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Which anti-aging serum is best?

Serums are a popular component of skin care routines. Unlike creams and moisturizers, serums are lightweight and have a liquid consistency that absorbs quickly into the skin. Because of their liquid texture, serums leave skin feeling soft and moisturized, but not greasy. They also pack a higher concentration of ingredients than other skin care products for a more potent potion.

Anti-aging serums in particular offer many benefits to aging and mature skin. The best is the Obagi Professional-C Serum, which contains 20% vitamin C.

What to know before you buy an anti-aging serum

Benefits of anti-aging serums

  • Improved skin texture: Many anti-aging serums even skin texture, often by stimulating cell turnover. If your skin is dull, dry, or rough, a serum containing certain acids (such as alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acid) works to gently exfoliate the skin.
  • Diminished lines and wrinkles: An anti-aging serum wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t combat fine lines and wrinkles. Because serums deeply penetrate skin thanks to their high rate of absorption, they’re more adept at dealing with these issues. Serums containing peptides and retinol smooth or plump skin, effectively diminishing lines. 
  • Skin brightening: For hyperpigmentation, whether caused by aging or sun exposure, many anti-aging serums contain ingredients to brighten the complexion or even out blotchy skin tone. Vitamin C is the most popular ingredient found in these serums to give you a healthy glow.
  • Cell nourishment: Although serums may not appear to be as moisturizing as a thick night cream, they can offer serious hydration without being too thick or oily. No matter your skin type, having well-hydrated skin is essential to combat signs of aging.


Choose an anti-aging serum with one or more of these ingredients that target your needs:

  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as vitamins E and C are widely used in anti-aging serums to even skin tone and nourish the skin.
  • Retinol: Another hugely popular ingredient, this derivative of vitamin A has long been used by dermatologists to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and increase cell turnover for more radiant-looking skin.
  • Peptides: These amino acid compounds are the building blocks of collagen, the protein responsible for your skin’s elasticity and structure. Serums containing peptides are thought to stimulate collagen production.
  • Ceramides: These lipids (fats) help skin retain moisture and act as a protective barrier against pollution. They help skin appear moist, soft and supple.
  • Hyaluronic acid: Not a scary acid that makes your skin peel, hyaluronic acid actually helps your skin naturally retain moisture. It keeps your skin plump and moisturized, which helps diminish fine lines.
  • Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, this multipurpose skin care ingredient improves your skin’s elasticity, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles, reduces the size of enlarged pores, strengthens weak skin, and combats uneven skin tone as well as dullness.
  • Plant extracts: Many serums and skin care products are turning to natural compounds such as botanical extracts as an alternative to synthetic ingredients. For example, Kojic acid is derived from a mushroom and works to brighten skin and minimize the appearance of age spots.

How much you can expect to spend on an anti-aging serum

Expect to pay between $20 to upward of $75. For a high-performance serum that targets multiple issues, expect to shell out $50-$75.

Anti-aging serum FAQ

Can anti-aging serums address my acne, as well?

A. Yes. Just because you have maturing skin doesn’t mean you don’t get the occasional breakout. If you’ve got acne-prone skin, look for a serum containing salicylic acid, which controls breakouts and treats pimples.

Which is better with anti-aging serums, a dropper or a pump dispenser?

A. This is a matter of preference. Droppers can be a bit messier, but pump dispensers tend to clog or break. Still, either is better than no applicator.

What’s the best anti-aging serum to buy?

Top anti-aging serum

Obagi Professional-C Serum

Obagi Professional-C Serum

What you need to know: This luxury lightweight serum delivers a youthful, radiant complexion.

What you’ll love: It’s formulated to brighten skin and even out skin tone. It also moisturizes and makes skin appears smoother. The formula provides a generous amount of vitamin C.

What you should consider: The watery consistency can be messy to apply and the price is on the high side. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top anti-aging serum for the money

Best LOreal Paris Revitalift 1.5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

What you need to know: Not only is this serum affordable, it’s effective and made by a popular beauty brand. 

What you’ll love: It’s made with pure, powerful hyaluronic acid that plumps and hydrates skin. The moisturizing effect minimizes the appearance of fine lines. The price is surprisingly affordable. 

What you should consider: Rarely, some users with sensitive skin experience irritation after use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

Best Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate Anti-Aging Serum

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate Anti-Aging Serum

What you need to know: Shiseido’s luxurious serum is made with quality ingredients that work well for most skin types and make it worth the investment. 

What you’ll love: It’s formulated with antioxidants and plant extracts that nourish, plump and hydrate skin. After several days of use, a beautiful glow is likely to appear. 

What you should consider: It’s expensive. Those who frequently get blemishes may experience breakouts. 

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora, Amazon and Ulta Beauty

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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