When it comes to skin care ingredients, there are friends and there are foes. Just like us, some skin care ingredients can be paired together to conquer the world and the peskiest of skin care concerns and others can work against each other and wreak havoc on our faces.
When you walk into Sephora, Target or Walmart, there are what seems like thousands of options to choose from. Some are at a price point that seems too good to be true and others are so stinking expensive it would take a year to save up for a month’s supply. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars and countless hours purchasing and applying products that promise to answer every skin care prayer you’ve ever had with little to no results, try pairing potent, powerhouse ingredients that work together to get the job done.
We touched base with NYC dermatologists and got the scoop on how to cocktail the perfect dynamic duo to meet your skin care needs.
Dull, lackluster complexion
There are days — whether it’s due to stress, lack of sleep, inadequate water consumption or poor skin care habits — when our skin needs a pick-me-up. While returning to a regular skin care routine can suffice, an addition of active ingredients can revitalize and give skin a boost (think of it as a push-up bra for your face).
“For dull skin, a combination of glycolic acid and vitamin C can leave skin smooth and refreshed,” shares Dr. Marina Peredo, a New York City dermatologist. “Glycolic acid exfoliates dead skin cells and vitamin C helps to brighten the skin.” If you don’t incorporate these ingredients into your skin care routine regularly, an easy and inexpensive fix to this problem is finding a gentle face scrub with these active ingredients to revitalize your complexion. Gently exfoliate once or twice a week to slough away dead skin and reveal a natural glow.
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser
Instead of opting for two unique products, use this budget-friendly cleansing scrub, which infuses both active ingredients, glycolic acid and vitamin C, to keep your complexion radiant.
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser, $7 at Target
If breakouts pop up here and there or never seem to go away, a blend of dermatologist-recommended ingredients can not only treat existing pimples but help prevent them as well.
“Acne is multifactorial,” shares Dr. Kimberly Jerdan, cosmetic dermatologist. “Not only do you need to combat the bacteria, but you also must normalize the skin cell turnover.” Jerdan recommends pairing benzoyl peroxide and retinoid to tackle stubborn breakouts.
PCA Skin BPO 5% Cleanser
Cleansing acne-prone skin with this benzoyl peroxide-infused cleanser will help eliminate acne-causing bacteria while calming and treating existing breakouts.
BPO 5% Cleanser, $38 at PCA Skin
PCA Skin Intensive Brightening Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol Night
This gentle retinol formula will stimulate cell turnover and improve discoloration and excess oils and will treat acne and acne scarring while you snooze.
Intensive Brightening Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol Night, $109 at PCA Skin
Another popular duo when combating acne breakouts is glycolic acid and salicylic acid. “A combo of glycolic and salicylic acids is like a mini chemical peel at home,” shares Peredo. These potent acids will gently exfoliate and relieve inflammation without drying out your skin.
M-61 PowerSpot Pads
A simple swipe of this pad will help cleanse pores and reduce those stubborn red pimples with a blend of salicylic acid, glycolic acid and witch hazel.
M-61 PowerSpot Pads, $24 at Blue Mercury
While there are many products and treatments that claim to lighten dark spots, you may find yourself with a basket full of $100 creams that don’t seem to be doing the trick. If an even complexion is your skin goal, you might find that most dermatologists recommend a lightening agent called hydroquinone.
“Hydroquinone is a tried-and-true ingredient and organic compound used to correct hyperpigmentation, but most of the time, it should be prescribed under the supervision of your dermatologist,” recommends Peredo. Pairing this brightener with a daily SPF will not only help treat existing spots but protect against future dark spots appearing.
SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum
Safe for all skin tones, this over-the-counter pigment corrector is dermatologist-approved and aids in lightening even the most stubborn of dark spots.
SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum, $154 at Dermstore
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60
A lightweight moisturizing SPF that protects skin from harsh UV rays without leaving a chalky finish.
Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60, $19.99 at La Roche-Posay
Whether you’re in your 20s or you’re legally a senior citizen, slowing down signs of aging is likely on your mind when perfecting your skin care routine. Decreasing the sight of mostly unwanted visitors, from crow’s-feet to fine lines and wrinkles, can be tackled with the proper ingredients.
“Retinoids help combat textural changes, improve signs of skin damage and brighten your complexion,” says Jerdan. “When combined with vitamin C and E topicals, antioxidants can better access the skin to fight off extrinsic factors that may be aging the skin.”
The duo of vitamins C and E is often used by skin care experts to repair skin cells as you age. Vitamin C helps to stimulate collagen for a plump and youthful look and protects skin from environmental pollutants while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin E is a powerhouse ingredient that reduces the signs of aging by blocking free radicals from attacking and damaging the skin.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
This serum is chock-full of potent ingredients to protect skin from external stresses while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
C E Ferulic, $165 at SkinCeuticals
Originally posted on StyleCaster.