Making smart consumer decisions can help delay skin's aging process—and we're determined to make the right ones about natural choices for wrinkle prevention.
Many of the best oils for wrinkles come from Mother Nature, thanks to fatty acids and antioxidants that help to combat inflammation and free radical damage, which contribute to wrinkles. This has made anti-aging oils one of the fastest-growing skincare categories on the market. From jojoba to rosehip, these oils are rich in powerful hydrating ingredients that contribute to healthy-looking skin.
But not all oils are created equal. They come in different price points, may have added ingredients such as vitamins, or they're designed for a specific skin type. To help you select the best options for your skin, we consulted with our community of dermatologists to find out what they actually use on their own skin. Check out our roundup of the 14 best anti-aging oils available, and remember their primary piece of advice: When applying an oil for wrinkles, a little goes a long way.
The magic ingredient is retinoid when it comes to effective anti-aging oils, says Beverly Hills dermatologist Jennifer Herrmann, MD, at Moy Fincher Chipps Dermatology. Retinoids promote collagen production, which contributes to the skin's elasticity and prevents wrinkles and dark spots.
However, since retinoids can cause irritation and redness, Herrmann cautions they're not ideal for mature skin, which tends to be dry. She recommends REN Clean Skincare Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil as “a rich oil packed with natural vitamin A, provitamin A and retinoid analogue that all work to give an anti-aging retinoid effect,” she says. Plus, it has a moisturizing oil base full of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
Antioxidants are another key ingredient category to look for in anti-aging oils, says Herrmann. “These molecules also neutralize damaging free radicals that contribute to the aging process.” She highly recommends Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil because it’s swimming with antioxidants. The treatment also contains 100% unrefined marula oil, which includes omega-6 and omega-9—fatty acids that work as anti-inflammatories.
If you want something versatile that's good for any skin type, Herrmann suggests Mara Universal Face Oil. This oil contains sea plants and superfood plant oils proven to replenish and hydrate tired skin. “The algae-plankton blend plumps the skin while fighting free radicals and improving the skin's tone, texture, and firmness,” she says. Plant oils from moringa, bilberry, baobab, and kalahari melon soak your complexion with phytonutrients (plant substances that helps thwart disease), vitamins, and minerals, giving you glow while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
If your skin is acne-prone, Herrmann cautions against constantly changing oils. Instead, she recommends Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, which is full of natural ingredients that soothe troublesome skin.
“Its salicylic acid helps exfoliate clogged pores gently while its tea tree oil is an anti-inflammatory,” she says. “Licorice and hexylresorcinol also target discolorations left by prior acne bumps, and its milk thistle and cucumber seed oil help soothe irritated skin without leaving a greasy shine.”
The brand that brought you the famous ceramide capsules, Elizabeth Arden, has launched a new retinol version. “I love the new Ceramide Retinol Capsules from Elizabeth Arden,” says dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman, MD. Its capsule form makes it easy to use as you get exactly one perfectly measured dose and the product retains its potency better. And being tiny makes them ideal for travel.
Because oils dissolve other oils, they help clear congestion much more effectively than typical exfoliation methods. That’s why Engelman suggests Marie Veronique Treatment Oil, which includes argan and borage oils. “It is much more effective than taking an abrasive scrub to your face,” says Engelman. Tea tree oil—which rivals benzoyl peroxide in effectiveness according to founder Marie-Veronique Nadeau—adds to its pulling strength. Plus, tea tree has antiseptic properties that help ward off infection.
Moringa seed and argan oils provide anti-inflammatory properties and support production of healthy collagen. That's why Jack Black Epic Moisture MP 10 Nourishing Oil offers great antioxidant benefits, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical dermatology research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “This product contains a variety of these natural oils that help hydrate, brighten, and soothe the skin," he says. Plus, the anti-aging treatment is multipurpose. “The product gives versatile hydrating benefits and can be used as a general moisturizer, after shaving, or even in the hair.”
“One of the biggest problems patients experience when using retinol is skin dryness and irritation,” says Zeichner. He recommends Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil, which balances the formulation of retinol and oil. “Formulating retinol in an oil base helps enhance penetration of the retinol itself while the hydrating benefits of the oil minimize the risk of skin dryness.”
For David Lortscher, MD, a San Diego dermatologist and founder of Curology, simple, science-backed ingredients are key when shopping for the best oils for wrinkles. He recommends both Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil as well as Sunday Riley's U.F.O. “I like these products because they are non-comedogenic and contain ingredients proven by research to reduce signs of aging—in particular, vitamin C and retinol,” he says. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties make it vital for collagen synthesis, which keeps skin looking fresh.
Regularly using oils like jojoba (anti-inflammatory) and rosehip (antioxidant) can translate to a reduction in signs of aging. In Phoenix Facial Oil by Herbivore Botanicals, they work together to moisturize dry, sensitive skin and help protect your face from environmental stressors. “Using products with topical antioxidants works to reduce the harmful effects of UV light on skin, which are visible signs of aging,” says Lortscher. It gets bonus points for being gluten- and cruelty-free.
Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil is a favorite of Kristina Goldenberg, MD, of Goldenberg Dermatology based in NYC. She loves it because “rosehip oil contains many essential fatty acids and has antioxidant properties,” which helps skin regenerate and decreases visible wrinkles and skin cancer risk.
Goldenberg also recommends SK-II Facial Treatment Oil, which contains jojoba oil, “an excellent anti-aging ingredient,” and avocado oil, which can act as a natural sunblock. “It also keeps the skin well hydrated and prevents premature formation of wrinkles and fine lines,” she says. Its milky emulsion is quickly absorbed by the skin.
Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil is loaded with beneficial fruit and flower oils, including sunflower, olive and evening primrose, but the star is pomegranate, which contains punicic acid. “Punicic acid ... is rich in omega-5 fatty acids, which help to nourish and moisturize the skin,” says Goldenberg.
When dullness and uneven texture are your main facial concerns, stick to this option from Keihl’s, says Goldenberg. Keihl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate “is a combination of lavender essential oil, evening primrose oil, and squalane, which moisturize, even, soothe, and repair skin so that it appears healthier and more radiant.”