Aging is simply a part of life. However, it's all too common to be in a state of shock when the first gray hair or wrinkle appears, seemingly out of nowhere. Questions like “When did this appear?” and “Now what do I do?” often arise. But, as you enter your forties and beyond, this initial shock becomes more familiar, and you begin to focus on what you can control. For many people, this means considering options like Botox or dermal fillers to address signs of aging, but for others, it can mean maintaining a healthy lifestyle, embracing self-care, and nurturing your skin with an intensive skin-care routine.
- Andrea Hui Austin, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in San Francisco
- Anetta Reszko, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon
- Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board-certified dermatologic surgeon based in New York City
- Howard Sobel, MD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, founder of Sobel Skin Rx
- Suneel Chilukuri, MD, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon based in Houston, Texas
It's worth noting that an increasing number of people, including celebrities like Courtney Cox and Kristin Davis, are choosing to dissolve their fillers and embrace their “natural” selves. This trend indicates a growing desire for a more authentic and less artificially-enhanced look (although, we stand by the idea that there's no "wrong" way to go about this—you should ultimately do what makes you feel good).
So, if you're seeking ways to improve your skin's appearance without going under the needle, there are plenty of at-home alternatives or “Botox in a bottle” solutions available. Ahead, read on to discover what leading dermatologists recommend. Not all products that claim to be anti-aging deliver on their promises—but all of these get the derm seal of approval.
Dermatologist Dr. Andrea Hui Austin recommends growth factor-based topicals, such as SkinMedica TNS Advanced Serum, because it contains a blend of growth factors that support the skin’s natural rejuvenation process. This promotes healthier and more youthful-looking skin, often leading to a reduced appearance of wrinkles and improved texture.
Dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel, founder of Sobel Skin, recommends this anti-aging serum from Maskad because it contains peptides and growth factors. The Maskad Anti-Aging Serum is formulated to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, while the skin tightening peptides and three forms of growth factors (EGF, FGF, KGF) work synergistically to stimulate collagen production and stem cell rejuvenation.
“BioEffect EGF Bio Cream is a great product for those who are looking to achieve a youthful look,” says dermatologic surgeon, Dr. Anetta Reszko. It contains epidermal growth factors that can stimulate the natural production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid—all of which work together to create and maintain bouncy, smooth, and full skin.
“After the age of 22, collagen and elastin production slows down, and we experience more micro-breaks in the skin barrier. The cumulative effects lead to dry skin and fine lines, which become especially noticeable in our 40s and beyond,” explains board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Suneel Chilukuri. For those who cannot tolerate a topical retinoid, liquid exfoliants are great to incorporate into your routine to help increase cell turnover and dissolve dead skin tissue. “When used daily, the AlumierMD Bright & Clear Solution gently refines skin complexion with Lactic acid, Salicylic Acid and caviar lime to help improve skin health and clarity over time,” says Dr. Chilukuri.
Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, Dr. Dendy Engelman, loves this cleanser “because it removes all the dirt, oil, makeup, and buildup on the surface of yout skin.” She highly recommends double-cleansing, a skin-care practice that gives your skin some extra love and enables it to begin the recovery process (which is just as important when you’re using potent serums and moisturizers!).
This 8-in-1 BioSerum for Defnage is another favorite of Dr. Reszko because it contains defensins, a molecule that stimulates our own stem cells (LGR6+) to increase collagen production, resulting in reduced wrinkles and firmer skin. “The defensins naturally signal our body to produce new, youthful skin,” she adds.
“Retinol is the holy grail ingredient for anti-aging and skin firming, especially for women over 40,” says Dr. Sobel. Retinols play a vital role in overall skin regeneration by increasing cellular turnover and stimulating collagen production. Collagen is essential for keeping the skin plump and firm, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
According to Dr. Reszko, the Vita-Peptide Serum is an excellent product to incorporate into your morning routine. “90 percent of our aging is external, expedited by the usual elements and pollution,” she says. To combat these effects, the serum is formulated with powerful antioxidants that work to create a protective barrier for the skin and peptides, which are proteins known for stimulating collagen and elastin production. These peptides play a crucial role in maintaining the skin’s plumpness and firmness, contributing to a lifted appearance. When used regularly, the combination of active ingredients promotes smoother, brighter, and more supple skin.
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