By Ann Griswold • Published: May 11th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Ever stood in the cosmetics aisle, wondering about all those different skin-care products? Is it really possible to erase wrinkles or melt away cellulite? And is cheaper better, or do you get what you pay for?

If you feel clueless when it comes to choosing the right product for your skin, you’re not alone. Cosmeceuticals… topical cosmetics that provide pharmaceutical effects… comprise the fastest growing sector of the skin care industry. There are skin-soothing botanicals, skin-firming growth factors and even coenzyme Q-10 for a more youthful-looking appearance. But are these ingredients really all they’re cracked up to be, or are the bottles full of empty promises?

Before you buy, dermatologists recommend checking to see if a product’s claims are supported by clinical trials or before-and-after photos. Cosmeceutical makers aren’t required to prove their products work, so stick with ingredients whose effects have been well-established… and that doesn’t always mean the more expensive product will prevail.

Certain vitamin A derivatives, like retinol, firm skin and ward off wrinkles. Retinol is found in some over-the-counter eye creams and facial lotions. If brighter, smoother skin is your goal, look for lotions with poly hydroxy acids, extracts from the buds of fruit trees. Botanical products, on the other hand, calm red, inflamed skin, while antioxidants like coenzyme Q-10 help repair skin damaged by the environment.

Questions? The face of skin care is increasingly complex indeed. Consult your doctor if you have concerns about your skin’s appearance and aren’t sure what to use.