Our Skin Starts Thinning at Age 25—These Are the 3 Basic Products an Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Recommends To Increase Elasticity

Getting older comes with a ton of perks, including, but not limited to: better understanding your wants and needs, and being able to eat pie for breakfast whenever you want. But, alas, around the time we hit about age 25, there’s one physical function that stops working as well as when we’re younger. "In our mid-to-late 20s, our body’s own collagen production starts to slow down, which causes our skin to lose elasticity—this explains the tightness [in your skin] you see and feel when you are younger," says Mindy Simpson, DNP, FNP-C, an aesthetic nurse practitioner at SkinSpirit. Thankfully, there are ways you can help keep your skin plump and promote elasticity. Below, Simpson shares the basic anti-aging products everyone should keep in their arsenal.

"My top three basic products for prevention of aging throughout your whole life are: retinol at night, vitamin C in the morning, and sunscreen. These three are a must," says Simpson. "All other products are an added benefit to your regular regimen." Personally, Simpson is a fan of Alastin’s TriHex technology, which they use in some of their medical-grade products. "[It] helps your body break down old collagen and get rid of it easier in order to grow new, young collagen," she explains.

Still aren’t entirely clear on what collagen is and does, watch this quick video: 

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If you are ready to take your routine to the next level, in addition to products, treatments and procedures can also help with collagen production. Simpson recommends Sculptra, and says that everyone—even in your 20s—can be a candidate. "An easy and more visual way to think about it is to think of your skin like a piece of medical gauze. As we get older, that gauze starts to fall apart, separate, and thin. Sculptra is injected into that skin and helps that gauze (collagen) piece itself back together so it’s thick, strong, and not separated. Sculptra will thicken the skin, smoothing it out and making it more youthful," she explains. (While it can take a few weeks to see noticeable results, I can confirm that it's wholly worth it.)

Above all, though, Simpson stresses that consistency is what leads to the best results. "I like to remind patients that there is never a 'one and done' when it comes to anti-aging," Simpson says. "Good products, regular Botox, along with Sculptra and other fillers, as well as skin treatment such as micropenning and lasers are all going to work together and hit different areas of the skin to help improve and slow the aging process," Simpson says.

The basic anti-aging products you need to get started with your routine


Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is the gold-standard when it comes to stimulating collagen production and speeding up cell turnover.

RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Retinol Serum
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules — $33.00

Our beauty editor has been using this drugstore anti-aging treatment every day since turning 30, and it’s easy to see why: A one month supply checks out at around $1 per day, and the serum is formulated to be potent while increasing hydration and minimizing irritation. Each capsule is biodegradable, and contains the perfect amount of product for your face.

U Beauty Resurfacing Compound — $88.00

This serum has everything—antioxidants, stabilized vitamin C and E, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, and retinol. Don’t let all the skin-care actives intimidate you, thought, because the product is quite gentle, and has been dermatologically tested for sensitivity. I’m able to use it multiple days in a row without any irritation. It leaves skin plump and glowy, and has also helped get rid of the clogged pores that plague my chin.

Mara Algae Retinol Face Oil — $120.00

The formula of this nighttime product combines retinol with algae extracts and fermented green tea, so it simultaneously helps cell turnover, while also infusing skin with amino acids, antioxidants, and hydration.

SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5 — $78.00

This professional-grade, dermatologist-recommended skin-care brand offers retinol products in three different degrees of potency. This one falls in the middle; .25 and 1.0 versions are also available.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, known for its brightening abilities. Antioxidants are an important component in skin care because they help protect skin against environmental stressors that can cause free-radical damage. And if you're prone to sunscreen-induced breakouts, layering on a vitamin C serum can help prevent them.

Lancer Instant Brightening Booster — $125.00

Use this potent cream one to two times a week to brighten and smooth skin. It contains 30-percent stabilized vitamin C (see—potent!), plus antioxidant-rich turmeric and hydrating botanicals.

Renee Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment — $70.00

IMHO, Renee is incapable of making a bad product (which is why her line is the one I tend to recommend most when someone asks for a skin-care rec). I’ve been using this treatment in the morning for years because it straight-up works, giving me brighter skin and protecting it from damage-causing free radicals.

Garnier Green Labs Pinea-C Brightening Serum Cream with SPF 30 — $22.00

This 3-in-1 drugstore product is a vitamin C serum, moisturizer, and SPF 30. It’s lightweight and non-greasy, so it plays well under makeup.

Wander Beauty Sight C-er Vitamin C Concentrate — $42.00

See results both over time and instantly with this multi-functional concentrate. It’s packed with radiance-boosting, plumping, hydrating ingredients like vitamin C, squalane, and hyaluronic acid—plus, it gives skin an immediate glow thanks to pearl light diffusers.


Sunscreen should be a non-negotiable in every skin-care routine, but particularly in an anti-aging skincare routine. Over 95 percent of the signs of aging in skin come from the sun.

Unsun Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 — $29.00

This broad-spectrum, tinted sunscreen doesn’t leave a cast on olive and dark complexions; it blends easily and protects skin with a blend of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Kinship Self Reflect — $26.00

Please let me introduce you to a reef-safe sunscreen that was designed with blemish-prone skin in mind. In addition to UVA/UVB sun protection from zinc oxide, the formula also soothes skin with turmeric and helps keep skin clear with plant-based probiotics.

Live Tinted Hueguard 3-in-1 Broad Spectrum Mineral SPF 30 Primer — $32.00

The ultimate multitasker, it’s a sunscreen/moisturizer/primer hybrid that’s vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and reef safe. What’s more, it was designed to blend seamlessly into all skin tones.

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