* Retinols are derived from Vitamin A. They hydrate, smooth and plump skin by increasing cell turnover and producing collagen, a protein that provides firmness to skin tissue.
* Antioxidants neutralize free radicals--molecules in our bodies that cause sun damage, wrinkles and skin cancer. Antioxidants also protect our bodies against environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke and pollution, and they repair skin while you sleep.
The following four anti-aging brands get thumbs up from skin-care experts and consumers alike. They are available at local drug and discount stores and on Websites like drugstore.com.
* Kiss My Face. Blends antioxidants and certified organic products that enhance skin tone, reduce fine lines and protect skin from environmental stresses. This brand does not use animal ingredients or test its products on animals. $15-$25.
* L'Oréal Advanced Revitalift. Its Pro-Retinol A® and marine extract accelerate cell turnover to reduce wrinkles and firm skin. Continuous 24-hour hydration soothes dryness. $16-$20.
* Olay Regenerist. Has an exclusive amino-peptide complex that softens fine lines and wrinkles. Offers younger-looking skin without chemical peels. $20-$29.
* RoC® Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle. Retinol, Vitamin C and minerals stimulate skin renewal, diminish wrinkles and rejuvenate skin tone. $19-$25.
Beauty experts also recommend applying a Vitamin C serum to your face after washing and before applying your moisturizer. (Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant.) But do not use it at the same time you use a retinol treatment because combined together, Vitamin C and retinol can irritate your skin. Avalon Organics' highly rated Vitamin C Vitality Facial Serum is $23.99 on Drugstore.com.