The Drugstore Anti-Aging Cream That Actually Works

By Lillian Fallon··  5 min read
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drugstore anti-aging cream

Since entering my 20s, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on skincare. It all began when my skin, which was perfect throughout high school, decided to develop a weird form of acne during college.

So instead of leaving my gawky teenage years behind me, I entered into adulthood with skin so bad I barely left my dorm room. One time I answered the door, and my roommate's friend blatantly asked, “What’s going on with your skin?”

Trying Retinol

Cue my frantic search for a cure. This lead me to a little product called Retin-a. Have you heard of it? It makes your skin fall off your face. But after six months of dermis hell, your skin will emerge bright, clear, and smooth! So after I spent half a year looking like a burn victim, my acne was gone, and my face was like a baby’s bottom. Another great benefit of using Retin-a, or any form of retinol, is its anti-aging properties.

Derived from vitamin A, retinol speeds up the skin cell turnover process, keeping your skin plump and wrinkle-free.

Derived from vitamin A, it speeds up the skin cell turnover process, keeping your skin plump and wrinkle-free. Sounds like the fountain of youth, right? The downside is the never-ending trial and error process of learning which products don’t mix with retinol. No matter what skincare products I used with my retinol, my skin revolted. One time I decided to get into non-comedogenic oils, including the uber trendy Vinter’s Daughter serum. I’ll never forget waking up and looking in the mirror to find myself wearing a red mask - except it was just my face.

As I got older, I kept using retinol to keep the acne at bay and as an anti-aging precaution. Since retinol dries out skin yet rejects any oil-based moisturizers, my skin was extremely dehydrated, thin, and constantly peeling. So when I hit 26 and noticed a pretty serious lookin’ laugh line, I asked myself, “Why am I torturing my skin with retinol when it’s not even working?!” So I chucked the Retin-a tube in the trash and headed to the drugstore to find a substitute.

Finding the Product That Actually Worked

As I perused the aisles, overwhelmed by the options, I remembered how nice my mom’s skin is and how she’s been a die-hard Olay user for over 20 years. I then remembered that my best friend’s mom (who has beautiful skin too) also uses Olay. So I found myself in front of the Olay display and picked up a product titled Olay Regenerist, Microsculpt. A quick search through google on my phone revealed a combined 30k reviews from Amazon, Ulta, and Walmart - all rating this particular Olay product as 4.5 stars out of 5.

Olay Regenerating

I brought it home and started using it right away. When I woke up the next morning, my skin was bright, clear, and plump. As I kept using it both morning and night, my skin stopped peeling, it was no longer red or irritated, wounds healed more quickly, and that laugh line I spotted a year earlier had disappeared. I marveled at the shiny ruby jar, thinking, “You mean I’ve been throwing hundreds at expensive skincare products when I could’ve been spending less than $30 this whole time?”

When I woke up the next morning, my skin was bright, clear, and plump.

Curious about this drugstore product’s magical effect, I looked up exactly why it was so effective. The ingredients include hyaluronic acid which locks in moisture, peptides that signal your skin cells to produce new collagen, and niacinamide (a.k.a. vitamin B3) which helps improve the appearance of enlarged pores, redness, dullness, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and improves the skin barrier. Sounds like an all-star lineup, don’t you think? According to The Derm Review, Olay Regenerist Microsculpt “outperformed 10 competitors, even a prestige brand that costs $440, in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab’s clinical and blinded consumer studies.” There’s some serious science backing up this powerful little product.

Most recently, I worked a bridal runway show and the woman who hired me to model asked how old I was. I replied, “27” and she gasped saying, “I thought you were 23 this whole time -- I need to know everything you do for your skin!” While I hardly think 27 is an age where you should be showing drastic signs of aging, I decided to take it as a compliment and told her I use Olay. The makeup artist then chimed in, “All the models I work with use Olay Regenerist.” Take that, Retin-a!

The makeup artist then chimed in, “All the models I work with use Olay Regenerist.” Take that, Retin-a!

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, wrinkles aren’t something we should obsess over. Aging is not an enemy, but a privilege many don’t get to experience. Sometimes I look at the creases in my skin, and I think, “Damn, look how far you’ve come, girl.” It’s also okay to want to take preventative measures and keep the wrinkles in check if you so desire. But after spending my 20s going through a lot of pain and frustration through the trial and error of using harsh products, I’ve realized the priority should always be healthy skin. I learned a happy, healthy complexion is one where you’re not battling peeling, irritation, and pain.

The ingredients in anti-aging skincare products provide benefits that go beyond banishing fine lines. Anti-aging products get a bad rap thanks to the archaic stereotype of a woman desperately attempting to turn back the clock. Today, we know it’s about investing in your skin’s health with ingredients that maintain your skin’s natural functions. It’s not about constantly trying to look younger than you are; it’s about taking care of the skin that takes care of you.

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