GLENDALE, Calif. - Americans spend billions of dollars on skin care, and high-end products should contain better ingredients but one local dermatologist said they don't.
When it comes to skin care, dermatologist Shirley Chi, of Center for Advanced Dermatology in Arcadia, tells her patients to ditch the department store for the drug store.
Her reason? Effectiveness depends on ingredients - not packaging.
"The most important ingredient for anti-aging is probably retinol," she said.
She added that retinol boosts collagen production. But it can be irritating, so she suggests to start by applying it every third night.
A new skin care star to look for is niacinamide because it increases a skin component called ceramides.
"It helps your skin be a better barrier. So when you have more ceramides you can actually block off toxins and irritants that can get into your skin," Chi said.
To reduce brown spots, Chi said hydroquinone can lighten with long term use. But for those who prefer a more natural approach, she said look for products containing kojic acid.
Antioxidants are all the rage for healthier skin, but for the most potent combination, Chi said look for products that contain both vitamin C and ferulic acid.
"They protect your skin from DNA damage caused by UV, sun exposure, also pollution and toxin exposure," she said.
If you want to see results, Chi said you have to be patient. It'll take about three months before you see any changes. But she added none of these products are going to work if you don't wear sunscreen every day.
For sunscreen, look for mineral ingredients, such as zinc and titanium oxide, because they are less irritating.
But there are some skincare ingredients Chi said are not as effective in over-the-counter form. Those include: peptides, collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Keep in mind, department store skin care may cost more but not necessarily because the ingredients are better.
"You're paying not just for the cream itself, but you're paying for the advertising of the cream," Chi said.
Bottom line? Go for the beauty products that won't break your bank.