Beauty & Skincare

A Dermatologist Spills: These Are the Skincare Splurges That Are Actually Worth It

written by ERIN CELLETTI

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Source: @drdennisgross
Source: @drdennisgross

As a beauty and skincare writer, I often get to try out the latest and greatest products and learn all about the hottest gadgets and new releases—but it isn’t very often I get my hands on the best skincare splurges. You know, the stuff you add to cart but always kind of hesitate to click “buy”?

But as I recently celebrated a birthday that puts me closer to 40 than 30 (OMG), I’ve been thinking about making the leap and investing in some high-tech and high-ticket items to help keep my skin looking its best.

So before I commit, I did the next best thing and turned to NYC-based and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman for her insight on some of the best skincare splurges I’ve been eyeing and have heard some incredible things about—but are a bit (or a lot) of an investment. Here’s what she had to say.

Meet the expert
Dr. Dendy Engelman
Board-Certified Dermatologist

What You Need to Know About Expensive Skincare

Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge skincare by its price tag. Dr. Engelman says that higher-priced skincare isn’t always indicative of quality or results. 

However, she says, “I think oftentimes a product with a higher price tag means there are better quality actives or a higher concentration of an ingredient,” so reading labels and understanding ingredients, concentrations, and formulations is really important. 

Mixing and matching is a great way to be smart about skincare investments, mixing in quality lower-ticket items for good company. “There are so many effective and affordable drugstore skincare products that are great for treating the skin and targeted skin conditions that I often recommend to my patients,” Dr. Engelman says. Personally, she loves to invest in antioxidants, a good retinol, eye cream, and anti-aging moisturizer.

For things like cleansers, makeup removers, mists, and lip care, she says, “There is not always a need to splurge for every product in your skincare regimen. I always like to pick and choose a few different investment-worthy products that truly are clinically-backed and have better results and quality.”

The Best Skincare Splurges to Try for Yourself

Dr. Dennis Gross Dr. X Spectralite FaceWare Pro

Though it looks straight out of a sci-fi movie, this mask is a must-have amongst skincare aficionados, so I had to ask Dr. Engelman her thoughts. She said, “This multi-use device is designed to target fine lines and wrinkles, redness, acne, and blemishes, utilizing advanced technology like red light and blue light therapy. Long-term usage of this mask offers more permanent and visible results than products alone, making it absolutely worth the investment and an impactful addition to any skincare routine.”

Dermstore | Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
DrX Spectralight FaceWare Pro
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NuFACE Mini+

Microcurrent has been a buzzword in the skincare realm for quite some time now, and this at-home device seems to be leading the pack in retail options. When asked about it, Dr. Engelman says, “This at-home device sculpts facial muscles and tones the face over time. In the past, this is typically a treatment you’d have to go in-office to have done. Being able to perform this at home, over time, will make this product worth the investment and end up actually saving you money down the line.” I’m sold.

Mini+ Bundle

2 colors available

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A.G.E. Advanced Eye Care by SkinCeuticals

A leading luxury skincare brand, SkinCeuticals products get a lot of hype, particularly their eye treatment. Dr. Engeleman says, “The eye area is very delicate, so you want to be using a cream that is formulated with gentle but still effective ingredients. This eye cream contains powerful ingredients for targeting dark circles, crow’s feet, and other common concerns while ensuring the potency isn’t too abrasive to the undereye area.” 

She also says that when you’re choosing an eye cream, “It’s important to keep in mind the different price points will offer different levels of results and sensitivity, making it a part of your skincare routine that is worth spending a little more money on.”

Dermstore | SKinCeuticals
A.G.E. Advanced Eye Care
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R-Retinoate® Day & Night by Medik8

Incorporating vitamin A into your skincare routine can be daunting for those with sensitive skin, as it can be powerful and drying when not used correctly. “This day and night cream from Medik8 was designed with a unique, patented encapsulation system so the potent retinyl retinoate can be absorbed into the skin over a period of time, allowing people with even the most sensitive skin to experience the powerful benefits without the risk of irritation,” Dr. Engelman says. She adds, “Keeping in mind this technology was developed in the brand’s in-house lab, you know this formulation is high quality and worth the price point.”

R-Retinoate Day & Night Youth Awakening Cream
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The Lyma Laser

Another one of Dr. Engelman’s favorite skincare tools that’s worthy of its price tag is the Lyma laser, and she calls it one of her favorites. She says, “This clinical-grade, FDA-cleared laser has infrared laser light technology and is perfect for at-home use. It targets deep down into the dermis and stimulates collagen and elastin production and treats signs of aging, elasticity, texture, and tone. It is 100 times more powerful than traditional LED lights and is cold, painless, and has zero downtime. It is definitely an investment, but it has longevity and medical grade results.”

The LYMA Laser
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Qure Micro-Infusion Facial System

“I love Qure’s at-home 2-in-1 micro-infusion system because although it is a bit more of a splurge, it is a cost-effective, at-home option for getting medical grade results,” says Dr. Engelman. If you can’t get into your favorite office or medspa for frequent facials, this just might become your new best friend. 

She adds, “It has great enhanced penetration with 24k gold needles and is safe and effective with a safety mechanism that makes sure the needles don’t penetrate the skin too deeply or disrupt the skin. This at-home microneedling treatment helps target uneven skin tone and texture, firm and rejuvenate skin, and boost the skin’s glow.”

Micro-Infusion Facial System
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Dr. Engelman’s Personal Pick: A Splurge-Worthy Treatment

When asked to share her personal pick for an in-office procedure that’s worth its weight, Dr. Engelman said it’s CO2 fractionated laser resurfacing (also called Fraxel). She says it “is one of the best in-office treatments that is worth every penny, in my opinion. I love getting this once a year to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin as well as accelerate collagen and elastin production. It is around $1,500 to $3,500 a treatment, and although there is a few days of downtime, it is well worth it.”