12 Ways to Know If an Anti-Aging Product Is Worth Your Money

Ever wonder why certain skin care products — especially ones that tout revolutionary anti-aging capabilities — can sometimes cost an arm and a leg? In most cases, when you purchase one of these high-end products, you’re simply paying for the packaging and the branding. But there are other reasons skin care products can be so pricey — some small companies have high production and marketing costs, plus expensive ingredients.

But it’s important to remember that expensive does not mean better. “Do not be fooled into purchasing expensive products in a specialty store or department store counter without carefully examining the ingredient list,” Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet. To help you navigate the pricey waters of the skin care industry, we talked to top dermatologists to find out exactly how you can tell if a product’s worth your hard-earned money.

1. It contains retinol

moisturizing milk in the big milk splash

Retinol is a great ingredient to look for in your moisturizer. | iStock.com/katerinchik73

Retinol, also known as vitamin A, is a potent skin care ingredient that has many benefits. “It’s great for acne breakouts, great for dark spots, and it’s powerfully anti-aging,” Alan J. Parks, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and, founder of DermWarehouse, told us. “It helps renew skin cells and rejuvenates skin to give you that coveted glow.”

For first-time retinol users, Parks recommends SkinMedica Retinol Complex. “This nighttime, 0.5% retinol-based treatment really does renew the skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines,” he said.