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  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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Multi-tasking anti-aging ingredients

Some of the best ingredients to include in your anti-aging skincare routine.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 6 min read
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 6 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

When it comes to skincare, there are many "miracle" ingredients that promise to make wrinkles disappear overnight. The truth is that there are really only a handful of ingredients that are clinically proven to have anti-aging effects, like retinoids (like tretinoin), niacinamide, and azelaic acid. Multitasking win: your Curology prescription cream fights acne and signs of aging at the same time.

3 of the best multi-tasking anti-aging ingredients

Niacinamide. Sometimes referred to as nicotinamide, niacinamide is an ingredient well-known for its skin-lightening, anti-aging, and skin-barrier-building effects. This powerhouse ingredient can decrease red and brown blotches, fine lines and wrinkles, while improving skin elasticity. Plus, it's been shown to be as effective as topical 1% clindamycin in fighting acne. It’s also anti-inflammatory, meaning the skin reacts very minimally to it, and side effects such as irritation are unusual.

Azelaic acid. It has direct anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s also an effective treatment for redness, rosacea, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It’s even been shown to help smooth the skin’s texture and refine pores! Plus, it's another ingredient we use in certain Curology prescription formulas with anti-aging benefits.

Tretinoin. A powerful pore-clearing, line-smoothing, and complexion-brightening retinoid, tretinoin is considered by dermatologists as the gold standard in topical treatment for reducing fine lines, unwanted pigmentation, and improving skin texture . And yes, your prescription Curology formula can also be formulated with tretinoin for an extra kick!

Curology Ingredients for Acne & Anti-Aging

Before we share more anti-aging skincare tips, we have to emphasize that your Curology Custom Formula is a great first step in the right direction. In the short term, you’re most likely to see improvements with skin texture, and for many people, partial fading of sun-induced dark spots. After months of use, many people notice softening of fine lines. As long as you’re applying it every night (as tolerated!), it’s possible you could see a significant difference in just a few weeks.

And now, even more expert-approved anti-aging skincare tips below!

Prevention is Everything

The key to keeping your skin looking young is protecting it from the sun! Sun protection is essential year-round, but finding the right form of it isn’t always easy — especially when you’ve got acne to deal with. Our dermatology providers share plenty of sun protection tips and product recommendations for acne-prone, sensitive, and combination skin. If you’ve got tretinoin in your Curology prescription formula, you may want to limit sun exposure and regularly reapply sunscreen, as it can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn. Pro tip: adding a vitamin C serum to your skincare routine can help prevent sun damage.

Closeup of woman in sunglasses facing left and applying cream to left cheek with index finger against a purple background

Anti-aging: Wrinkles

Skin aging is divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is the natural aging process not under your control, involving the passage of years and genetic factors. Extrinsic aging is caused by factors you actually can control: diet, smoking, sun exposure, and stress management.

Text: "Intrinsic causes of skin aging" with images: DNA image with text "Genetics," face with text "Passage of years;" Text: "Extrinsic causes of skin aging" with images: radish with text "Diet," cigarette with text "Smoking," squiggle lines and circle with text "Sun Exposure," cross-legged figure with text "Stress Management"

Wrinkles — and the blotchy pigmentation and leathery skin texture that can accompany them — are a part of the skin’s extrinsic aging process. That means you can take measures to prevent and treat them.

Most important of all: 👏 WEAR 👏 SUNSCREEN 👏

Damage caused by ultraviolet rays of the sun is responsible for up to 80% of skin aging!

Topical retinoids such as tretinoin, which your Curology medical providers may add to your prescription formula, help to increase collagen production. Tretinoin use won’t fill in deep wrinkles, but it definitely helps smooth the appearance of fine (aka “knife crease”) lines. If you’re only just beginning to see wrinkles form, it can also help keep new wrinkles from getting deeper.

Hard-to-treat wrinkles

Think of wrinkles from the positive side — reflecting a life well-lived! But if you want to reduce their appearance, tretinoin will help prevent/treat fine wrinkles. To be honest, the only fix for deeper forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, and “laugh lines” is Botox. The wrinkles that form between eyebrows, on the forehead, and around the eyes are a type of “dynamic rhytides” that are affected by moving the muscles. Proactively protecting your skin from the sun will help prevent them from getting deep, but pretty much everybody gets them eventually. Look at these wrinkles as a natural sign of having lived your life! For a temporary but effective way to reduce these wrinkles, Botox is the most reliable. It involves small injections that relax the wrinkle-causing muscles.

