Separating the Hip from the Hype: the Best Beauty Investments

With so many beauty trends being hyped not only in the beauty press but also via the latest Instagram stars and YouTube beauty gurus – many of whom are being paid to feature a particular product in their social media feeds — it can be difficult to separate the products that make a real difference from those that are mostly hype.
Aside from a cluttered bathroom counter and an empty wallet, buying into every beauty trend can also be a distraction from the everyday habits that really do have a solid beauty payoff.  The importance of good nutrition, adequate rest, stress avoidance, physical exercise and, of course, kindness and happiness, as non-negotiable beauty factors cannot be understated.  But there are also skin care treatments that have developed a pretty strong pedigree through years of study showing positive results.
Read on for the four stand out products that are always worth the investment . . .
There are so many serums on the market today making claims that border on the miraculous.  And while many do contain valuable ingredients, others are mostly water and include ingredients with little evidence in the scientific literature vouching for their efficacy.
However, there are serums that have a real impact on skin appearance.  For example, there is a pretty strong scientific consensus that a basic vitamin C serum is a powerful antioxidant with measurable impacts on the condition of the skin.  Vitamin C serums have a synergistic effect with sunscreen and therefore provide an added photo-protective effect.  With sun exposure as one of the main causes of visible skin aging, the boost vitamin C serums provide can go a long way in keeping skin youthful. Think of it as your own internal sunscreen – protecting your cell membranes from free radicals.  Dermatologists often offer higher concentrations of the antioxidant to their patients in serum form.  And because vitamin C is an unstable molecule and can degrade quickly over time, a good, high-quality formulation produced at the proper pH is a must in order to deliver higher potency and antioxidant levels.
It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . you really need to use your daily sunscreen if you want to keep your skin looking its best. Add a good sunscreen to your list of must-have beauty investments.  Some individuals with skin sensitivities can have trouble with chemical sunscreens and might do better with mineral-based options.  Your dermatologist can help you find an option that works well for your skin type.
Facial and body oils
Facial and body oils have grown in popularity over the past few years.  And while some people swear by them, this is another beauty trend that can have very different effects on different people.  For example, some oils can actually exacerbate eczema and dry skin problems.  Similarly, many oils are highly-comedogenic, meaning that they can clog the pores and cause blackheads, not to mention aggravate acne conditions in patients with oily skin.  Researching which skin care oils are best suited for different skin types and consulting with your dermatologist can you help find the oil(s) that are best suited to your needs.
As your skin ages, it takes longer for its topmost layer of dead cells to slough off.  This is why exfoliation is often one of the best ways to bring back a more youthful glow – by clearing away those dead cells revealing the fresh skin cells underneath them.  While physical exfoliants such as scrubs and brushes can accomplish this to some degree, they can also trigger inflammation in some patients with sensitive skin.  A chemical exfoliator with glycolic or lactic acid can both help reduce the appearance of skin damage and even out fine lines. While these can be applied at home, your dermatologist can also offer stronger treatments in office that have even more powerful effects.

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