Cosmetic companies are jumping onto the “anti-aging” bandwagon, touting active ingredients that promise to reduce fine lines, even out skin tone, shrink pores and other miracles. You’ve probably noticed that a label that claims anti-aging benefits also carries a higher price tag than its neighbors on the drugstore shelf.  How is one to know if these products are worth the money?

Studies have shown that certain active ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, tretinoin, and hydroquinone, really do perform as promised. However, when it comes to over-the-counter skin products, buyer beware. OTC skin products are designed to be “one size fits all.” In other words, the amount of “active” ingredients may be so small as to be minimally effective. Cosmetic companies have to play it safe and therefore mass produce products that are suitable for every skin type.  When water is the first ingredient listed on the label and the “active” ingredient is way down on the list, you can bet you are paying mostly for the water, some preservatives and an aromatic fragrance, little of which will penetrate the skin.