Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine

As you grow older, your skin will go through changes, and it may become more difficult to care for. 

You might start to feel like your once oily skin is now dry and notice fine lines, wrinkles, or areas of hyperpigmentation. These are all normal changes.

With age, your body starts to produce less collagen, less elastin, and less sebum (a natural oily substance that helps to keep your skin moisturized). 

All these, plus external factors like sun exposure, contribute to the visible signs of aging.

While you cannot exactly stop the aging process, you can slow it down and combat its effects by sticking to a healthy anti-aging skincare routine.

What is a skincare routine?

A skincare routine is a set of steps you use to take care of your skin every day. A good skincare routine should involve steps that allow you to cleanse, treat, moisturize, and protect your skin. 

Having a good routine also ensures that you apply your products in the correct order. 

Generally, you want to apply your products from the thinnest to the thickest to allow for maximum penetration and a longer-lasting effect.

As you get older, your skin’s needs and challenges will change. You need to build a routine that addresses these changes to keep your skin looking young and supple. 

Below we discuss a routine that is a good general guideline for aging skin. This routine can be adapted for both night and daytime use.  

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Best anti-aging skincare routine                                                              

It is important to note that everyone’s skin is different. What works for one person may not work for another. 

Finding a routine that works well may require trial and error. But, while everyone’s skin is different, the steps outlined below are a good starting point for anyone who wants to build a healthy anti-aging skincare routine that can help combat signs of aging:

1) Start with a gentle cleanser

Your skincare routine should always start with cleansing. A cleanser will help you get rid of any dirt/impurities and create a clean base for the application of other skincare products. 

For aging skin, it is best to use gentle cleansers that won’t irritate your skin or destroy its protective barrier.

2) Exfoliate to get rid of dead cells

Aging reduces the rate at which dead cells on your skin get replaced. This could leave your skin looking dull and scaly. Using exfoliants regularly can help offset this effect.

Exfoliants are substances that help to remove dead cells from the surface of your skin to reveal brighter and more youthful skin. 

By removing layers of dead cells, they also make it easier for skin products to penetrate. There are two main types of exfoliants – physical and chemical.

Physical exfoliants

These are substances that physically come into contact with dead cells and scrub them away them. 

They include brushes, sponges, rough particles like sugar and salt, and synthetic beads. They can be particularly beneficial for dry and sensitive skin. 

However, you should avoid harsh or abrasive ones. For instance, products that contain sugar granules or synthetic beads can be abrasive and cause micro-tears. 

Washcloths or brushes are a good option as long as you use them gently.

Chemical exfoliants

These are substances that break up bonds between dead skin cells and make it easier for them to slough off. They include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). 

When compared to physical exfoliants, chemical exfoliants have the advantage that they generally do not carry the risk of causing micro tears and physical damage to the skin. However, using harsh chemicals can cause irritation and peeling of the skin.

Products with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as lactic and glycolic acids, are some of the best options for aging skin. 

AHAs are gentle on the skin and have other perks, such as increasing collagen production and reducing hyperpigmentation.

How often you exfoliate will depend on the product you are using. Some are gentle enough for daily use. However, it is generally best to exfoliate not more than three times a week.

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3) Use a serum

Serums are skin care products that contain high concentrations of active ingredients that are meant to address specific skin issues. The best serums to use for aging skin are those that contain vitamin C and retinol. 

Vitamin C is power-packed. It is an antioxidant that helps to fight off free radicals that contribute to the formation of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.  

It also helps to stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that contributes to your skin’s strength and firmness. 

As you grow older, your body produces less collagen, which could contribute to saggy and wrinkled skin. 

By stimulating collagen production, vitamin C can help plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

Retinol is another great ingredient to look out for in serums. It is a derivative of vitamin A, which can help to slow down the breakdown of collagen. It also increases the skin turnover rate. 

In other words, it increases the rate at which old skin cells are shed away and replaced with newer skin cells. Both of these features contribute to healthier, shinier, and more youthful skin.

An easy way to get the best of both worlds is to use a vitamin C serum during the daytime and a retinol-containing serum at night. 

It is best to use vitamin C during the day because it can help protect the skin from sun damage. 

On the other hand, retinol is best used at night. This is because it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. It is also broken down faster when exposed to sun rays.

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4) Moisturize

Water is important for every part of your body, and most especially for your skin. As you grow older, your skin naturally starts producing less sebum which could predispose you to dry skin. 

Dryness can contribute to the formation of fine lines, cracks, and dull-looking skin.

Be sure that your moisturizer has “water” as one of its first ingredients. Also, look out for moisture-binding ingredients (aka, humectants) such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine.

5) Use an eye cream

The eyes are often the first areas that show signs of aging because the skin around them is very delicate. Signs include fine lines, dark circles, and sagging skin. 

Eye creams can help address these issues by tightening, brightening, and hydrating the area beneath your eyes.

Go for eye creams that contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerine. Also, look out for anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C and retinol. 

If you are struggling with dark circles, AHAs can help. It is best to use lightweight formulations during the daytime and heavier creams at night.

6) Apply sunscreen

Damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV) is one of the main causes of skin aging. 

Harmful UV rays can lead to collagen breakdown and elastin damage, which, in turn, leads to the formation of wrinkles and a reduction in skin elasticity. 

The sun’s rays can also contribute to the development of hyperpigmentation and cause several other signs of aging.

With this in mind, using sunscreen is one of the best ways to combat aging. We are not just talking about slathering it on when you’re going out to the beach. 

Even if you plan on staying indoors all day, some of the sun’s rays can still penetrate through your windows and cause damage to your skin. This is why you should wear sunscreen every single day.

A study that involved 32 participants showed that daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen resulted in fading of hyperpigmented spots, better skin texture, and improvement of wrinkles within just three months. 

The study concluded that daily use of sunscreen may help reverse the signs of sun damage while protecting from future damage.

In general, it is best to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. 

Sunscreen is important during the daytime, but you should skip out on it when doing your nighttime routine.

Pro tip: If you dislike having many steps in your skincare routine, you can try using products that cover several steps. For example, use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen and/or active ingredients like vitamin C.

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Best anti-aging ingredients

Here is a quick summary of some of the best anti-aging ingredients to include in your skincare routine and their effects:

Alpha-hydroxy acidsChemical exfoliants that help get rid of dead cells, stimulate collagen production, and combat hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin CA powerful antioxidant that helps to stimulate collagen production and brighten skin.
RetinolA vitamin A derivative that slows down collagen breakdown and increases cell turnover rate.
Hyaluronic acidA substance that attracts water and helps to keep skin moisturized.
SPFBy far one of the most important anti-aging products. Sunscreen protects the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays.


The appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and hyperpigmentation are all normal parts of growing older. 

Even though you can’t completely stop aging, having a healthy skincare routine that includes power-packed ingredients like vitamin C and retinol is a great way to slow down the process.

Remember that consistency is key to seeing the effects, so be sure to use your routine daily. Also, take care of your body from the inside out by eating a balanced diet that includes good foods for the skin, getting enough rest, and drinking lots of water. 

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  1. Farage MA, Miller KW, Elsner P, Maibach HI. Characteristics of the Aging Skin. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2013.
  2. Randhawa M, Wang S, Leyden JJ, Cula GO, Pagnoni A, Southall MD. Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging. Dermatol Surg. 2016. 

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