Whether you’re 25 or 40, it’s not okay to have wrinkles and splotches on your skin. That said, we’d rather not choose between emptying our pockets and ruining our bee-yoo-tiful complexions (minus those beginnings of crow’s feet we try to ignore).
Dr. Karen Kade, a dermatologist in Miami, told us what to look for in affordable, over-the-counter beauty products. Her favorite drug store brands are Neutrogena, Olay, and Cetaphil. “It’s simple,” Dr. Kade said. “The best thing is to wear moisturizer with sunscreen in it every day, regardless of the season or your skin color.”
Here are 5 things she told us to look for in drugstore moisturizers:
1. Protection From UVA and UVB Rays
SPF tells us how well a sunscreen protects against UVB rays, which cause sunburns. But it’s actually UVA rays that cause skin aging. They can even get to us through glass or, say, a closed car window. So, make sure that your sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. There currently is no UVA rating system the way there is for UVB rays (the SPF scale), but Dr. Kade expects there to be one in the next several years.
Antioxidants protect cells from oxidation, the same process that causes tarnish on silver. They protect you from damaging factors like sunlight, air pollution, and cigarette smoke; imagine your skin as silver, and the antioxidants as preventing tarnish or rust.
3. Vitamin A
Retinol, or vitamin A, has been shown to prevent and even reverse fine wrinkles. It’s an ingredient in many anti-aging creams, and is available to anyone over-the-counter.
4. Alpha Hydroxy Acids
These include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid. According to Dr. Kade, they exfoliate the top layers of the skin, which lead to a smoother complexion with smaller pores. She likens the process to peeling back the layers of an onion, which is why patients often experience a fresh, healthy glow.
Peptides are biologically active compounds that increase the production of collagen, which is the protein that makes up most of your skin. Younger people have lots of collagen, which is why they have firm, tight skin.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion ($12): Contains antioxidants, vitamin A, alpha hydroxy acids, and light sunscreen.
- Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer ($13): Protects against UVA & UVB, is SPF 45, and is lightweight enough for daily use.
- Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream ($16): Contains amino-peptides to increase your skin’s production of new collagen cells.
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($14): Contains retinol to reduce wrinkles. Also protects against UVA & UVB.
- Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer ($11): Protects against UVA & UVB, and is a simple, easy, fragrance-free moisturizer.
You’ll be so happy with your money-saving moisturizer that you won’t even notice those little smile lines.