Awards season always brings a nonstop parade of impossibly glowy, youthful A-listers…and the accompanying dismay that we can’t afford whatever fancy treatments they used to achieve said glow. But you don’t have to be a celeb to get your best skin ever. We tapped NYC dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman, M.D., whose practice boasts a client list including Sofía Vergara and Christina Ricci, for a few expert tips for fighting the signs of aging without breaking the bank.
Never Skip These Four Skin Care Steps
1. Cleanse. “If you only have five minutes, the most important thing to do is remove the day’s grime and gunk,” Engelman says. She recommends Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, which won’t strip your skin of its natural oils.
2. Use eye cream. “The skin around the eyes is 40 percent thinner than the rest of the face and therefore needs a little extra attention.” Her go-to? Revision Skincare D.E.J. Eye Cream.
3. Apply SPF. “I recommend both chemical and physical sunscreens,” says Engelman. “While both are not perfect, my main focus is to prevent sun damage that could turn into cancer or another fatal disease. Using them togetherensures full protection.” If you’re concerned about harmful stuff in chemical sunscreens, she recommends finding products free of oxybenzone.
4. Target certain areas. “Wrinkles start to appear in areas where there is the most repeated motion, like the eyes, mouth and forehead. Focusing treatment on those areas can improve and reduce wrinkles.” Engelman suggests using products with retinol, vitamin C or idebenone, which trigger collagen and elastin production.
The Product She Can’t Live Without
“I love masks for many reasons—from replenishing hydration to exfoliating the skin,” says Engelman. “Even if the immediate results seem to wear off, masks are still delivering actives to control inflammation, hydrate, combat free radical damage and more, which will work long term.” (Here are a few of our faves for every skin type.)
Try At-Home Tech
Can’t afford regular LED treatments or fancy facial massages at the spa? Engelman says at-home devices are a good investment that you can use over and over. Specifically, they can help the active ingredients in your products penetrate deeper into your skin—which is what you’re paying for, really.
She recommends the Conture Kinetic Skin Toning Device, which she says has “over 250,000 hours of research behind it.” It combines isometric compression and low-frequency vibrations, and the results include smoothing and tightening of the skin, as well as increasing the absorption of products.
Another tool Engelman loves is the dermaroller. While the at-home versions don’t go as deep as in-office microneedling, she says the benefits (including, yes, increased product absorption) are still notable. “The slight injury stimulates the growth of collagen, which acts as the scaffolding under our skin and can improve the appearance of some scars and wrinkles.” Her pick is the Environ 14-karat gold roller, but if you don’t have $300 to drop on that, we like the Ora roller.
Looking for something a little more straightforward? Engelman is a fan of Gua Sha, the traditional Chinese technique of using a smooth, flat stone to massage the facial muscles. The gentle pressure stimulates circulation, which “will increase blood flow and help remove toxins and waste.”
Avoid the Worst Skin Care Mistake You Can Make
That would be ignoring your skin. “Prevention is key to looking young and, most important, to keeping skin healthy,” Engelman says. “Facial skin is very susceptible to environmental damage, and it’s one of the first spots that we start to see aging.” (If only we could travel back in time and tell our 22-year-old selves.)
Consider a Supplement
While some derms are still wary of the ingestible beauty trend, Engelman thinks it’s an easy way to boost skin health. And there’s promising evidence that oral hyaluronic acid might be able to reduce wrinkles. “The idea here is that the supplement is absorbed into the bloodstream and then reaches the foundational layers of the skin, providing moisture and supporting skin and joint health.”