Anti-Aging Skincare Routine a Dermatologist Actually Follows to

Dermatologists spend their days diagnosing and treating their patients’ skin — but how do they care for their own complexions including anti-wrinkle, dark spot, age spot, acne scar, acne.? We asked, and they delivered.

The answer is yes, sometimes. It definitely helps to have access to treatments like lasers, glycolic acid peels, retinol cream (to treat likes of age spots, dark spots), and fillers and injectables available, but every dermatologist will tell you that determining — and sticking to — a core routine that caters to your skin type is crucial in order to maintain optimal skin health.

Anti-Aging Step 1: Morning and Night ~ Cleanser

pH Beautiful’s Ultimate AHA Cleanser Facial, $15  

Washing your face once isn’t enough. “Double-cleanse,” Engelman advises, also suggesting, “Stick with a gentle cleanser that will not strip your skin of natural oils and leave you more dehydrated than before.”   This product is essential requirement for anything involving acid/retinol, anti-wrinkle, dark spot, age spot, acne scar, acne treatments.

I love this AHA based cleanser, which has a soft, silky texture and amazing minty fragrance. It never dries me out and always removed my makeup effectively. I have combination skin, so when during the more humid months, I prefer something that foams up and leaves my skin super clean.  

Anti-Aging Step 2: Morning and Night ~ Toner

Biologique Recherche Lotion P 50 Original 1970, $101

Right after cleanser comes toner. “Toner is a necessary step for those who tend to have skin that is on the oily side, or if you are acne-prone,” Henry tells me. Engelman recommends something like Biologique Recherche P50 1970, which exfoliates and tones the skin with phenol and salicylic acid.

Anti-Aging Step 3: Morning ~ Serum

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, $85

Next up? Serum.

Darden says a vitamin C formula is best anti-aging ingredient. “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your skin from sun damage and free radicals,” she says. “I like to follow up with an oil-free sunscreen that hydrates but does not clog your pores.”

Sunday Riley’s has been my go-to serum during my daytime routine. It’s infused with 15% THD ascorbate, also known as vitamin C, and it’s designed to help even out and brighten your complexion.

Anti-Aging Step 4: Morning ~ Facial Oil

Herbivore Phoenix Cell Regenerating Facial Oil $88

If you have super-dry skin, consider applying a drop of this facial oil before you put on your moisturizer for the day. It helps your anti-aging efforts by rebuilding elasticity and firmness while keeping your skin hydrated all day long.

Anti-Aging Step 5: Morning ~ Moisturizer

Allies of Skin Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream, $89

Packed with probiotics and antioxidants, this anti-aging moisturizer is specifically designed to help with aging concerns. Aside from being effective, the texture is amazing: silky, smooth, and ultra light.

Anti-Aging Step 6: Morning ~ SPF

AmorePacific Natural Protector Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30, $65

Since the sun is the biggest culprit of premature aging, SPF is the most important step in an anti-aging skincare routine. “Sun exposure depletes the collagen in your skin and can cause issues with pigmentation,” Darden explains.

I’ve been using this one for years, and I never want to switch! It smells incredible, doesn’t make me feel or look greasy, and gets the job done. Of course, if chemical formulas aren’t your preference, there are other options.

“For those concerned about chemical sunscreens, look for products that do not contain oxybenzone,” Engelman suggests.  

Anti-Aging Step 3: Night (Weekly) ~ Face Mask

Elizabeth Arden Superstart Probiotic Boost Mask, $67

Personally, I prefer to do face masks on a quiet night in, though you can also do one in the morning after you’ve double-cleansed.

“Masks work to hydrate and strengthen the skin barrier,” Darden explains. “Full of peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, they support collagen production which can smooth line lines and wrinkles. I like Elizabeth Arden Probiotic Mask once a week.”  

Anti-Aging Step 4: Night ~ Retinol

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $105

Aside from sunscreen, Darden says, retinol is the most important step in an anti-aging routine. “Retinol works hard to prevent new wrinkles from forming, as well smooth out any fine lines that you may already have. It will also help to decrease pigmentation by cellular turnover,” she explains.

I apply this facial oil before I moisturize and definitely noticed a difference in my complexion and skin texture within three weeks of using it. It’s specifically formulated to trigger collagen and elastin production.  

Anti-Aging Step 5: Night ~ Serum

Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment $105

AHAs such as glycolic acid are great for exfoliations, says Engelman. While I do use this Drunk Elephant mask once a week and this AHA night serum daily, I also love this lactic acid option because it hydrates my skin while also brightening it. I use it every few nights on top of my Luna sleeping oil and under my moisturizer.

Anti-Aging Step 6: Night ~ Moisturizer

pH Beautiful, NightTime Royal Alpha Cream, $35

Ingredients such as peptides, hyaluronic acid and royal jelly are crucial, Engelman tells me, because they “reinforce the integrity of the skin.”

I swear by this cream, which the brand describes as being “like adding a shot of protein to your smoothie” because it’s so abundant in nutrients and active ingredients. The 2% glycolic acid formulated to trigger more collagen production, so if you want to use a moisturizer specifically designed to target aging concerns, this is it.

Anti-Aging Step 7: Night ~ Eye Treatment

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream $64

Eye cream is an absolute must, Engelman reminds us. “The skin around the eyes is 40% thinner than the rest of the face and therefore needs a little extra attention,” she says.“I will use an eye cream after this to brighten and hydrate the under eye area,” echoes Darden. “It’s important to keep your under-eyes hydrated because this is what helps to make wrinkles less noticeable and keep the skin firm and plump! If you need extra hydration, you can add a hyaluronic acid serum before your moisturizer.”  

Personally, I love Drunk Elephant’s antioxidant-rich cream because it instantly delivers hydration to my eye area. While most other eye creams I’ve used have made me feel puffier in the morning, this one doesn’t at all.

Anti-Aging the Weekly Extra ~ Derma Rolling

Beauty Bioscience GloPro & #174 Pack N’ Glo Essentials Set $279 

This skincare device has been getting a lot of attention lately. If you aren’t familiar with at-home derma-rolling, here’s a quick run-through. It’s basically a device that you roll over the surface of your skin to make sure your product is penetrating deep enough to actually work. Basically, the little needles and red light therapy open up your skin (which also puts sets it off into collagen production overdrive).

Though it’s effective for better product penetration, Henry warns against misuse. “Used incorrectly,” she says, “it can cause problems with pigmentation, especially with women of color.”

Anti-Aging the Daily Extra ~ Supplements

The Beauty Chef Antioxidant Inner Beauty Boost Mini $16  

Last but not least, adding a supplement to your morning or night routine can make a huge difference.

“Oral supplements can help to support the body’s natural production through being absorbed through the bloodstream, supporting underlying layers first,” explains Engelman. “The idea is that the hyaluronic acid is absorbed into the bloodstream, which reaches the foundational layers of the skin providing moisture and supporting skin and joint health. I like pills and powders (Reserveage Nutrition Collagen Replenish) because they are easy to incorporate no matter what your lifestyle.”