In the war against wrinkles, nothing has a proven track record quite like Botox (or any neuromodultor, such as Dysport or Xeomin, for that matter) when it comes to smoothing out wrinkles on the face. But at a few hundred dollars (if not more) a pop, not everyone is always up for relying on an injection to get wrinkle-free. Here’s what three top doctors turn to for a cheaper albeit effective option.
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Treat your skin with alphahydroxy acids (AHAs)
New York dermatologist Adebola Dele-Michael, MD, says not to discount the wrinkle-reducing effects of some over-the-counter skin care ingredients, especially AHAs, like glycolic acid. “Regularly using them is an affordable way to stave of wrinkles and other forms of skin aging.” Try Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($85) or Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories AHA Resurfacing Lotion 20 ($55).
Opt for light skin-resurfacing treatments
Not every in-office procedure needs to drain your bank account. Some, like microdermabrasion and chemical peels, which can cost less than $100, can do good for your skin. “These two treatments are reasonably priced options for reducing wrinkles and giving your skin that radiant glow,” says Dr. Dele-Michael.
Dose up on retinoids and retinolWhether you opt for an over-the-counter retinol like Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream ($85), or its prescription-strength cousin, Retin-A, a vitamin A–derived product is an anti-wrinkle must have. “If your skin can handle a prescription-strength one, that’s the best option to use,” says New York dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. Either way, these products stimulate collagen production in the skin and speed up cell turnover so that skin is younger-looking, healthier and smoother, making wrinkles less visible on the surface.
Use an at-home device
“Some in-office laser treatments can be pretty pricey, but there are a few at-home devices, like LightStim for Wrinkles ($249) and Tria Age-Defying Laser ($495), that can be helpful with fine lines,” says Dr. Shah. “These are certainly not as effective as in-office light and laser procedures, but they can help improve the appearance of wrinkles, and even sun damage when it’s mild.” Their price tag may seem steep, but compared to what one session of a comparable in-office treatment would cost you, they are way less expensive.
Safeguard your skin with sunscreen
Possibly one of the cheapest ways to ward off wrinkles is simply by wearing a good sunscreen every single day no matter what. “Sunscreen to prevent sun damage is really the most important method to maintain youthful skin,” says Las Vegas plastic surgeon Goesel Anson, MD. “The earlier you start using it, the better. A huge portion of of skin aging is due to UV light.” Sun rays are know to degrade collagen in the skin, which New York facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD, explains can lead to the formation of deep lines and creases in sun-exposed areas.
Load up on moisturizer
Dr. Vasyukevich says that regular use of a moisturizer is one the key components in maintaining skin health. “Dry, scaly skin is more likely to form wrinkles in areas that are affected by the use of muscles of facial expression. Lack of hydration makes the skin appear dull and the wrinkles may become more prominent.” We like GlamGlow Glowstarter ($49) and Neutrogena Naturals Brightening Daily Moisturizer SPF 25 ($14) to keep skin well hydrated.
Get a massage
A gentle facial massage, according to Dr. Vasyukevich, is a great way to reduce tension in the muscles that are linked to facial expression. “It also improves blood flow to the skin,” he says.