When I left the office of Dr Laser ( as I will call him) , he gave me a prescription for Retin A Micro and one piece of advice. ” Don’t use a washcloth or scrubbing grains”. From the research I had done for my beauty books, I knew that picking the right products to use with Retin A was essential to achieving the best results without quitting due to dryness and irritation. I made a list of four key products:
* Eye Makeup Remover
* Sunscreen/ Moisturizer
* Nighttime Moisturizer
So I took my prescription for Retin A Micro to the drugstore and was met with sticker shock. It was $300/tube. I debated with myself for a few minutes, then gave it in to be filled. Practically every dermatologist recommends a form of Retin A as the foundation of anti-aging skin care. I thought about all the beauty products that I had used that never worked, all the shoes I bought that hurt too much to wear, not to mention over-priced meals at atrendy restaurants. It took away some of the pain of a $300 price tag.
With the purchase of the pricy Retin A, I wanted to build the rest of my beauty tool kit with affordable, effective products. I needed just four, but they all had very specific criteria.
1. The Ideal Cleanser — Given that Retin A can be so irritating, I needed a very very gentle cleanser. This means no scrubbing grains, no exfoliators ( eg alpha hydroxy acids), no retinol and no washcloth. I walked through the aisles of Duane Reade reading labels of products on seemingly endless shelves. I settled on an oldie but goodie– Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (for all skin types). This product has been around for years, but it met my criteria. At just $9/8oz, it took some of the sting out of the $300 Retin A. I tossed in a tube of disposable cotton pads to substitute for a washcloth.
2. Eye Makeup Remover —I used to use a washcloth to take off my mascara, but since these are now banned form my beauty routinue, I needed another approach. A friend suggested Almay oil-free eye makeup remover. On the jar ( $5.99 ) Almay states that it is the #1 eye makeup remover. I don’t know who made this judgement, but it cerainly is an excellent product. It took off my mascara easily and was totally non-irritating. Even better it did not leave a blurry film on my eyes that had happened with other much more expensive eye makeup removers. So far, so good.
3. Sunscreen/Moisturizer — Much of our skin aging is due to sun exposure, and just using a daily sunscreen has shown to protect the skin from aging UV rays. Because Retin A can be so drying, I also wanted my sunscreen to double as a moisturizer. Keep in mind that Retin A makes the skin more vulnerable to sun damage, so this sunscreen/moisturizer needed an SPF of at least 15, and 30 would be even better. One more criteria is also a deal breaker– it had to be non-greasy since I will wear make-up over it. I will also need to avoid ingredients that could be irritating ( eg AHA’s like glycolic acid or retinol and vitamin C). I found several products that fit the bill and in the interest of research, I bought three of them for less than $50.
* Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer, SPF 30 ( $17.39 for 2.5 oz)– This fragance-free product contains feverfew, an herb known for its soothing properties. It is perfect for my purposes
* L’oreal Skin Genesis Multi-layer Cell Strengthening Daily Moisturizer, SPF 15 ($17.80 for 1.7 oz)– I choose this product because it contained hyaluronic acid which is a powerful natural skin moisturizer. In fact, one molecule of hyaluronic acid can hold 1000x its weight in water. Hyaluronic Acid is an expensive compound, and it seemed that this product was the only drugstore brand that contained this water-attracting agent.
* Cetaphil UVA/UVB SPF 50 ( ($13.99 for 1.7oz) — This turbo powered sunscreen will be great for the summer months.
4. Nighttime Moisturizer — On this drugstore field trip I could not find what I was looking for — a heavier moisturizer that was free of irritaing ingredients such as retinol or AHA’s . I decided to use Skin Genesis that I had bought as a daytime moisturizer. I loved that it had hyaluronic acid and decided that its sunscreen at night would not be a problem.
I’m always looking for new products that meet my criteria. Let me know what has worked for you.
Next post: Starting with Retin A