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Marcus Kirby
by Published on September 12, 2019

Six years ago, my family experienced a huge scare when my then 65-year-old mom was rushed to the ER in order to receive an emergency cardioversion—aka a medical paddle used to restart her heart. The day before the trip to the emergency room, we'd been traveling, and my mom (who has since discovered she has an extreme sensitivity to sugar) had a pumpkin spice latte and an almond-filled French pastry for breakfast and then later on after dinner a small vanilla ice cream cone. As she explains, it was enough sugar (at least for her) to send her heart into atrial fibrillation, or an uneven heart rhythm.

"As scary as the experience was, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise," she tells me. "I banished heavy sugar doses from my diet and noticed that my skin started looking better. Soon after this, I forced myself to watch a program on PBS I’d recorded called The Age Fix, hosted by plastic surgeon Anthony Youn (and later read his book by the same name). I’d resisted watching the show because I knew it wouldn’t be my personal choice to go the route of plastic surgery when it came to age prevention, but as a makeup artist who specializes in helping women over 50, I felt like there could be some helpful information."

As my mom told me over the phone, Youn connected the dots for her when he said the most important thing we can do for our skin is to eat a clean, healthy diet, and sugar basically equals wrinkles. So as my mom began to reduce her sugar intake and make healthier choices when it came to meals and snacking, her skin started looking better and better, and she became more interested in what else she could do to help some age-related redness, dark spots, fine lines, and not-so-fine lines that were becoming ever harder to miss when she looked in the mirror each morning. (Her words, not mine!)

"Frankly, I’m also embarrassed to admit I’d never done much besides a morning facial cleanse in the shower, some moisturizer under my makeup, and an evening cleanse," she laughs. "But as I started checking into skin-enhancing serums and products that might benefit my skin, I realized that to get the best results from these products, I needed to make sure these formulations could penetrate deeply into my skin. I purchased a Clarisonic Brush ($99) which, according to research, can get your skin six times cleaner than a normal cleansing routine, and I began to add a few other exfoliating skincare products into my regimen as well."

However, it wasn't until my mom began introducing various anti-aging serums into her skincare routine that she says she truly began to notice a difference in the appearance of her skin. "I also switched to a natural moisturizer—Essentiel by Adele Moisture ($39) is pure heaven—which has made my routine a bit cleaner and has been a game changer in terms of my skin's hydration levels, especially since we spend our winters in the Arizona desert."

So are you curious to know the specifics of my mom's anti-aging skincare routine and her favorite serums? Keep scrolling! Ahead, she's sharing the best anti-aging serums and formulas that have actually made a difference in the way her skin looks and feels.

"I know this serum gets talked about all the time, but there's a reason it's so iconic. It works. If I could only use one anti-aging serum for the rest of my life, it would probably be this one. It's literally changed the clarity, brightness, tone, and texture of my skin ever since I started using it. I combine it with the two serums below, and it's my own fountain-of-youth cocktail."

"This serum is a triple threat and features coenzyme Q10 (an antioxidant that boosts collagen production, which we need when we're aging!) in addition to hyaluronic acid for hydration, and Matrixyl 3000, an amazing anti-wrinkle ingredient that's used as a less harsh alternative to retinol. This serum has really helped decrease my redness and some of the uneven patches that used to bother me on my complexion."

"As I mentioned, I like to mix this serum from Timeless with the above two for a super-charged serum mixture. It features Matrixyl Synthe'6, a powerful peptide that, according to the brand, boosts six skin-rebuilding essentials. It's great for wrinkles, and it's helped reduce some of the fine lines on my face and crepiness around my eyes."

"This essence-serum hybrid is definitely an investment. However, it really helps hydrate and condition the skin, and I've also seen improvements in the firmness and how plump and youthful my skin looks since I added it to my normal routine. Essentially, it's a treatment you apply after you cleanse and tone, and it acts kind of like a serum primer—enhancing the benefits of whatever serum you use afterward—while also utilizing nutrient-rich caviar water to make your pores looks smooth and tiny."

"Ohhhhh, this one is so, so good, and it's definitely made my skin look brighter and plumper—fewer fine lines and less sagginess! It's really lightweight, which I like. So many anti-aging products can get really heavy and cloying feeling. It features a specialized Line Relaxing Complex. It's also really hydrating, and I don't even feel like I need a moisturizer after I apply it."

"I really noticed a difference with this serum—especially regarding an improvement in the firmness of my skin and the overall tone of my skin. I especially love the fact that it's more affordable than many other products and easily available at Target, Walgreens, and other locations."

"Several nights a week, I will also just use SkinCeuticals' Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight, a nightly treatment which promotes cellular turnover and radiance. I'm a big fan of SkinCeuticals, and this newish product has been a favorite recently. I'm not sure if it's considered more of a serum, exfoliator, or cream, but I'm lumping it in here!"

"Erin's really obsessed with this brand, so I knew I had to check it out. Dr. Barbara Sturm makes a handful of really luxurious and high-quality serums, but it's this anti-aging formula, in particular, that's been a real game changer for my skin. I've only just started to use it, but I definitely like some of the results I'm starting to see with this product." 

"I love this gentle polish from Tatcha for keeping my skin clean, soft, and congestion-free. Erin first introduced me to Tatcha a couple of years ago, and while everything from the brand is really beautiful, this has become one of my ride-or-die skincare products to help with aging. I use it a couple of times per week, and it's really made a difference in the texture and brightness of my skin."

"I'm really picky when it comes to lotions and moisturizers and was, admittedly, skeptical of this multipurpose formula when Erin (who's obsessed) brought it home with her about a year ago. However, it didn't take long after she forced me to try it that I completely fell in love. It's pure heaven, infused with so many wonderful ingredients, and I like to use it all over my body, face, and hands. Even my husband is obsessed with it! I also appreciate the affordable price point as compared to some of my other regular creams and moisturizers."

"Since I like to switch up my skincare and creams depending on what my skin is feeling, this luxurious cream from La Prairie is another one I swear by. When paired with the Essence in Lotion I mentioned above, it's amazing at moisturizing my skin and diminishing the severity of some of my sun and dark spots."

"This is my go-to night cream. It has a unique blend of multitasking ingredients like RES and glycolic acid so you get some exfoliation benefits in addition to the hydrated glow you wake up with the next morning. Erin complimented my skin's radiance and texture last time she visited, and I partly attribute that to using this cream regularly over the past few months." Next up, here's what happened when I made my 72-year-old parents try CBD-infused skincare. 

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Courtney March
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