Handheld light beams. Micro-pulse vibrations. The latest skin-transforming gadgets and treatments may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but don't let the high-tech flourishes intimidate you: These "skinovations" are actually making it easier to get younger, flawless-looking skin, without having to deal with prescriptions or invasive procedures. And that's no science fiction.
Save you from RX hassle!
New over-the-counter lotions deliver (almost) the same benefit as their prescription cousinswithout the wait time at the pharmacy counter.
Derm-prescribed skin-bleaching creams often contain a skin-irritating ingredient called hydroquinone. Now there are new, non-hydroquinone-based OTC lighteners that are less likely to produce a reaction, says Tina Alster, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. Both La Roche-Posay Mela-D Pigment Control Correcting Serum ($59; laroche-posay.us) and SkinCeuticals Pigment Regulator ($85; skinceuticals.com) contain 2% kojic acid to break down melanin in your skin and prevent new spots from forming.
Prescription retinoids, which are vitamin A derivatives that boost collagen and speed up cell turnover, give you smoother skin, but they also may cause redness and flaking.
Good news: New OTC products with retinol have time-release formulas or added moisturizers, to lessen irritation, says Heidi Waldorf, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night ($21; neutrogena.com) mixes retinol with hyaluronic acid, while SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex ($55; skinmedica.com) contains time-released microparticles that slowly pump out vitamin A. You could also go the more natural route: Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum ($55; origins.com) swaps traditional retinol for African Anogeissus, made from the bark of a West African tree.