinkles by morning visibly? Same here!
This gel-cream texture sits gently on your face throughout the whole night. But don’t let its lightweight texture fool you: This wrinkle cream is jam-packed with skincare goodies like vitamin C, tamarind seed, and more to comfort and soften your complexion.
Amazon reviewers say you only need two or three pumps on your face and neck, and a bottle should last at least two months.
And if you enjoy luxe-smelling beauty products, we have some great news. “I make sure that I cleanse my face right before I get in bed because the smell [of the anti-aging cream] is so divine, it literally knocks me out,” gushes one Amazon review.
An ultimate younger-looking eye cream that fights wrinkles, puffy eyes, and dark circles
Opaque, pink & smooth to the skin, this fragrance-free cream is formulated with a hint of concealer that blends seamlessly with all skin tones.
Revive your eyes with ingredients like B3, Peptides & Pigments that work together to fortify skin’s natural moisture & instantly reduce signs of tiring days & nights
Combat wrinkles, dark circles & tired-looking eyes morning & night by placing a small amount around the eye area & smoothing until absorbed
Hydrates & restores eyes from the very first use & contains Olay’s color-correcting technology to blend with all skin tones.
How to choose the best anti-aging wrinkle cream or serum
Scan the label: The dermatologists we talked to recommend products that contain the following ingredients: Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) promote cell turnover, stimulate collagen production, and help to even out skin tone. Peptides are another important anti-aging staple that help to repair skin damage. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E help in the fight against free radicals (unstable molecules that can do major damage to your cells). Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, shea butter, and other hydrators can boost and lock in moisture, which will help reduce the irritating effects of anti-aging ingredients.
Know your skin type: “For those who have oily skin or live in humid climates, a lightweight cream with mattifying properties will prevent skin from becoming weighed down and shiny,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “On the other hand, if someone has dehydrated skin or lives in a dry, cold area, a rich cream is more appropriate for their regimen.”
Factor in sensitivities: If your skin is easily irritated, consider looking for anti-aging creams that contain bakuchiol instead of retinol. “It actually has the same effect as retinol topically, but it’s less irritating because it’s also an anti-inflammatory agent,” says Dr. Ilyas. Other potential irritants to avoid include fragrances, artificial dyes, and even coconut oil or cocoa butter, which can clog pores and cause breakouts.
Look for prime packaging: Ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, and peptides can become unstable and degrade when exposed to air or light, so any products that contain them should be packaged in dark opaque tubes, preferably with air-tight pumps, says Lela Lankerani, D.O., board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas.
How to get the most out of your anti-aging creams and serums
Layer in the correct order: You want your products to complement each other, not work against one another. “Unless otherwise indicated, remember to apply anti-aging creams after all other skincare—except your daily sunscreen,” says Dr. Schlessinger. Applying a cream before a gel or serum, for example, may prevent them from properly penetrating the skin.
Make sure the ingredients get along: Many of us layer products because we think this will increase the active ingredients that will help our skin, when in reality, we may be deactivating them by combining ingredients that clash—and retinoids are a good example of this.
Best Anti-Aging Active Ingredients
We asked Greenfield, Green, and other fellow board-certified dermatologists about the all-time best anti-aging ingredients and why they’re effective.
- What is it?: Retinol is a buzzy vitamin A-derivative that can be described as liquid gold for the skin.
- Pros: It promotes cell turnover and enhances collagen production, creating a smooth and plump appearance while preventing clogged pores.
- Cons: The effects of retinoids tend to fade once you stop using them and they’re notorious for causing irritation and sensitivity.
- What is it?: Zeichner, says this potent antioxidant protects skin against UV light, increases collagen production, and brightens your complexion for a more even look and feel.
- Pros: Mixing vitamin C with your sunscreen is one of the best combinations your skin could ever have since they both work together to protect your skin against UV light radiation.
- Cons: Pretty much anyone can use vitamin C, but people with ultra-sensitive skin might want to introduce it very slowly into their routine — think once or twice a week to start, and adjust the frequency as necessary.
- What is it?: “Hyaluronic acid can hold more than 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a great anti-aging ingredient,” says Green.
- Pros: It’s fast-absorbing, skin plumping, and pairs nicely with almost every skincare ingredient, including retinol.
- Cons: Hyaluronic acid is safe for all skin types, but anyone with dry skin should combine it with emollients and occlusives to prevent moisture loss.
- What is it?: Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) known to help chemically exfoliate your pores and shed dead skin cells.
- Pros: Beyond being a supercharged exfoliator that removes gunk in your pores, it has been shown to increase collagen production. Glycolic acid evens out skin discoloration, softens fine lines and wrinkles, tackles rough, dry, and bumpy skin, and helps your skincare actives penetrate better. Like hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid attracts water to plump skin for an anti-aging effect.
- Cons: You can use glycolic acid if you have dry skin, but don’t apply it over skin that’s inflamed, red, or peeling. Also, anyone with strawberry or blueberry allergies should skip using glycolic acid.
- What is it?: “Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3, which contains anti-inflammatory properties and can protect the skin from sun damage,” says Green. Who can pass that up?
- Pros: Everyone can use niacinamide to achieve a brighter, more hydrated, and even complexion. It’s also compatible with retinol, vitamin C, AHAs, beta-hydroxy-acids (BHAs), other antioxidants, and peptides.
- Cons: Niacinamide is well-tolerated by all skin types, even sensitive skin.
Do anti-aging creams actually work?
GH Beauty Lab testing has found that some anti-aging creams and products (like the top-tested formulas on our list) do work and provide visible results. “In our tests, we are able to see measurable improvements in skin’s firmness and hydration and a decrease lines, wrinkles and dark spots,” Wnek says. But consistency is key: It takes at least four weeks of daily application to start seeing benefits from skincare treatments like creams and up to twelve for maximum results.
What’s the best way to use an anti-aging cream?
First, the GH Beauty Lab recommends closely following the directions on the product’s packaging, as some formulas are created to be applied twice per day, while others are meant to be used once. “always apply products on a clean, dry face for best results,” Dr. Rhee advises. And to avoid irritation, “start off slowly,” Dr. Boakye says, applying a small amount of a treatment once per week and inceasing the frequency two to three times per week.
Do wrinkle creams work?
If you choose the right formula containing some of the tried-and-true anti-aging ingredients we mentioned, use it diligently and have a little patience—they will work. However, it’s important to remember that, no matter what type of wrinkle cream you’re using, it’s imperative to wear sunscreen (with broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection or higher) daily to ensure that sun damage doesn’t thwart your wrinkle-fighting attempts.At what age should you start using wrinkle cream? The age at which you start seeing wrinkles will depend largely on those external and internal factors, according to Mariwalla. That being said, she says that your mid-20s is a good time to start an anti-aging skincare routine, including a wrinkle cream. How do you apply wrinkle cream? For retinoid-based creams, Mariwalla recommends applying a pea-size drop of product to clean skin by dabbing it on your forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. If your product doesn’t contain a retinoid, you can use about a nickel-size amount.
Do any creams get rid of wrinkles?
Answer: The American Academy of Dermatology says that over-the-counter wrinkle creams do little or nothing to reverse wrinkles.
What works on wrinkles?
Retinoids (tretinoin, Altreno, Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac). Among medical treatments, this is by far the most proven and effective way of bettering signs of aging such as uneven pigmentation, roughness, and wrinkling.