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Most Effective OTC Skin Care

Most Effective OTC Skin Care


Over-the-counter skin care products can help treat acne, keep your skin healthy, prevent sun damage and slow the signs of aging. While there are many options available at drug, discount and cosmetics retailers, choosing effective ingredients in your skin care products is key to healthy skin.


The products you need for your skin depend upon your age and skin type. A gentle cleanser and moisturizer with sunscreen are essential for all skin types. Opt for products with retinol, alpha-hydroxy acid or antioxidant compounds for aging skin or choose benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for acne prone skin. Retinols and alpha-hydroxy acid encourage cell turnover and may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Benzoyl peroxide reduces levels of the P. acnes bacteria on the skin to prevent breakouts, while salicylic acid can help to clear pores and treat blackheads.


Cleansers should be mild and not overly drying. Opt for a lotion or creamy cleanser for dry skin and a liquid or gel for oilier skin. Avoid cleansers that contain medicated ingredients, as they may be irritating, recommends Select an over-the-counter moisturizer made for your skin type, whether you have dry, sensitive, normal or oily skin, recommends Moisturizers for aging skin are typically richer and may contain additional anti-aging ingredients.


Treat special skin concerns with products containing proven, effective ingredients. If you are battling acne, opt for benzoyl peroxide to fight the bacteria that causes acne and help to clear your skin. Many over the counter anti-aging products contain retinol and vitamin A compounds to encourage cell turnover and help fight the signs of aging, writes Melissa Magsaysay in the Jan. 10, 2010, "Los Angeles Times" article "Effective Skin Care Products at Affordable Prices."


Recognizing your skin type can help you to choose the right products. If your skin is easily irritated, red or blotchy, you likely have sensitive skin and should select hypoallergenic products, according to "Harper's Bazaar." Dry skin may feel tight or be prone to flaking. If you find you need to wash your face frequently or your makeup does not hold up, oily skin may be an issue. Normal skin feels neither dry and flaky nor excessively oily. Combination skin may have areas that are oily, normal or dry.

Time Frame

Your skin care needs and which products work best will change over time. Teens typically have oilier skin and may need products to manage acne. While acne may continue for some people, for others, gentler products are appropriate after adolescence. Additional moisture may be required as skin dries with age. Adjust your skin care routine according to your needs, opting for a richer moisturizer if your skin is drier and adding anti-aging products as your skin ages.

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