Sunspots, wrinkles, and fine lines are an inevitable part of getting older. “Every day of our lives, we’re making and breaking down collagen thanks to an enzyme in the skin called collagenase,” says New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. “But as we age, we break down more collagen than we make, and that’s one of the reasons we get wrinkles.”
Still, you can hold onto your smooth, supple skin far beyond your twenties. Anti-aging products work against wrinkles, even out the skin’s color and texture, unclog pores, and reduce the appearance of fine lines using ingredients like retinol, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and other exfoliants. When used in a night cream, they target your skin during its regeneration period and stimulate cell renewal, which in turn, encourages the production of collagen. Some are enriched with humectants like hyaluronic acid to reverse dryness so you can wake up with a dewy and more supple-looking complexion. And when used in a nighttime moisturizer or treatment, your skin has a better chance to repair itself while you sleep. Dr. Jaliman adds that active ingredients work particularly well at night because your body has the chance to shut down and rest: “You also don’t have makeup or sunscreen on, so you can put on an anti-aging product and it will absorb well.”
Ready to turn back time? Here are the best anti-aging night creams that actually work, according to skin experts.
Before you dive into your new night cream, there are a couple of things you should know. “Anti-aging creams with retinol and alpha hydroxy acids are typically used at night because they can make you sensitive to the sun,” explains Geeta Shah, MD, a Maryland dermatologist. Depending on the potency of the active ingredients in your chosen night cream, you may notice some irritation and dryness due to their strength, which is why it’s best to start out slow when introducing new products into your regimen and building up your skin’s tolerance gradually.
Below, explore the top-rated night creams that come recommended by the pros for every skin concern.
A favorite of New York City-based dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD, this all-in-one night cream encourages collagen and elastin production using powerful anti-aging ingredients. Among them is Estēe Lauder’s moringa extract, which kickstarts cell renewal and acts as a solution to fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also rich in amino acids and vitamin C, helping it address loss of firmness and brightness. The formula’s silky-soft texture instantly hydrates and gives the skin a bouncy glow.
“Beyond worth it,” shared one Ulta shopper. “Three generations in my family have used this (I am the third). At almost 50 years old, my skin is soft and youthful. Well worth it and the cream lasts a very long time. A small amount goes a long way!”
RoC’s Deep Wrinkle night cream contains retinol, one of the most common and effective anti-aging ingredients. “Retinol is great because it helps to normalize the skin turnover and prevent collagen breakdown,” says Dr. Shah. In addition to smoothing the appearance of wrinkles and unwanted texture, this budget-friendly formula blankets the skin in hydrating squalane and antioxidant-rich vitamin E to ensure lasting hydration. According to the brand, you can expect to see a noticeable boost in firmness in as little as 12 weeks of consistent usage.
“I’m a middle-aged female and can definitely see a decrease in lines on my forehead, around my eyes, and sides of my mouth,” shared one Amazon shopper. “Someone I hadn’t seen in 10 years said I looked exactly the same, hadn’t aged at all!”
Not every night cream is made equally, according to Dr. Jailman. “You want to pick a product that’s compatible with your skin type,” she advises. “If you tend to have oily skin, pick an anti-aging serum instead of a thick moisturizer.” This product from Aveeno is infused with vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps repair free radical damage to the skin’s elastic tissue. It’s also an anti-aging serum, which is lighter than other cream-based treatments and is less likely to clog pores or contribute to any excess oiliness. It’s powered by the brand’s Blackberry complex to stimulate collagen production and improve the firmness of your skin, and quenches dry skin with glycerin and other hydrating ingredients.
“I take pride in the compliments I get for being 63 and having the skin of a baby,” one reviewer mentioned. “This product, Aveeno Absolutely Ageless, is absolutely perfect. It smells beautiful, goes on smoothly and the effect is almost immediate. Your skin will look plumper and fine lines are gone. I love it.” Another added, “This light serum goes on smoothly and is absorbed quickly. Not greasy but you can feel it working as soon as you put it on.”
Boost collagen production, improve elastin, and promote cellular turnover with this concentrated cream that also improves tone and hydrates. New York-based dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD) Rachel Nazarian, MD, loves it for its vitamin C-rich formula and points out that it helps even out discoloration and skin pigmentation. She also says it’s suitable for dry and sensitive skin types thanks to ingredients like rhamnose, which is a gentler alternative to retinol, and Vichy’s volcanic water, which keeps the skin hydrated for up to 24 hours.
“This stuff is amazing,” raved one customer. “It has smoothed out and brightened my skin.” Another reviewer shared, “After three weeks, I can’t see [my] crow’s feet anymore and the lines on my forehead are going away.”
This velvety night cream and mask is a favorite of New York-based dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD. It has hyaluronic acid, which drives in moisture, and thermal water to diffuse inflammation. Plus, it absorbs fully into the skin and won’t leave your face sticky or your pillow greasy. Tip: Apply one to three times weekly by massaging onto your face and neck in an upward motion.
