Beauty Products to Help You Beat the Clock

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on October 25, 2022
4 min read

Anti-aging products can help slow some of the damaging effects of time on your skin -- and in some cases, even reverse them. If you have darker skin, talk to your doctor about the treatment options or variations most appropriate for your skin type and the conditions most likely to affect it. For darker skin, these conditions might include acne, light or dark spots, or razor bumps.  

Here are our experts' top 10 ways to keep looking timeless.

1. SPF with zinc

"Using SPF every day -- even if you're not outdoors -- is the best way to slow skin aging," says Leslie Baumann, MD, author of Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients.

While dermatologists are happy if you put on any sunscreen, they're partial to zinc as the best sun shield. "Zinc doesn't irritate sensitive skin and has the broadest-spectrum UVA protection," says Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California.

Ultraviolet A or UVA rays go deeper into the skin to cause DNA damage that leads to sagging skin and wrinkles, not to mention cancer. One of Baumann's favorite screens is EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, because the fine zinc particles don't streak or run into your eyes.

Dark skin doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen. Experts suggest SPF of at least 15 no matter what your skin color. Sun doesn’t burn darker skin as easily, but it can still burn it and also cause damage like dark spots, wrinkles, and cancer. 

2. Retinoids

These are "the No. 1 most studied and most proven anti-aging ingredient," Wu says. Research shows they boost your collagen, a protein that helps keep skin firm. They also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and prevent new ones.

"Everyone should be using a retinoid," Baumann says.

Prescription retinoids like tretinoin and adapalene are both experts' top picks. But you can also try over-the-counter options like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, Wu says.

In people with darker skin, retinoids work especially well in combination with benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. 

3. Vitamin C serum

"You should use vitamin C under sunscreen to protect from the sun that slips through your sunscreen," Baumann says.

But make sure you find an effective formula. "Look for 15% vitamin C, and make sure it's packaged in an airtight pump," Wu says. She and Baumann like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic.

4. Omega fatty acids

Omegas, specifically omega-9s, help improve the skin's ability to stay moist and defend against outside irritants.

"I love argan oil as a moisturizer," Baumann says. "It does not cause acne and is a great antioxidant." Find it in Shea Terra Organics Argan & Rose Complex, she says.

5. Lash treatments

"Both lashes and brows get thinner and paler as you get older, which makes your eyes look smaller and tired," Wu says.

One of the best ways to fatten up skimpy lashes is to use the prescription drug Latisse, Wu says. And you can fight breakage with coconut oil from the grocery store, she says. Just dab a thin coat on your lashes at night.

6. Niacinamide

Dermatologists praise the perks of this form of vitamin B3. "It increases skin hydration, prevents water loss, strengthens the skin barrier, and has skin-brightening properties," Wu says.

Niacinamide can help fade uneven pigments, like sun spots or acne scars. Wu likes Olay Regenerist Instant Fix Wrinkle Revolution Complex.

7. Antioxidant supplements

Not all skin treatments work on the surface. Dermatologists also suggest adding antioxidants to your diet.

"I am a big believer in antioxidants to prevent aging," Baumann says. "When you see the studies that show improvement of the skin's appearance, it's very intriguing."

She's impressed by GliSODin Advanced Anti-Aging Dermal Formula and Heliocare.

8. Hyaluronic acid fillers

To combat skin folds and jowls, Baumann injects Juvéderm Voluma, a lab-made form of hyaluronic acid.

"It lasts 2 years and is reversible -- I love it," she says.

Though products you put on your skin can't mimic the results of an injected treatment, Baumann says anti-agers containing saccharide can help temporarily plump and firm skin. She recommends Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream.

9. Alpha-hydroxy acids

These gentle acids exfoliate dull, flaky skin to reveal smoother skin. Dermatologists like AHAs because they also improve uneven skin pigmentation and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Plus, AHAs can help create fullness. Baumann is a fan of Aqua Glycolic Face Cream.

10. Botulinum toxin injections

This treatment "relaxes the muscles that cause crow's feet, frown lines, and forehead lines," Baumann says. "Preventing movement may prevent future lines."

The treatments work safely on all kinds of skin tones from light to dark. 

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