Skin care is a multi-billion dollar industry. Consumers are inundated with flashy ads promoting pricey miracle products. But don’t worry – you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars in your quest for beautiful skin.
Here are 5 money saving skincare tips.
1. The most expensive products are not necessarily the best. Having beautiful skin does not require spending a fortune on a “miracle product” that contains rare pearls from the South Pacific. While such products sound luxurious, they do little for your skin. Many of the products that I find most effective are found in your local drug store. Great moisturizes like CeraVe Cream are great for all skin types, especially dry, eczema prone skin. For rough skin, with conditions like Keratosis Pilaris (bumpy upper arms also called “chicken skin”), I recommend CeraVe SA which contains salicylic acid to help smooth rough spots. Both can be found for less than $15.
2. Try multi-tasking and 2 in 1 products. I love products like Vaseline or Aquaphor, which can serve as a makeup remover, a lip balm and a moisturizer. Skip pricey additions to your pedicure, such as paraffin wax, and instead apply Vaseline to your hands and feet and cover with cotton gloves or socks overnight for baby-soft skin. BB Creams (beauty balm or blemish balm) are the newest multi-tasking product. They usually contain a tinted moisturizer, foundation, sunblock and primer in one product. They can shave minutes off of your morning routine and keep a few dollars in your pocket. There are a few brands such as Maybelline and SmashBox which carry shades for darker skin.
3. Careful investing in lightening and fade creams for hyperpigmentation without consultation from a dermatologist. Often this discoloration is caused by acne or melasma. Have your acne evaluated by a board certified dermatologist. Treating acne soon and aggressively (in some cases) can prevent scarring and hyperpigmentation that can devastate dark skin. Use a good sunscreen with SPF 30 daily. Sunscreen not only prevents skin cancer and photoaging, but also uneven pigmentation and hyperpigmentation (like Melasma), which can be difficult and costly to resolve. I often recommend Elta MD UV Clear or Aveeno positively radiant which tend to not look chalky even on the darkest complexions.
4. Start an early anti-aging regimen to prevent costly surgical intervention. We all know the adage, “black don’t crack.” While it may not crack, it does dull, fall and eventually wrinkle. Retinoids serve the dual purpose of both brightening skin and decreasing fine wrinkles through increasing cell turnover. This delays the signs of aging skin and also helps fight acne, which unfortunately still affects many adult women. I usually recommend retinoids (such as Retin-A or Tazoracfor for all women past the age of 30). If you have to choose one item to spend your money on, a prescription retinoid will provide the best short-term and long-term results.
There are also several over-the-counter anti-aging skin products like Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, which contain the lower potency vitamin A derivative, retinol. They are gentle, but can be effective and do not require a prescription.
5. Never neglect the importance of eating well and exercising. It is very true that food can be the best medicine or the worst poison. While greasy and fatty foods haven’t been linked to acne (only dairy), they do cause other diseases like diabetes, which can lead to many skin infections and conditions. Exercise increases blood flow which not only keeps your heart healthy, but also helps nourish skin cells and keep them robust. Further, exercise has been proven to decrease stress levels which may decrease acne break outs.
By always putting your health first, you can further eliminate the need for “miracle products” and expensive skin procedures, and put a little money back in your pocket.
Michelle Henry M.D. is board certified Dermatologist. She is currently finishing a fellowship in Mohs, Reconstructive and Laser Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Her areas of specialization include: skin of color, skin cancer management, Mohs surgery, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. She plans to return to the New York area to practice this summer.