The ‘Big 4’ Drugstore Skin-Care Products That Dermatologists Say You Should Use Whether You’re 18 or 80

Photo: Getty Images/ Karen Moskowitz
When people say, "age ain't nothing but a number," they're usually referring to how you feel, but with the right product lineup, this thinking can also be applied to your skin.

You know the spiel: Collagen production slows down by the time you hit thirty, which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles that can be managed, but not undone. Though skin aging is a natural, normal, and inevitable part of life, if you stack your routine with preventative measures, you may be able to stave off the visible effects. In a TikTok video that's garnered more than 1.5 million views, board-certified dermatologist Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, laid out the only four products you need to get the job done. Keep scrolling to read what they are.

Experts In This Article
  • Mona Gohara, MD, board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale University

1. Hylauronic acid

Hyaluronic acid gets top billing in any routine. As a humectant, it pulls water beneath the surface of your skin and locks it in, leaving your complexion moisturized all day long. Not only can signs of aging become more evident when your skin is dehydrated, but according to Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, your skin's natural structure starts to decline in your thirties, and hyaluronic acid can help to restore hydration, which in turn can help to even out fine lines.

2. Antioxidant serum

Antioxidant serums serve double duty in both addressing and preventing signs of aging. Things like pollution and UV exposure cause free radicals to bombard skin, and antioxidants—like vitamin C—counteract free radicals from doing damage. These ingredients can help stave off the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and have the added bonus of brightening skin and evening out discoloration or hyperpigmentation. By the time you hit your mid-20s, an antioxidant serum should be a non-negotiable in your morning routine.

3. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the most important product you can use—full stop. Over 95 percent of the signs of aging in skin come from the sun, which means that applying a minimum of SPF 30 every morning (yes, even when it's cloudy, and even when you're staying inside) is critical for fending off signs of skin damage. If you're still among the two-thirds of people who aren't using sunscreen as a part of their daily routine, consider this your sign to start.

4. Retinoids

Retinol has long been known as the "gold standard" of skin care, thanks to its cell-turnover-stimulating abilities. It works to replace the dead, dull cells on the surface of your skin with healthy new ones, and in effect aids in smoothing out lines and wrinkles. Plus, it helps to even skin tone and texture, and can also fend off acne. It's no wonder why dermatologists recommend the ingredient to everyone by the time they hit 30. But even those in their teens can benefit from a retinol, which also helps to quell acne.

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