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You’re severely mistaken if you think that you have to pay a ton to deal with aging skin. There are some amazing drugstore anti-aging serums that work just as well as their high-end counterparts, if not better. And we’ve found them all! These drugstore serums will help you transform your skin with the help of different key ingredients like retinol, antioxidants, and exfoliants.
When we talk about anti-aging, we refer to ingredients that prevent the formation of signs of aging as well as treat the existing ones. This can be done in several ways depending on your skin type.
There’s no cookie-cutter approach to an anti-aging skincare routine. And you shouldn’t go ahead and grab the first retinol serum without paying attention to your skin. To help you find the best serum for your concerns, here are a couple of pointers to guide you.
If you have very dry skin, your primary focus should be repairing the skin barrier. This will prevent dehydration and keep that protective layer intact so that your skin can protect itself against wrinkle-causing elements.
Slathering your face with retinol day and night will not work until you do something about your compromised skin barrier. To give another example, if your skin is prone to pigmentation, even a simple habit of daily sunscreen use can qualify your routine as an anti-aging one.
If you don’t do that, don’t waste your money on vitamin C serums to help you with anti-aging. The point is that anti-aging is not about bathing in retinol. It’s about what your skin needs to maintain its health and what it needs to improve its health. And for that, here are the best drugstore anti-aging serums.
The Best Drugstore Anti-Aging Serums
Whether you’re looking for an affordable retinol serum or a budget-friendly antioxidant serum, find below the best drugstore anti-aging serums.
1. La Roche Posay Retinol B3 Pure Retinol Serum
It rarely gets any more anti-aging than vitamin A. Retinol is the golden child of anti-aging skincare ingredients. It helps with adult acne, scarring, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, and textured skin. And this drugstore serum is perfect for targeting all of those!
It has retinol besides sustained-release retinol. The sustained release makes the serum work longer. It also makes the formula gentler by letting the skin adjust to retinol. The serum also contains niacinamide to support the skin barrier as well as to provide anti-inflammatory benefits. The oil-free formula is suitable for sensitive skin as well.
Key Ingredients: Retinol, niacinamide. Key Benefits: Reduces lines and wrinkles, supports the skin barrier. Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Oil-free, non-comedogenic, contains fragrance.
Quick Tip: You can try using La Roche Posay’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum (or any other hyaluronic acid serum) before applying this retinol serum. It helps buffer retinol and works great when your skin is prone to dryness.
2. Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum
Roc offers one of the most effective and affordable drugstore anti-aging serums. This award-winning formula has retinol to completely renew the skin by accelerating skin turnover. The serum helps with scarring, textured skin, and deep-set wrinkles.
And it’s enhanced with several minerals to support the skin and avoid irritation. For a hands-on anti-aging approach, add this serum into your skincare routine. Use regularly and consistently to reverse wrinkles and fade dark spots.
Key Ingredients: Retinol. Key Benefits: Stimulates collagen production, Reduces lines and deep-set wrinkles. Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Non-comedogenic, contains fragrance.
3. Pixi Collagen & Retinol Serum
With the help of retinol and skin-repairing collagen, the serum rejuvenates the skin without compromising its barrier. Collagen supports the skin barrier function and helps with the visibility of wrinkles. Additionally, the serum’s infused with skin-soothing chamomile extract to help with irritation and redness.
Plus, it has vitamins C and E to guard the skin against free radical damage. The serum combats signs of aging with both retinol and nourishing antioxidants, making it one of the best drugstore anti-aging serums for all skin types.
Key Ingredients: Retinol, collagen. Key Benefits: Improves skin texture, plumps up fine lines. Skin Type: All. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Cruelty-free, scented.
4. Loreal 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum
This one is perfect for normal, combination, and oily skin types who could use some exfoliation to smooth out the skin texture. With glycolic acid’s incredible ability to clear up the skin, the serum cleans out pores, eliminates blackheads, and gets rid of dead skin cells. This helps a lot with flaky, dull, rough, and congested skin.
By gently and consistently exfoliating the skin, the glycolic acid serum softens the look of fine lines and fades away dark spots. Plus, chemical exfoliation helps the skin better absorb your skincare products. It means that your other serums and creams will work better for your skin.
Key Ingredients: 10% Glycolic acid. Key Benefits: Exfoliates, brightens, softens fine lines. Skin Type: All except for very sensitive skin. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free, oil-free.
5. The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA
Well, when retinol or exfoliants are too sensitizing for your skin, you can always go for peptides to iron out wrinkles. Signal peptides trick the skin into producing collagen and elastin. And they’re not irritating as other active ingredients may be.
And this anti-aging serum is the best affordable peptide serum on the market. It packs a blend of signal peptides to soften wrinkles and hyaluronic acid to plump up the skin.
Key Ingredients: Peptides. Key Benefits: Stimulates collagen production without irritation, instantly plumps skin. Skin Type: All. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan.
Quick Tip: I love layering a nice moisturizer on top of this to kind of lock all that hydration in. Do that if you want long-lasting moisture and if you have dehydration lines.
6. Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum
This one is going to be your new favorite serum to add to your evening skincare routine. With retinol, collagen-boosting peptides, and skin-restoring niacinamide, the night serum addresses all age-related concerns.
From skin elasticity to deep-set wrinkles and anything in between, the serum gives you a night-long treatment to help you wake up to youthful skin. By retexturizing the skin with retinol and stimulating it for collagen formation, the serum aims to resurface a healthier layer that’s smoother and much more radiant. All you need is 3 drops!
Key Ingredients: Retinol, niacinamide, peptides. Key Benefits: Promotes cell turnover, evens skin tone. Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination, oily. Size: 1.3 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free.
