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16 Best Anti-Aging Serums for a Youthful-Looking Complexion

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It’s never too early (or too late) to step up your anti-aging skincare routine, and serums are the perfect way to start. If you rely on a minimal skincare routine and already have a go-to moisturizer, you might be wondering if adding a serum to the mix is really that necessary—and well, if you ask us, the answer is definitely “yes.” For preventing or correcting fine lines, dullness, dark spots, or wrinkles, a serum is usually one of your best bets. Serums penetrate your skin deeply due to their small molecule size, making them more effective than standard moisturizers. Depending on the serum you choose, it can contain peptides, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinol, which all cater to various skin concerns.

For daytime protection against UV rays and pollution, antioxidant serums are recommended, especially when paired with sunscreen. These anti-aging products, in combination with SPF 30 or higher, offer superior defense against UV damage and help reduce oxidative stress and aging effects. In the evening, anti-aging serums with retinol or glycolic acid can help rejuvenate your complexion. The best anti-aging serums can be an investment, but they offer quality and efficacy in their active ingredients, making them totally worth the cost. Continue reading below for the 16 best anti-aging serums for a youthful glow.


About the Experts:

Dr. Michael I. Jacobs is an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, associate professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the medical technology director at Cortina
Erica Marie Gatt is an LA-based esthetician and the founder of EM Skin.
Christina Uzzardi is an LA-based esthetician and the founder of Cheeks.co.

KEYS SOULCARE Truly Becoming Multi-Benefit Peptide Serum
Courtesy of KEYS SOULCARE

Take your beauty routine to the next level with this clinically proven rejuvenating facial peptide serum endorsed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michael I. Jacobs. "I recommend this product for anti-aging because it has a poly-peptide complex that improves skin tone and hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate skin," says Dr. Jacobs. This remarkable serum targets uneven skin tone and dehydration, addressing two common signs of aging simultaneously. You’ll notice immediate hydration, skin plumping, and a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, both instantly and over time.

2. Best Pore Minimizing Anti-Aging Serum:

SKINMEDICA TNS Recovery Complex  

SKINMEDICA TNS Recovery Complex
Courtesy of SKINMEDICA

Looking to banish breakouts and reduce signs of aging? Then you’ll want to reach for this rejuvenating serum. "This is a must-have for those of you starting to see signs of aging like fine lines, larger pore size, or tired and dull skin. You will notice almost immediate skin tightening results," says esthetician and founder of EM Skin, Erica Marie Gatt. Use it regularly and you might just be left with the complexion of your dreams.

3. Best Dewy Finish Anti-Aging Serum:

CHEEKS + CO Tidalshift Serum

CHEEKS + CO Tidalshift Serum
Courtesy of CHEEKS + CO

Antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants! “This serum is loaded with essential antioxidants that help protect and heal the skin from free radical damage, and ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides help nourish the skin barrier," says esthetician and founder of Cheeks+Co., Christina Uzzardi. In addition to its potent antioxidant-rich formula, this serum acts as a shield against the daily assault of environmental factors, leaving your skin fortified and radiant. The infusion of hyaluronic acid and ceramides not only nourishes your skin but also strengthens the protective barrier, keeping your complexion healthy and glowing. So take it from us—make this hydrating serum your daily ally in the battle against time and the elements (your skin deserves nothing less!).

4. Best Drugstore Anti-Aging Serum:

E.L.F. Youth Boosting Advanced Night Retinoid Serum

E.L.F. Youth Boosting Advanced Night Retinoid Serum
Courtesy of E.L.F.

Timeless beauty? You’ve already got that down—but adding this results-driven night serum to your routine sure won’t hurt. "Retinoids are a powerful anti-aging ingredient that slow signs of aging by increasing collagen production in the skin. And by doing so, it improves skin elasticity and texture," explains Dr. Jacobs. This potent formula is also enriched with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

5. Best Anti-Aging Face Oil:

JOSH ROSEBROOK Active Infusion Oil

JOSH ROSEBROOK Active Infusion Oil
Courtesy of JOSH ROSEBROOK

"Retinol is the star ingredient in this best-selling serum. Over time it helps speed up cell turnover, leading to brighter, firmer skin and a more youthful glow," says Uzzardi. This serum harnesses the power of retinol, a proven skincare superstar that not only enhances cell turnover but also minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Translation? A more radiant and youthful complexion for you. Its consistent use promises a transformation that makes your skin feel and look firmer and healthier.

6. Best Anti-Aging Serum for Brightening:

RETROUVE Nutrient Face Serum

RETROUVE Nutrient Face Serum
Courtesy of RETROUVE

"This is a must if you seek a super luxe vitamin C serum that packs a punch. This is a wonderful option if you want a lighter serum and an even more beautiful texture to brighten, smooth, and hydrate the skin," says Gatt. Beyond its luxurious feel, this serum is a favorite for brightening, offering that perfect dewy glow that makes the ideal canvas for makeup application. To quote one of the reviews of this product: “No serum compares.”

7. Best Anti-Aging Serum for Skin Plumping:

DR. DENNIS GROSS Derminfusions Fill + Repair Serum

DR. DENNIS GROSS Derminfusions Fill + Repair Serum
Courtesy of DR. DENNIS GROSS

Consider this serum your needle-free alternative to injectables. “Hydration is an important factor in anti-aging, and this serum includes hyaluronic acid that hydrates the skin and fills fine lines, and it also includes peptide proteins that firm the skin,” says Jacobs. We love how this powerhouse serum delivers loads of benefits for a more youthful, revitalized complexion.

