Costs seem to explode when daily skin care meets anti-aging. Brand name tretinoin ( eg Retin A) clocks in at $300 for a tube that lasts six months. Generic Retin A drops to about $200. Upscale anti-aging brands with effective levels of retinol are lower at about $100, but still a significant bit of change. And then there are the luxury department store brands like La Mer and Perricone that will cost more than $300 a jar– and thats just for one product in the recommended routinue.
There are anti-aging products that don’t cost much, but they don’t do much either. The challenge is to find affordable anti-aging forumlations that deliver real results. I believe that when a low cost cream or mask doesn’t deliver, you are still wasting your money, albeit less of it.
Glycolic Acid– cheap and effective
The search for acessible anti-aging skin care starts with deciding what you want from them. As the years go by skin growth slows down, dark spots pop-up and our healthy glow is replaced with a sallow, dull skin tone and textrue. That’s the bad news. The good news? Glycolic acid and vitamin C, either singly or in combination were born to deal with skin aging. These two super age busters are also among the most inexpensive ingredients used in skin care products.
Glycolic acid will remove the top layer of dead skin cells and stale oil and encourage the growth of healthy hew collagen. Within a month of use, pores will shrink and rough dull surface will be replaced with a fresh healthy glow. Think of glycolic acid as “Retin A light”. It will produce real results without irritation– and at about 80% lower cost. Two of my favorite glycolic acid rejuvenation products are:
Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion ( 10% glycolic) $12- for dry skin
It contains active levels of glycolic acid but forumlated for thin, dry skin. Available in pharmacy chains like Duane Reade and online.
Alpha Hydrox AHA wipes ( 14%) $17 for normal and oily skin
These wipes are super easy to use and can be added to almost any cleansing routinue. They will help control breakouts while stimulating healthy skin formation.
Vitamin C– an oldie but goodie
Vitamin C is one of the most studied AND effective anti-aging ingredients– and available for literally pennies a day. Vitamin C works in three ways– it is essential for the growth and repair of healthy collagen, can lighten dark spots and splotches AND is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from UV rays. But vitamin A is uber fragile and takes careful hadling to avoid oxidation. When this happens, the vitamin C loses much of its power and potency.
There are a few wonderful commercial vitamin C products ( eg Cellex C and Ski Ceuticals) that will deliver full strength benefits. But they are expensive and if you want to stretch your beauty dollar, you can make a truely effective vitamin C serum without special ingredients or equipment.
DIY Vitamin C Seum
I tried six different formulas before adopting this one from Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano. I could find all the ingredients at a local health food store and had all the tools I needed in my kitchen. While DIY products are so tempting, some formulas can involve ordering special chemicals and tools, eg scales and thermometers. These add up and the bottom line here is to save money.
Budget Busting Vitamin C Serum
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons, water ( boiled and cooled), 2 teaspooons vitamin C powder in the form of L-ascorbic acid ( $10 for 4 oz.) , 2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin ( $10 for 4 oz.), dark brown bottle with eye dropper. These ingredients will last three months at the cost of $1.60 a week. Seriously.
Directions: In a little bowl, mix the water and vitamin C until the powder is dissolved. Mix in the glycerin. Using the eye dropper, transfer the mixture to the dark brown bottle. It will stay active for a week. If you have any leftover, discard it and mix up a fresh batch.
To use, shake the bottle well and put two drops on fingertips. Rub in a bit on the hands then apply to the face. Repeat for neck and chest. And that’s it. You might feel a sight tingling that will fade in a moment. Unlike glycolic acid which show almost immediate results, vitamin C takes time to see benefits. The changes are internal but in a few months you should notice fewer dark patches and a radiance that only comes from treating your skin correctly.
In the summer I like to use vitamin C serum under my mineral sunscreen. In other seasons, I alternate glycolic acid wipes with vitamin C serum as my bedtime routinue. Let me know how you like to use this home made age buster.