RELATED: The Best Products For Uneven Skin Texture
7. Honest Beauty Sleep Resurfacing Serum
For textured skin, enlarged pores, and dark spots, you can use a multi-acid exfoliating serum like this one to smooth things out. It has a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic, lactic, and tartaric acids. With gentle exfoliation, the serum gets rid of dead skin cells and hyperpigmentation and just polishes the complexion.
It hydrates with hyaluronic acid to fill in wrinkles and fine lines. And it has soothing aloe, chamomile, and anti-inflammatory niacinamide to care for the skin. The vegan and clean formula is a simple and effective anti-aging serum to clear up the skin and brighten the complexion without breaking the bank.
Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid. Key Benefits: Exfoliates, gets rid of surface discolorations, boosts hydration. Skin Type: All. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Cruelty-free.
Quick Tip: If you have dull or lackluster skin, use this serum at night and use a vitamin C serum in your morning routine. Pairing exfoliants with brightening vitamin C will give you glowing skin in no time.
8. Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum
It can be tricky to try to get rid of wrinkles with retinol when you have dry skin. As retinol can cause further dehydration, your dedication to retinol will be tested along the way. However, with an affordable and gentle serum like this one, you can minimize the drying effects of retinol.
Because it has some of the most effective ingredients to restore the skin barrier. It has hyaluronic acid to increase hydration and ceramides to prevent dehydration. Plus, it has niacinamide to calm the skin as well as support its barrier function. But the best part of this serum is the delivery method.
We talked about encapsulated retinol before. Retinol is released into the skin slowly and gradually to minimize the side effects. Gently retexturizing the skin and nourishing it all the while, the anti-aging serum diminishes wrinkles and lines, making it suitable for all skin types.
Key Ingredients: Encapsulated retinol, ceramides, niacinamide. Key Benefits: Softens skin texture, minimizes wrinkles. Skin Type: All skin types including sensitive. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, derm favorite.
9. Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum
To mix things up a bit, here’s a retinol serum that also contains bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is commonly known as vegan retinol or nature’s retinol. It’s a plant extract that works just like retinol but doesn’t come with side effects. And this serum has an excellent formulation to help you get all the anti-wrinkle benefits without irritation.
It has encapsulated retinol paired with bakuchiol to speed up collagen formation. That way, the serum doesn’t cause redness, itchiness, or sensitivity. It’s actually made for beginner retinol users. It also packs botanical extracts to avoid dehydration. It’s much more affordable than mainstream retinol products and is one of the best clean anti-aging serums you can find at the drugstore.
Key Ingredients: Encapsulated retinol 0.03%, bakuchiol 0.05%. Key Benefits: Gently prompts skin turnover, reveals smoother skin without peeling. Skin Type: All skin types including sensitive. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free.
10. Derma E Anti-Aging Regenerative Serum
This one has all the goodies you want in your serum. It has glycolic acid to exfoliate and renew the skin. It has vitamins A (retinol) and E to reverse free radical damage and protect the skin against its formation. And it has the potent antioxidant green tea to amplify the effects.
The polyphenols in green tea help fade dark spots, soften lines, and improve skin texture. Plus, it has vitamin B5 to hydrate the skin and soothe it all the while, making it an effective and affordable drugstore anti-aging serum to tackle wrinkles.
Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, bakuchiol, retinol, vitamin E. Key Benefits: Exfoliates, reduces hyperpigmentation, increases collagen production. Skin Type: All except for very sensitive skin. Size: 2 oz. Good To Know: Low price per ounce, vegan, cruelty-free, contains fragrance.
11. Avene A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum
As we’ve established, retinol or exfoliants aren’t the only anti-aging ingredients in your anti-aging serum. Antioxidants are equally effective in preventing wrinkles and reversing skin damage. And this is the best drugstore anti-aging serum made with antioxidants. It’s a bit pricier than average drugstore anti-aging serums but it catches a wide net, so to speak. Because it’s practically suitable for every skin type and helps with major signs of aging.
It’s made with antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E. And it has a light, hydrating, oil-free base made with mineral-rich thermal water and hyaluronic acid for instant plumping benefits. It repairs sun damage and prevents free radicals from causing further damage. You can target signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots without worrying about irritation.
Related: Full Review of Avene A-Oxitive Antioxidant Serum
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E. Key Benefits: Neutralizes free radicals, hydrates, minimizes wrinkles. Skin Type: All skin types. Size: 1 oz. Good To Know: Oil-free, contains fragrance, vegan.
So these are some of the best drugstore anti-aging serums to prevent the formation of premature wrinkles and minimize the existing ones. Again, it’ll all be for nothing if you don’t protect your skin by wearing sunscreen regularly! If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, here are things to keep in mind when choosing one.
How To Choose a Drugstore Anti-Aging Serum
Look For Anti-Aging Ingredients
Look for anti-aging ingredients such as retinol and antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea. Also, look for exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid. These are the most effective ingredients that help with signs of aging like hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.
Keep Your Skin Type in Mind
When choosing an anti-aging serum, you still need to choose depending on your skin type. Pay attention and see if the serum is comedogenic or not as it can cause acne on oily, blemish-prone skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose a gentle serum formulated with low-strength active ingredients without potential irritants such as alcohol or fragrance.
Go For Multi-Purpose Formulas
Drugstore anti-aging serums that contain a blend of active ingredients or ones that come with additional ingredients will give you the most bang for your buck. These types of rich serums can help you address several skin issues with one formula. The more the merrier! So look for additional ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides in your serum.
Read Next: How to Use Retinol for Best Results