Stocking up on beauty products is like navigating through the Wild West. There are just so many options. Luckily, we tapped a few of the top dermatologists and aestheticians in the biz to break down the ingredients you should be looking for. While we've already discussed the ones you should omit, these six ingredients are the crème de la crème.
Read: If you use products filled with the goodies below, your skin will thank you.
“Water is essential for feeding the cells of our skin and keeping them looking plump, radiant, and youthful. Found naturally in your skin’s dermis, hyaluronic acid holds onto water and provides tone and contour to the skin. When used in skincare products, it helps retain the skin’s natural moisture balance. Amazingly, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, resulting in enhanced elasticity, lubrication, plumpness, and moisture in the skin. With continued use, the skin’s water content improves daily and fine lines and wrinkles become plumper and therefore less visible. It focuses mainly on delivering water to thirsty skin types, so it’s well tolerated by even the most oily, acne-prone skin type.” — Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician
We suggest: Dr. Dennis Gross's Daily Essentials Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion ($58)
“The purest form of vitamin A, Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient and antioxidant that stimulates collagen, activates cellular metabolism to encourage faster cell turnover, fades brown spots and discoloration, and improves skin firmness. Other than sunscreen, it’s one of the most tried-and-true biologically-proven topical anti-aging ingredients. Retinol can give remarkable results for resurfacing the skin’s texture to give a smooth-as-glass finish, as long as it’s used consistently. Simply put, it’s an anti-aging powerhouse that can be tolerated by even sensitive skin types. It’s different in that it is one of the most studied and proven ingredients on the market. It truly has the ability to create permanent change for the look of the skin.” — Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician
We suggest: Renée Rouleau's Advanced Resurfacing Serum ($84)
"Unfortunately no cream is able to get rid of cellulite. However, topical cellulite products containing caffeine can draw fluid from fat cells to temporarily improve the appearance of the skin. It works better than any other easily accesible ingredient when it comes to smoothing stubborn skin." — Dr. Hadley King, board certified dermatologist at NYC's SKINNEY Medspa
We suggest: Vichy's Cellu Destock Intensive Smoothing Treatment ($40)
“AHAs (including glycolic, lactic, and fruit acids) are helpful in reducing wrinkles, fine lines, irregular pigmentation, age spots, and decreasing the size of enlarged pores by exfoliating away dead surface cells that age the skin. AHAs exfoliate the skin, and exfoliation triggers repair, producing newer, fresher, younger-looking skin. I have been using it on my own skin as well as recommending it to my clients since 1990, so I know for sure that it gives tried and true results. It’s different from most ingredients in that it addresses and treats so many skin issues. From fading brown spots from sun, hormones or post-breakout discoloration to smoothing the skin’s texture to reducing the appearance of large pores to softening fine lines, to reducing dryness and increasing lipid production—there’s simply no one that cannot get some benefit. (Of course, you should make sure to use the appropriate percentage and formula for your skin type).” — Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician
We suggest: Mario Badescu's A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer ($20)
“A virtual beauty panacea, virgin coconut oil is a superior moisturizer that replaces lost lipids in the skin and helps repair damage from environmental factors. It’s fast-absorbing, non-greasy, and naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. Because the fats are similar to those native to the skin, virgin coconut oil rarely causes breakouts. You want to make sure that the coconut oil you’re using on your skin is cosmetic grade—look for terms such as farm-processed, wet milled, centrifuge extraction, refrigeration separation, and enzyme separation. When’s it’s this pure, you can even cook with it or oil pull!” — Dr. Vermén Verall-Rowell, dermatologist and VMV Hypoallergenics founder
We suggest: RMS Beauty’s Raw Coconut Cream ($18)
“A stable, no-sting form of vitamin C, it helps to lighten brown sun spots, prevent blackheads, even out skin tone, lift discoloration from breakout scars and reduce the appearance of wrinkles while encouraging collagen production. It also prevents environmental damage while giving the skin a brighter and fresher look. Durham, N.C.–based Duke University Medical Center researchers determined that using a lotion or serum with both vitamins C and E under sunscreen actually provides four times the protection of sunscreen alone, so this is an added benefit. Because vitamin C has been one of the most extensively researched antioxidants in skincare, I find it to be one of the very best topical age preventers. It’s found to be extremely effective in interfering with many aging free radicals found in the environment (such as sunlight, stress, and pollutants), and even the most sensitive skin types can tolerate it. In comparison to other forms of vitamin C, it stays fresher and more active longer and it isn’t as acidic, so it doesn’t cause stinging, redness, or irritation.” — Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician
We suggest: Skinmedica's Vitamin C+E Complex ($102)
Which of these ingredients will you prioritize next? Share with us in the comments below!