Among the hundreds of ingredients in skincare products, only a few make a real difference. These three have the best scientific backing:
Vitamin A(retinol, retinoic acid or Retin-A, retinyl propionate, and retinaldehyde): In its various forms, vitamin A increases elastin, collagen, and the natural moisturizer hyaluronic acid in the skin. It's the only thing you can apply to repair sun damage, giving you a smoother, less wrinkled complexion.
Vitamin C: Also stimulates collagen and elastin growth and helps thwart free radicals. (Vitamin C rapidly breaks down when exposed to light and oxygen, so the jar should be opaque and kept sealed.)
Vitamin E: An antioxidant, vitamin E acts to slow wrinkle production. Some research suggests it may also help protect against skin cancer. (Must be in the form of DL-alpha-tocopherol to make a difference, so read the ingredients on the label.)
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.