Sometimes, the real gems—we're talking about skin saviors that can extend a youthful appearance for many years—can only be found at a medi-spa or dermatologist's office near you.
No health insurance? No problem. You don't need a prescription to buy these brands. However, they will generally cost you a great deal more than your drugstore favorites. Why? These are medical-grade products, or they contain higher concentrations of ingredients like vitamin C, retinol or other compounds that, if not specifically recommended for your skin, can harm it. Basically, you really should consult a certified professional before using them.
Hero Product: AlphaRet Overnight Cream Review, $110
This brand first debuted in physician offices nationwide in August 2016, and in the same year, its overnight cream garnered an Allure Best of Beauty Award. This brand is all about its delivery system—no, not product shipments or mailings; we're talking about how active ingredients are efficiently absorbed through the skin and lipid layers (without the good stuff getting blocked by protective barriers). You're getting the most bang for a pretty big buck here.
Hero Product: Alpha Toner Forte, $46
Now this brand has been around the block, specifically in the 90210 area. Celeb dermatologists and aestheticians, including Alexis Bledel's skin guru, are big fans of the cutting-edge technology and science behind their skin-care products and tools. Their range is extensive; starting from gentle formulas to the more potent concentrations, depending on your skin-care needs.
Hero Product: UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen, $29.50
We've introduced you to this brand before. In fact, we still stand by our claim that its broad spectrum sunscreen is the holy grail of sunblocks. While this Swiss-American company's bread and butter is in the sun-care game, which is tailored to all different skin types, they do have an impressive skin-care range, including an eye gel that promises visible improvements for wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness in just days.
Hero Product: C E Ferulic, $163
Probably the most recognizable and one of the few derm brands to be sold online, SkinCeuticals has many a celeb fan. The whole mantra of this brand is to bring science-based skin care to the masses, which is why their daytime serum, which contains 15 percent pure vitamin C, is a best-seller and has won numerous beauty awards.
Hero Product: Hyalis Hydrating Serum, $70
The logic behind this brand just makes sense: Use skin cell proteins—full of antioxidants, collagen and other nutrients—to grow new, smoother skin. This brand is often recommended for skin damaged by trauma (for scars, burns or deep wrinkles). Eventually, skin does even out with use, but you have to be pretty consistent to see its full effects.