Cost sometimes determines value, but not always. In order to adequately determine value in skin care, you need to have a basic understanding of ingredients as well as what products have the greatest effect on your skin and therefore deserve the larger price point. In short, where do you put your money and what ingredients and products specifically deserve your attention? In this article, I will suggest three different price points for cleanser, vitamin C, and retinol, and why the price point differs for each.
No matter what promises skin care companies make, keep in mind that 80% of skin health is internal, while 20% is external. In other words, what you eat, drink, how you live, and your overall health is a much greater contributor to your skin than your external skin care products. Having said that, taking measures to be healthy as well as using great skin care will bring transformation to anyone’s appearance and well-being. (If you are looking at getting some guidance on your health, meet my friend Jules from Just Jules Nutrition.)
With that in mind, cleansers are absolutely necessary to any skin care regime, but need not be expensive. If you have normal to oily skin and are looking for a gentle no-fuss cleanser, try Cetaphil Foaming Cleanser for around $12 from your local drug store. For more normal to dry skin, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser is tad higher in price at $23, but is a lovely rich and creamy cleanser. For those willing to spend a little more with the added benefit of lactic acid for skin brightening, hyaluronic acid for plumping, and clover honey for deep hydration, try Truth Treatments Honey Cleanser for $45. The added active ingredients mean a greater cost, but bang for buck, you get much more out of the product.
Vitamin C is one of the most important products in the skin care department. It is, in essence, nourishment for your skin. Nearly every skin care line brandish’s their cure all vitamin C, but what’s the difference?
There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this ingredient. The first is the type of vitamin C. For example, L-ascorbic acid is the most common form of vitamin C, it’s also one of the cheapest. If it isn’t formulated with some emollient ingredients, then it can cause irritation. The two other (and most) effective forms of vitamin C are tetrahexydecyl ascorbate (THD) and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (ATIP). They support collagen and elastin production, increase hydration, diminish dark spots, and help reverse the signs of aging. Having said that, they also bring up the price point as well as the efficacy of the product. This explains why some brands can sell their product for so much less, while other brands charge in the hundreds of dollars. (For a breakdown of the different types of vitamin C, check out my blog here.)
With that in mind, if you’re looking for an inexpensive vitamin C that will help your skin with anti-aging and not break the bank, try The Ordinary Vitamin C for around $11. Made with L-ascorbic acid, if you haven’t’ used vitamin C previously, you will notice a difference in your skin. For those of you wanting more bang for buck, try Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C for $34. Made with L-ascorbic acid as well, it contains more hydrating ingredients as well as vitamin E and polyphenols for greater protection from pollutants. Lastly, if you want to bring out the big guns, try Truth Treatments Transdermal C Serum for $199. With 80% tetrahexydecyl ascorbate, it has one of the highest quantities of vitamin C available on the market. It’s like bathing your skin in nourishment and brings visible results in two weeks.
Most brands talk about the ever-googled phrase, anti-aging. The root antidote for anti-aging is through encouraging cell turnover. You do this by damaging the surface layer of your skin with products and treatments like retinol, microdermabrasion, peels, and different levels of exfoliation. It seems counter intuitive, but causing some damage to your skin will encourage your dermis layer to renew cells and thus bring about a brighter, softer appearance. The best over the counter way to do this is by using retinol or vitamin A. Keep in mind, though, that you need between .5% and 2% of retinol in a product to instigate any changes to the external facial skin. In fact, I use a 5% retinol and have zero irritation which normally follows any use of the ingredient.
I recommend starting with a less powerful retinol before launching into anything close to 5%, as the potential redness and irritation might be too much. If you’re like me and have been using retinol for a while, then the 5% could be excellent for you.
On that note, here are my recommendations for retinol. If you are a beginner or want to keep your budget low, start with Cere Ve Retinol for around $12. If you’d rather go for a mid-range retinol with more added benefits, Peter Thomas Roth Retinol for $65 is a best seller on Amazon. It’s hydrating, non-irritating, and contains 1.5% microencapsulated retinol. For a more expensive but wildly effective retinol, try Image MD Restoring Youth Repair Crème. It contains retinol, glycolic acid, and vitamin C as well for $84. Overall, it offers more bang for buck with its multi-action ingredients. As with all of these retinol products, use them at night and be aware that in using any retinol, you must use sunscreen during the day due to skins the added sensitivity.
In conclusion, knowing a bit about ingredients can help you make decisions on where you want to put your money for your skin care regime. Looking at what your goals are and how much you have to spend can really help in deciding what products targe the specific area you need help with the most.