Dermatologist Recommended 8 Best Anti-Aging Ingredients

a woman applying serum on her face

Do Anti-Aging Ingredients Really Work?

While no skincare ingredient can stop the ageing process altogether, anti-ageing ingredients can improve the overall appearance of ageing skin.

As part of an effective anti-ageing strategy, it is recommended to begin an anti-ageing skincare regimen in your 20s, before the signs of ageing appear. As you get older, you can direct specific skin issues as they develop.

How do they work?

Anti-ageing ingredients work in one of three ways:

  1. Increase skin cell yield rate to encourage the exfoliation of dead skin cells 
  2. Signal the body to increase collagen and elastin production, two proteins that are essential for skin health 
  3. Replace lost key molecules to rehydrate and restore ageing skin to health

Benefits of anti-ageing skincare products

The most common benefits of anti-ageing skincare products are:

  • Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Lightening dark spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation
  • Reversing sun damage
  • Improving the skin moisture barrier
  • Firming lax or sagging skin

8 Best Anti-Aging Ingredients


We can’t talk about must-have skincare ingredients without talking about collagen. Whether you choose to use it topically or ingest it, collagen has many skin benefits, including improving skin firmness and warding off fine lines and wrinkles. 

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is the most common humectant ingredient out there today, which means it has the power to draw water molecules into the skin. It’s a compound that’s naturally found in the skin, which makes it unlikely to cause any irritation or allergic reactions.

When skin is more hydrated and moisturized, it may look fuller and plumper, which is why humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin are a mainstay of antiaging skin-care products. However, their effects aren’t permanent and may even diminish throughout the day, so you’ll have to reapply these products regularly to continue seeing the effects.

Hydroxy Acids

Hydroxy Acids are organic acids found in natural sources like fruits and milk. These acids are used in skincare to exfoliate and stimulate the production of new skin cells. There are 2 kinds of Hydroxy Acids: Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs).

  • AHAs are water-soluble and help to loosen and shed the dead skin cells. AHAs can assist in the reduction of fine lines, roughness, and uneven skin tone due to their ability to exfoliate and reveal fresh skin. This ingredient is suited for damaged or dry skin.
  • BHAs are oil-soluble and work deeper in the skin. BHAs are more effective at eliminating clogged pores. This ingredient is excellent for dealing with congested and acne skin.


Retinoids like retinol, along with sunscreen are the skin-care ingredients that have the actual evidence for anti-ageing benefits. All retinoids are forms of vitamin A that are naturally occurring. But when you eat foods that are a source of vitamin A, your body needs to convert those forms of vitamin A into an active form that you can actually use to get its benefits.

Retinol is the first step on that pathway. Topical retinoids cause your skin to speed up its normal cell-turnover process, which means they will shed skin cells more quickly. That helps tackle issues like dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. 

The other drawback of using retinol (or any retinoid, really) is that these ingredients are known for irritating, at least when you are using them for the first time. The usual symptoms include dryness, redness, itching, and increased sensitivity. 

If you experience any irritation with retinol, you can try products that contain retinal (also called retinaldehyde), which is another form of retinol, or bakuchiol, a newer ingredient often preferred as a natural retinol alternative. Both of these appear to cause much lesser irritation than retinol.


Retinoids are chemical combinations that include vitamin A-derived molecules that help stimulate cell turnover and increase the skin’s natural collagen production, which may result in younger-looking and smoother skin. In addition to plumping wrinkles and fine lines, retinoids counter discolouration and lighten small marks and freckles, as well as improve skin texture


Ceramides are lipids or fat molecules that keep the moisture barrier that protects the skin from outer elements. As with hydroxy acids, ceramides become less present as skin ages.

When applied topically, ceramides reduce transepidermal water loss, or the moisture evaporation through the skin, to prevent and treat dry skin.


This very popular skin-care ingredient is a form of vitamin B3 that helps in fighting free radical damage, managing acne, and brightening dark spots. And those with sensitive skin will be glad to know that some research shows it can brighten skin with fewer side effects or irritation.

Vitamin C

With oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, grapefruit and so many other accessible items packed with vitamin C, it’s so easy to incorporate it into your anti-ageing skincare routine. So having these tasty fruits make a good tasty salad and also makes for a powerful free-radical defence squad. 

Take Away

Although the ageing process is inevitable, certain skincare ingredients can help maintain your skin’s health to preserve a more youthful appearance. These ingredients can be incorporated into any step of your skincare routine.

As alternatives to commercial products, at-home options include lemon juice, caffeine, and milk. While some scientific data is pointing to these ingredients’ ability to improve skin quality, they may not be as effective as OTC anti-ageing products.