Ah, that bronzed, tan, summery glow. Supermodels have it. Beach babes adore it. They’ll pay…later. Tanning is the leading cause of premature aging. If you spent your youth ignoring sun and safety warnings, expect to see fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin staring back at you from the mirror sooner than you might expect.

Laser therapy is getting a lot of love because it reverses photoaging. It comes with a hefty price tag ranging from $500.00 – $5,000.00. You don’t have to choose between spending a fortune or living without the effects of sun damage.

These products won't have as dramatic an impact as laser therapy, but they can help. Each costs less than $20:


Retinols and carotenoids are the most common forms of vitamin A lauded for their effects on sun-damaged skin. Dermatologists at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine say prescription retinoid products are better than over-the-counter brands when it comes to premature aging from sun damage. Still, the cost of the doctor's visit and the prescription might put that out of reach for some bargain hunters.

Try this more affordable retinoid cream product found on Amazon.com. Retin-A (also known as tretinoin or retinoic acid) has a more direct effect on your skin than retinol. You’ll spend much less for this Retin-A gel — about $15 — than other wrinkle creams such as SkinMedica Dermal Repair cream, which at $54, contains a less effective form of vitamin A. Caution: although you can buy Retin-A online without a prescription, it’s still a good idea to get advice from a dermatologist or pharmacist if you’ve never used it before.


You're probably more used to thinking of carotenoids as part of your nutrition than as skin-healing compounds. Putting some carrots in a blender to purée and apply as a mask will save you a lot of money, but it may not be as effective as 40 Carrots Vitamin Serum. The formula contains not only retinoids, but also vitamin C and soluble collagen. Soluble collagen is broken down into smaller molecules to easily pass through your skin and is more effective rebuilding collagen destroyed by sun damage.

Glycolic Acid

Cosmetics guru Paul Begoun, author of The Original Beauty Bible and Don't Go to the Cosmetics Without Me, says hydroxy acids fell out of favor for treating photodamaged skin when lasers hit. Depending on the amount of wrinkling you have, hydroxy acid peels can significantly resurface your skin.

Chemical peels, such as those containing glycolic or salicylic acid, come in different concentrations. The higher the concentration, the more noticeable the effects. Caution: stronger peels are also more dangerous, increasing your risk of swelling, scarring and infection. Begoun advises applying several milder peels, which can have the same effect as a more concentrated peel such as phenol.

Try this Skin Obsession version, which is currently discounted 83 percent off at just $13.99 on Amazon. You might also want to invest in the neutralizer.

Finally, remember to apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF before going outdoors. These products can make your skin more photosensitive.

This has been a guest post by Andrea from Ontario, Canada
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Picture Perfect: Products Under $20 for Sun-Damaged Skin