8. Best Anti-Aging Serum for Acne-Prone Skin:

FACE REALITY Antioxidant Peptide Face Serum

FACE REALITY Antioxidant Peptide Face Serum
Courtesy of FACE REALITY

"Many of my clients struggling with acne are seeking a serum that will help clarify and hydrate without irritating their healing acne, and this is the formulation I point them to," says Gatt. Beyond fighting acne, this serum provides a calming and overall skin balancing effect that leaves your complexion looking and feeling rejuvenated. And it's not just for troubled skin; if you have sensitive skin, keep this serum on daily rotation to help maintain a harmonious and healthy skin tone.

9. Best Exfoliating Anti-Aging Serum:

OSEA Seaglow Overnight Serum

OSEA Seaglow Overnight Serum
Courtesy of OSEA

"This serum is both exfoliating and nourishing. It's gentle enough to not disrupt your barrier but packs enough punch to attack fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness associated with the aging process," explains Uzzardi. The dual action of exfoliation and nourishment sets this serum apart, ensuring that your skin reaps the benefits of smoother texture and increased hydration without compromising its protective barrier. It's designed to target fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness, so it’s no wonder that it’s our secret skincare weapon for fighting signs of aging.

10. Best Anti-Aging Serum for Deep-Set Wrinkles:

SKINMEDICA TNS Advanced+ Serum

SKINMEDICA TNS Advanced+ Serum
Courtesy of SKINMEDICA

This transformative gem is specially crafted to visibly soften coarse wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. "This serum includes a growth factor blend that supports healthy skin functions. This increases cell turnover, collagen, and elasticity levels," explains Jacobs. The remarkable combination of key ingredients in this serum acts as a potent elixir to revitalize your skin from within.

11. Best Anti-Aging Travel Companion:

CIRCCELL ABO +|- Face Rejuvenation Serum

CIRCCELL ABO +|- Face Rejuvenation Serum
Courtesy of CIRCCELL

"This serum is packed with powerful botanicals and ingredients, including an algae complex that visibly smooths fine lines and wrinkles for a firmer, more toned appearance," says Gatt. It's not just about age; this serum caters to those with dry or more mature skin who are seeking hydration and the perfect dewy glow. "This is a product that I throw in my travel bag because it does wonders with balancing the skin from various environments," says Gatt. Whether you're at home or on the go, this serum will keep your skin radiant, youthful, and resilient, making it an essential addition to your skincare routine.

12. Best Firming Serum:

ODACITÉ Sagging Skin, BU + L Concentrate

ODACITÉ Sagging Skin, BU + L Concentrate
Courtesy of ODACITÉ

"Use alone or to boost up your favorite moisturizer. This particular concentrate leaves the skin visibly brighter and more toned," says Uzzardi. The versatility of this serum concentrate is a game-changer, allowing you to customize your skincare routine according to your needs. Not only does it deliver visible brightness and toning, but it also acts as the perfect enhancement for your moisturizer, ensuring your skin gets the maximum benefit. With ODACTIE’S serum concentrate, you're in control of your skincare destiny.

13. Best Anti-Aging Serum for Textured Skin:

SUNDAY RILEY A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

SUNDAY RILEY A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

Ready to incorporate retinol into your routine? Put this powerful retinol serum on your must-try list. This formula combines traditional retinoids with botanical retinol alternatives to encourage cell turnover and leave you with a younger-looking complexion. While retinol fights premature signs of aging, encapsulated CoQ10 improves your skin’s overall appearance and Hawaiian white honey and ginger offer soothing properties, so deep wrinkles just don’t stand a chance. “This was fantastic. You can see improvement in your skin in just a few days,” says one Ipster.

14. Best Anti-Aging Serum for Dark Spots:

MURAD Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

MURAD Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

Say goodbye to discoloration, sun damage, and acne scars with this serum. This potent formula combines two percent hydroquinone, glycolic acid, and vitamin C to deliver visible results, and Ipsters especially love the way it lightens hyperpigmentation. “I love Murad products and this one did not disappoint!! Brown spots, GONE!” Pro tip: Start by using this serum once a day to see results, then increase to twice a day after a few weeks if needed.

15. Best Nourishing Anti-Aging Serum:

JUICE BEAUTY Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum

JUICE BEAUTY Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum

This gel serum by JUICE BEAUTY melts seamlessly into your skin, making it one you’ll want to reach for daily. “I just turned 44 and this made my skin feel so soft without feeling greasy,” one Ipster said in her Glam Bag review. Paraben-free and synthetic fragrance-free, the ultra-light formula features moisturizing jojoba seed oil and shea butter, dark spot-brightening vitamin C, and skin cell-rejuvenating antioxidants from primrose, linseed, and borage seed oils. While serums affect everyone differently, another Ipster wrote that it “looks like it’s working after only using for a week.”

16. Best Soothing Anti-Aging Serum:

111SKIN Y Theorem Repair Serum

111SKIN Y Theorem Repair Serum

We absolutely love this luxurious 111SKIN serum because it packs three powerful anti-aging abilities in one small package: It hydrates, stimulates collagen production, and blurs the appearance of fine lines. “Loved how my skin felt and appeared the following day after using it,” wrote Ipster @carlacfree. And because it features aminocaproic acid to calm irritation, this serum is also a great choice for sensitive skin types. Try it after a facial or a laser peel to help your skin heal as swiftly as possible.

From exfoliating serums rich in AHAs to antioxidant serums that prevent premature signs of aging to serums loaded with salicylic acid for congested skin, there are a variety of formulations available. Whether you just started noticing signs of aging or you have mature skin, it's never too late to incorporate a serum into your routine—and there’s no better time to start than now.

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Article Last Updated November 21, 2023 12:00 AM