Totally agree with Beautylovingirl. Retinol is absolutely the best at what it does. Works on wrinkles, plumps up the skin and helps to smooth out the skin by exfoliating it. But be careful, because it can be drying, and ALWAYS wear sunscreen! It can cause sun sensitivity, so sunscreen is an absolute must!
I agree with the other two ladies: retinol, and only at night. BUT... you need to monitor its effect on you. I used retinol (Philosophy Help Me); the first few months, I was in love: smoother skin, pores seemed smaller, signs of age on my chest smoothed out. Then, disaster: my skin got really dry (I'm normally oily), my face got red, my pores looked enormous. I went to a dermatologist, and the esthetician there told me I had rosacea, and the products I was using were too harsh for me. She put me on a simple regimen, which included a day cream with SPF 50 and a night cream with peptides (Revisionist); within 48 hours, my skin calmed down, smoothed out, and looks awesome! I'm 46, by the way, and most people think I'm in my mid-30's.
Answered[ Edited ]
Hands down, prescription strength retinoids (Retin-A, etc.; the downside is that they can be irritating until you build up a tolerance). Retinol (found OTC in skincare products) can be effective, but be sure to be aware of the concentration -- while it's marketed as an anti-aging ingredient, the concentration of retinol in a product is often not high enough to render it effective or to yield results.
Also: Stay out of the sun! Nothing ages faster than the sun does -- no tan is a safe tan. Protect your skin on a daily basis by using sunscreen on your face, and when you're out in the sun, wear a hat and be sure to use an adequate amount of sunscreen (a shotglass-sized amount is recommended for an adult).