Anti-aging: Eyes

Illustration of eyes and undereye bags with text "Bags could be due to volume loss, increased blood vessels, swelling, or wrinkles"

Under-eye “bags” — the appearance of a shadow under or around the eyes that’s either sunken/sallow or swollen/puffy — have several possible causes. Bags could be due to volume loss, increased blood vessels, swelling, or wrinkles. Short of going under the laser or knife at a cosmetic dermatologist’s office, retinol is promising treatments for aging around the eye area. If your Curology formula contains tretinoin (a retinoid), try applying it up to a few millimeters from the lash line of your eye — or use another eye cream formulated with retinol. But proceed with caution: using tretinoin near the eyes, the creases of the nose, and around the lips could cause irritation. If your skin is sensitive to the cream at first, try applying it only every other day, or 2–3 times a week, until your skin adjusts to it.


  • Make sure that your skin has dried completely after cleansing before applying your Curology cream

  • Use a gentle moisturizer, like the moisturizer by Curology, before or after your Curology prescription formula to soothe the skin of any irritation


An alternative to Botox injections, which relax the muscles in the face, are Frownies: adhesive patches applied to the skin to help relax facial muscles. In theory, they help “retrain” the muscles on your face. These take longer than Botox to show a result and may not help at all. But the price is right, and they are an easy thing to try! Be aware that Frownies and your Curology cream may not mix: If you put on a Frownie over your Curology medication (or any other topical product), it will interfere with its ability to work, and could irritate your skin, too.

Illustration titled "Prevention of wrinkles and sagging" with illustrated images: square with "Tr" and text "Tretinoin," square with "Nc" and text "Niacinamide," radish and text "Healthy diet," running body with text "Exercise," X-ed out cigarette with text "No smoking," and squiggle lines and a circle with text "Wear sunscreen"

Loss of firmness (or sagging, crepey skin)

Sagging, crepey skin is an inevitable byproduct of aging and gravity, influenced by genetics and past sun exposure. Skin sagging eventually happens to all of us; however, a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, minimizing sun exposure (don’t forget to protect your neck!), and not smoking will help prevent an acceleration of the aging process.

Before considering more invasive procedures, try skincare products that help build more collagen, like tretinoin. Dermatologists agree: besides sun protection, retinoids are your skin’s best ally to prevent and fight current aging-related changes in your skin. It’s way easier to prevent these things in the long run than it is to fix them later!

Unfortunately, no topical medication will re-tighten sagging skin. Sagging skin is due to volume loss in the tissues underlying the skin (whether due to age or as a result of significant weight loss). Volumizers such as Sculptra or Voluma, and fillers such as Radiesse, Restylane and Juvederm can restore contours that have been lost, and so give some “lift” by supporting the overlying skin, as well as fill in some of the wrinkled “valleys” in the skin.

Closeup of a face with white lather on it

If you’re willing to go there, surgical facelift procedures can provide good and reliable results. While most non-surgical facelift procedures using lasers, ultrasound, light or heat-based devices improve the skin’s tone and firmness, these procedures can’t reliably tighten the skin. But with technology improving every day, be on the lookout for new non-surgical options emerging in the market.

In conclusion, keep calm and put your cream on! Did we mention that managing stress is good for anti-aging, too? A good night’s sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise, meditation, or yoga are all super-beneficial lifelong practices to help you look and feel youthful. So relax, wear SPF, and let Curology help you put your best face forward!

Anti-aging prescription skincare

If you’re feeling unsure about what your skin needs to address your anti-aging goals, talking to a dermatology provider can help. You can get started with one at no extra cost when you start your Curology free trial. Just take a quick skin quiz and snap a few selfies and one of our licensed medical providers will evaluate your skin. 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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If Curology is right for you, we’ll send you a 30-day supply of your Custom Formula with a mix of active ingredients chosen for your unique skin concerns, plus any of our recommended products, for free—just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling. Subject to consultation. Results may vary. Subscription is required.

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