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The Best Anti-Aging Night Creams, According to Dermatologists

The Skin Science Behind Night Creams

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The term "beauty sleep" gets thrown around all the time, but, turns out, it's a very real thing. While you sleep, your skin kicks into high gear, undergoing a long list of natural processes to help it repair and regenerate. Plus, "while you sleep, cortisol is at its lowest and anti­-inflammatory molecules like beta­ endorphins and growth hormones are at their highest, so that's when skin heals," says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a psych-derm in New York City. As a reminder, low levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) are a very good thing for your skin, since the hormone does everything from increase inflammation to up the likelihood of breakouts. So pull a few all-nighters or super-early mornings in a row, and you'll quickly see this lack of sleep show up on your face. The best anti-aging products will help prevent those telltale signs.

Along with striving for those oh so coveted eight hours every night, you can give your complexion a little extra help by using a night cream. Since your skin is already hard at work undoing the day's damage, this is the perfect time for it to utilize the active ingredients in an anti-aging night cream, ultimately making the product even more effective.

Here, the best anti-aging cream options that will help you achieve the skin of your dreams. (Get it?)

Photo: MOMO Stock / Shutterstock.com

Differin Adapalene Gel

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What do top anti-aging creams have in common? Retinoids, one of the tried-and-true ingredients worth incorporating into your p.m. routine (they can be rendered inactive by the sun, making it important to reserve them for the overnight hours). This treatment marks the first time adapalene, a type of retinoid previously available by prescription only, has been available OTC. Its collagen-boosting benefits make it choice for smoothing wrinkles, while its skin-clearing benefits make it a good choice for clearing pimples. "It's highly effective in keeping pores open and minimizing breakouts, and is better tolerated than most retinoids," points out Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

buy it, $13

Photo: Target

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Night Cream

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"All day long our skin is exposed to a constant barrage of sun, free radicals, pollution, and more," says Boston-based dermatologist Emmy Graber, M.D. "The overnight hours are when it finally gets a reprieve." So while you can definitely use antioxidants (along with sunscreen) in the a.m. as added protection from all of these damaging environmental factors, you can also make the most of this bedtime reprieve by using an antioxidant-rich night cream. In this formula, the lotus plant packs a powerful antioxidant punch (also helping to hydrate and improve radiance). The whipped consistency is a nice change from many other night creams, which can often be thick and heavy.

Related: Is the Air You Breathe Your Skin's Biggest Enemy?

buy it, $48

Photo: Sephora

Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon

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The ingredients in this cream optimize your skin's natural recovery processes, helping to brighten and hydrate your complexion in as little as one night. But it doesn't stop there: This smarty pants skin-saver also contains motion-activated lavender essential oil. It releases it as you toss and turn, helping you relax and fall asleep.

buy it, $80

Photo: Ulta

Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream

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Peptides are the star of the show in many of the best anti-aging products. This one has an amino-peptide complex, that penetrates 10 layers deep to help skin cells. "Peptides act as signaling mechanisms that tell the body to produce more collagen," says Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D., a dermatologist based in New York City. (As a reminder, collagen is the protein responsible for strong, firm, youthful skin, so more collagen equals fewer wrinkles. But this cream doesn't stop there; it also gently exfoliates and hydrates.

buy it, $30

Photo: Ulta

Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retrin-ALT Sleeping Crème

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Retinoids recently experienced some stiff competition from bakuchiol. The plant-based ingredient was demonstrated to have antioxidant properties similar to those of retinol, which is what prompted scientists to investigate how it would compare, explains cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski. What they discovered was that the two have very similar anti-aging effects, but bakuchiol doesn't come with the potentially irritating side effects that are an issue with many retinoids. This treatment is the best anti-aging face cream with bakuchiol. It hydrates, fights fine lines and wrinkles, and helps fade spots and discoloration, too.

buy it, $55

Photo: Sephora

Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum

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There are three different types of acids in this nighttime treatment: alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, and flower acids. The result? The perfect combination of exfoliating, pore-reducing, and skin-clarifying benefits. The addition of hyaluronic acid and honey ensure your complexion never feels stripped, just soft and smooth. Use it two to three times per week, gradually increasing the frequency.

Related: Why You Should Add Lactic, Citric, and Other Acids to Your Skin-Care Regimen

buy it, $58

Photo: Sephora

Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen

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Want to wake up to supple and radiant skin? This cushiony cream can do the trick in just one night (and results only get better with time). Credit a (vegan, plant-based) collagen that smooths skin, and alguronic acid, the brand's proprietary ingredient, that diminishes the look of lines. The buttery texture makes it feel extra lush and hydrating.

Buy It, $98

Photo: Sephora

Glamglow Good in Bed

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Say hi to the best anti-aging moisturizer. Exfoliating alpha and beta hydroxy acids meet nourishing passionfruit extract in this dual-purpose cream. At work in the moisturizing department? Hyaluronic acid. "Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it draws water to the skin," says Emily Arch, M.D., a dermatologist at Dermatology + Aesthetics in Chicago. It then holds onto that moisture instantly—yes, the effects are immediate—making skin look and feel more hydrated and plump. Gentle enough to use every night, it works equally well on normal, dry, oily, or combination skin types (since hyaluronic acid is deeply hydrating yet still lightweight enough that it won't feel greasy).

Buy It, $54

Photo: Sephora

RoC Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

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Dermatologists love the line-up of effective (and bargain-friendly) RoC retinol products; this cream is no exception. Oil-free and noncomedogenic, it's easily one of the best anti-aging products. Start by using it every other night (since retinol is a potent ingredient). If your skin is on the sensitive side, mixing any retinoid with a dollop of a plain moisturizer can also help cut down on irritation, suggests Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.

buy it, $25

Photo: Ulta

SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry

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Those with super-dry, can-never-get-enough-hydration type skin will appreciate this heavy-hitting hydrator. First, a 10 percent hydroxy acid gently exfoliates, then dimethicone and vitamin E go to work hydrating, while aloe and chamomile soothe. Top tip: Don't forget to slather it down your neck and chest, too.

 

Related: The Anti-Aging Benefits of Peptides In Your Skin-Care Products

buy it, $61

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MyChelle Remarkable Retinal Night Cream

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You'll sleep tight knowing this night cream from MyChelle is not only one of the best aging cream options, but also vegan and cruelty-free. Then, in the morning, you'll wake up with tight skin thanks to the effects of this powerful anti-aging skin-care product. Vitamin A and peptides work together to improve skin's firmness, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and hydrate and restore parched skin.

Want more of the best anti-aging products? Here are the 11 best anti-aging serums, according to dermatologists.

Buy It, $43

Photo: MyChelle

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