Anti-aging Tier List Final Results

If you want to know what moves the needles and what doesnt when it comes to anti-aging, this is the place for you.

As a dedicated chemist in personal care science, I’m here to guide you through everything from topical ingredients to at home technology, and rank everything on a tier list. The primary focus of this list is addressing what can significantly impact your skin’s collagen and elastin levels. Collagen levels start to decline by 1% every year after 20 years old, but with the right approach, you can slow down the clock.

Tier List Breakdown with Percentage Improvements

Hyaluronic Acid: F Tier
While hyaluronic acid is celebrated for its hydrating properties, its benefits for fine lines and wrinkles are temporary, offering no long-term anti-aging effects. Its molecular size prevents deep skin penetration, thus failing to enhance collagen and elastin synthesis.

Peptides: B Tier
Peptides show great promise, with studies highlighting their effectiveness in direct application to skin cells. For instance, Matrixyl 3000 and Argireline, when applied twice daily, have been shown to reduce wrinkle depth and volume by 10 to 20%, and in some cases, even 30 to 40%, within just 30 days. Peptides asbsolutely work and work well, but the challenge lies in their ability to penetrate the skin barrier in real-life applications.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): A Tier
Vitamin C is a cornerstone of anti-aging skincare thanks to it’s myriad of quality studies. It is capable of increasing collagen synthesis by 28 to 25%. Its antioxidant properties are also adept at reducing sun damage, leading to smoother, more youthful skin over time. Although high-quality vitamin C products can be expensive, they are a worthwhile investment for those seeking tangible results.

Microneedling: S Tier
Microneedling stands out with its dramatic ability to boost collagen, demonstrating up to a 400% increase in collagen and elastin deposition 6 months after the procedure, alongside thicker skin. This makes it unparalleled in improving skin texture and reducing scars from acne.u00a0 Ultimately, while microneedling is a fantastic treatment for antiaging, it is more involved, advanced and comes with its own risks. So be sure to read up on proper procedures and care.

Collagen Powder: D Tier
Collagen powder’s role in anti-aging remains in the “maybe” category, despite growing evidence of its benefits for skin hydration. Some studies suggest a potential 10 to 15% improvement in skin hydration, which indirectly affects the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

LED Masks: A Tier
LED masks have shown about a 36% reduction in wrinkles and a 19% increase in skin elasticity in-office, with at-home devices offering varying degrees of success. Regular use can lead to noticeable improvements in skin quality. So if you can swing the pricetag, it is certainly a worthwhile investment.

Other Facial Devices: F Tier
Largely, other facial devices offer temporary benefits at best, with many being overly expensive and cumbersome to use.

Antioxidants: C Tier
While not directly visible in before-and-after photos, antioxidants play a vital role in the anti-aging long game, helping to prevent the degradation of vital skin proteins and shield the skin from environmental stressors.

Vitamin C Derivatives: B Tier
Promising yet lacking conclusive evidence, vitamin C derivatives are celebrated for their skin-brightening effects and antioxidant properties, though their impact on collagen and anti-aging remains under-researched.

Retinoids: S Tier
Retinoids, like retinaldehyde, tretinoin and retinol, are praised for their ability to prevent collagen degradation and enhance skin texture, boasting up to an 80% increase in collagen type I formation. They are essential for addressing a wide array of skin concerns, from acne to sun damage. In many cases dramatic results can be seen from consistent retinoid use of 6 months to 1 year.

Facial Exercises: F Tier
Facial exercises offer minimal anti-aging benefits, with little evidence to support their effectiveness in boosting collagen or elastin production.

Chemical Exfoliants: C Tier
Chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid, can significantly improve skin appearance in the short term. However, their long-term benefits for collagen and elastin remain unclear, based on available studies.<

The Ultimate Choice: Sunscreen (S+ Tier)

Sunscreen emerges as the single most crucial element in any anti-aging strategy, capable of preventing up to 80% of visible aging signs caused by UV exposure. Regular application is the key to combating photodamage and reducing the risk of skin cancer, marking it as an indispensable part of daily skincare routines.</p>


Armed with a detailed understanding of the potential percentage improvements and the effectiveness of various anti-aging products, you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions about your skincare routine. Ultimately, as long as you are hitting the main pillars of sunscreen, wash, moisturizer and some antiaging product, you are going to age like a silver fox. Everything else is just up to preference, what your skin can tolerate and how much you are willing to do when it comes to anti-aging.

Angel is the Founder and Lead chemist of Strive. He is a graduate of the Institute of Personal Care Science and a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Fan of PB&Js, the gym, video games, piano & UFC.

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