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Plastic Surgeon Shares Affordable "Anti-Aging Powerhouse" to Keep Skin Young

This form of vitamin A comes in serums, creams, gels, and lotions.

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If you struggle with adult acne, dark sunspots, or fine lines, you know it takes a lot more than an average skincare routine to fight the effects of aging skin. Staying hydrated and well-rested can help, but oftentimes, we need something with a little more oomph to make a noticeable, long-lasting difference. The skincare market is saturated with products claiming to boost youthful, radiant skin. But according to a plastic surgeon, there's only one anti-aging ingredient you really need to prioritize. And best of all, it's cheaper than Botox.

RELATED: Dermatologists Share the Best Drugstore Skincare Products: "Anything More Is Not Necessary."

Signs of aging skin can vary depending on past regimens and your lifestyle. However, some of the most common effects include wrinkles and laugh lines, age spots, roughness, scars, thinning, and loss of skin elasticity. Facial cleansers and creams made with ingredients such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide can help alleviate some of the less desirable changes.

However, retinol is the fairy godmother of anti-aging skincare products, says dermatologist Christopher Costa, MD.

"Retinol is a true anti-aging powerhouse," Costa told The U.S. Sun. "It stimulates collagen production, improves skin texture, enhances skin firmness, and reduces fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage."

Retinol is a form of vitamin A. It's applied topically and can be found in a variety of forms, including creams, gels, lotions, ointments, and serums, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Additionally, retinol "accelerates cell turnover which promotes the shedding of dead skin cells to reveal more healthy, glowing, youthful skin," added Costa.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, retinol fights against acne, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, large pores, psoriasis, stretch marks, and wrinkles. "Retinol has many skin-clearing and anti-aging benefits. Retinol increases the thickness and elasticity of your skin, slows the production of melanin, reduces inflammation and prevents clogged pores," explains the health agency.

The anti-aging ingredient is fairly affordable, too. The Ordinary sells a high-strength retinol serum for just $9.30, while Ulta has CeraVe's retinol serum for acne-prone skin priced at $22.99.

Because retinol can easily irritate the skin, new patients are advised to use it only once every few days in the beginning. Common side effects include redness, itching, or burning, which should subside after the initial application. If they don't, stop using the product and speak with a dermatologist.

RELATED: 38-Year-Old Says One-Ingredient "Miracle Juice" Makes Her Look 10 Years Younger.

Though Costa suggests adding retinol to your skincare routine, he also recommends avoiding certain TikTok fads that could actually be aging your skin, like the popular hyaluron pen trend.

"These are essentially off-brand, unregulated fillers being administered by unqualified people," he explained of the "extremely dangerous" needle-free injectors.

According to Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, hyaluron pens "use compressed air pressure to push hyaluronic acid through your skin into the deeper tissue to help create the appearance of fuller, plumper lips." The injections can cause bruising, scarring, and, in some cases, even infection.

Costa warned they can also cause "vascular issues if the product gets into the bloodstream, and even blindness."

Another trend Costa says to avoid is sunscreen contouring.

"This is when people try to contour by applying sunscreen to the areas they don't want to tan to achieve a sculpted look," he explained. "This is directly contradictory to preserving the skin and anti-aging."

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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