“This night cream is fantastic,” one reviewer said. “I can barely feel the cream on my skin but it sure does what it says. After just a few days, my skin did not feel as dry and tense anymore. Hyaluronic Acid is a miracle cure for skin and here, it comes in the smoothest night cream I have ever used.”
Dry skin requires an anti-aging night cream that not only restores hydration but also strengthens the skin barrier, which is where the Neocutis Bio Cream Firm Riche cream comes into play. “This rich emollient cream contains growth factors, which help to plump the skin and provide cells with the necessary ingredients to grow into better, healthier more robust cells,” says Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology. Hyaluronic acid is another key ingredient and it helps give your skin a supple, dewy glow. Use it on your face, neck, and decollete.
“I love the moisture provided by this product,” one Dermstore shopper wrote. “And, at my age, extra firmness can’t hurt!” Another added, “If you are thinking about adding this Neocutis cream to your regimen, by all means, go ahead and make the purchase. You will not be disappointed. Yes, it’s pricey, but, with this particular product, you get what you pay for! Your skin will thank you.”
For many, anti-aging ingredients can improve acne in addition to reducing wrinkles and unwanted texture. With the Alastin Ultra Light Moisturizer, skin is rejuvenated using the brand’s collagen-boosting TriHex technology. It also replenishes moisture, strengthens the skin barrier, and calms irritation, making it great for healing breakouts and preventing new pimples from forming. “This ultra-light moisturizer will not clog your pores and adds hydration without feeling oily or sticky,” Dr. Evans shares.
One reviewer shared, “I have dry, acne-prone skin. The product was very lightweight, absorbed quickly, and didn’t leave a greasy residue. Great for morning wear and layering with other products but I still use Ultra Nourish at night for a little extra hydration boost.”
“For sensitive skin, a ceramide cream such as the SkinMedica TNS Treatment Cream is both soothing and contains growth factors for anti-aging,” says Dr. Evans. This effective ingredient hydrates the skin while strengthening the moisture barrier, helping stressed-out and irritated complexions achieve balance and prevent future dryness. This dermatologist-approved formula also gently stimulates cell renewal without causing sensitivities, helping you achieve firmer and brighter skin.
“Great face cream for people with sensitive skin,” according to one Amazon reviewer. “My skin sometimes gets red after applying face cream. Not with this stuff. It’s great!” Another added, “It helps to calm down inflammation. Hope I never have to be without it. It does not contain any unnecessary fragrances.”
If your skin is lacking in suppleness and dewiness, Dr. Evans recommends this hyaluronic acid-rich cream from SkinMedica. “Hyaluronic acid is what makes our cheeks appear plump and soft as it travels between our collagen bundles giving the look of youth to your skin,” she explains. As for the formula’s effectiveness, Dr. Evans continues, “It has five forms of hyaluronic acid with five different molecular weights to absorb at different levels of the epidermis. This helps to add plumpness to the cells by mimicking our natural hyaluronic acid of the skin.” It’s also rich in antioxidants, which work to reverse damage caused by the sun and other environmental stressors. The brand’s peptide complex smooths texture and decreases the appearance of wrinkles.
“Love this product,” raved a customer. “It’s like giving yourself a mini facial lift. It works great for lessening the aging facial lines and sag.” Another shopper noted, “I really notice a difference in the quality of my skin when I use it. My makeup looks better, my skin looks brighter and fuller.”
“It specifically targets changes in the appearance of skin resulting from aging, hormonal changes, and cumulative sun exposure,” Los Angeles-based celebrity esthetician Sharlena Hassani says of the innovative peptide-infused night cream. She is also a fan of the formula for its moisturizing properties, which is courtesy of a hydrating trio consisting of hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and shea butter. Reviewers shared that it also helped reverse dullness, reduce the appearance of dark spots, and smooth textured skin.
“A friend of mine recommended this product to me and I was so glad she did,” shared one Dermstore shopper. “[I] love my skin after using this product. [It] looks younger, healthy, and radiant. I give it five stars.”
Peptides are known to help stimulate collagen production when featured in skincare products, which is why they’re great for reducing wrinkles and improving overall firmness and elasticity. They’re also the all-star ingredient in the Jan Marini Age Intervention Peptide Extreme Lotion, a hydrating, redness-calming, and brightness-boosting moisturizer. “A concentrated blend of four unique peptides are combined with antioxidants and soothing agents including coenzyme Q10, green tea, red tea, grape seed, and pomegranate extracts to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone and soothe red or irritated skin,” Hassani says. “This lightweight moisturizing lotion is perfect for daily use or immediately post-procedure to help soothe skin and reduce the visible signs of aging.”
“I can definitely tell a difference in my skin’s appearance since using this product,” one reviewer shared. “My skin is more soft, and hydrated, and less irritated since using Age Intervention Peptide. I can especially tell a difference in my neck area.”