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Gentle Anti-Aging Skincare Ingredients for Every Skin Type

The best anti-aging skincare ingredients for everyone

I get asked about anti-aging skin care a lot. What products should you use? What ingredients to look for in a product? Is this product working, my skin isn’t irritated? While I’m not a dermatologist, I have done a lot of reading and I have my own ideas about what you should be using to fight the signs of aging.

One of my biggest complaints about anti-aging skin care is that many people seem to treat it like Jane Fonda and her workout. No pain, no gain. Right? No, not really.

I think that your goal with skin care should be healthy skin that looks great. Skin care shouldn’t burn or make your skin irritated. Your goal shouldn’t be redness. Using such harsh products on your skin to fight aging is counterproductive, that inflammation will actually accelerate aging. The problem is that the “gold standard” of anti-aging skin care ingredients are retinoids, which tend to be irritating and make your skin more sensitive to the sun. The problem is even worse if your skin is sensitive or you have rosacea.

One of my biggest recommendations for anti-aging skin care is limiting irritating skin care products to 2-3 times a week or as your skin can handle them. That leaves 4 or 5 nights a week that you’ll want to use something on your skin, and luckily there are a lot of great active ingredients that have anti-aging benefits but are gentle enough to use every night on even the most sensitive skin!


Peptides are chains of amino acids, used for many things such as signaling and triggering cells to follow commands. Peptides have many different uses, and in skin care. Some trigger cells to increase production of collagen and elastin, reduce muscle contractions or help decrease inflammation. Many peptides have been shown in labs to have anti-aging effects, the trick is finding peptides that have been found to penetrate down into the skin and have effects in skin.

Look for: Skin ingredients with Peptide in their name


Free oxygen radicals are created in the skin with exposure to pollution, smoke, sunlight. Basically, life. Those free radicals hang out in the skin and damage cell membranes, proteins, collagen, elastin and even DNA. Anti-oxidants work to neutralize the free radicals, therefore preventing further damage. Note that anti-oxidant activity only prevents further damage, it doesn’t work to fix any of the damage that has already been done. Not all anti-oxidants are created equal in terms of strength, and many such as L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) have additional properties that are helpful in anti-aging.

Look for: Resveratrol, White Tea, Green Tea, Algae, almost any botanical extract

Growth Factors

As skin ages, its ability to regenerate itself and fight ongoing damage diminishes. Growth factors are produced by skin cells to regulate activities such as cell turnover, collagen and elastin production, and inflammation. Depending upon the specific growth factors used in a product, they may increase collagen or elastin production, have anti-inflammatory effects, or even decrease further aging.

Look for: Products labeled to contain growth factors or EGF

Ultra Moisturizers

Have you ever taken a close look at your skin after a long flight? Dehydration can have immediate effects on your skin, making you look sallow, and any fine lines look much larger. Hydrating your skin has immediate anti-aging effects! Moisture will plump the outer layers of skin cells, making fine lines disappear.

Look for: Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramides, Squalene

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment


  1. 11.2.18
    Jan Kelley said:

    Great post. Thank you.

  2. 11.11.18
    Nancy said:

    I need all of these products. What’s your opinion on using multiple products daily?

    • 11.11.18
      15mins said:

      You can often find them in combination together in 1 or 2 products.

      • 11.16.18
        Nancy said:

        Can you make any recommendations? I’ve been searching and totally overwhelmed. Growth factor, options confusing.

        • 11.17.18
          15mins said:

          So all of the night creams I mentioned in the other post will do the peptides, anti-oxidants and moisturizers. The tricky one is the growth factors, those are hard to find. My favorite is the one a bunch of my dermatology friends, in the SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex. It is pricy but worth it, and that bottle lasts me almost 6 months.

          • 11.24.18
            Nancy said:

            So went to your night cream post and tried Olay Regenerist. Broke out the next day! Seriously, need moisturizer…how do I get around breaking out!!!! Also ordered the SkinMedica.

          • 11.24.18
            15mins said:

            Oh no!! I haven’t broken out with that one at all.

          • 6.5.19
            Trang Dao said:

            Hello dr,

            Do you know if the skinmedica recovery complex is safe for breastfeeding and can be used under eyes?

            Is salicylic acid not safe for breastfeeding?

            Thank you!

          • 6.5.19
            15mins said: