9 Drugstore Skincare Products Dermatologists Swear By
These budget-friendly products work wonders—and they're endorsed by the experts.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so you want to make sure you're taking care of it, especially as you get older. Instead of trying every cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen on drugstore shelves, we went straight to the experts. We talked to certified dermatologists across America to find the best tried-and-true skincare products they recommend to their clients. (As a bonus, all of these items are affordable along with being effective.) Whether you need a cleanser for dry skin or a solution to treat old acne marks, here are the best picks for every skincare concern that won't have you spending a small fortune.
Salicylic Acid Gel
When a zit suddenly appears overnight, it can often be treated quickly with a small dab of a highly concentrated topical acne treatment product—also known as a spot treatment. Valerie Goldburt, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, recommends this gel to her patients. The treatment gel contains salicylic acid, which helps dissolve blackheads and whiteheads.
Treat reoccurring breakouts with an acne wash that's tough on blemishes but gentle on skin. This oil-free wash is a dermatologist and patient favorite because it's effective but doesn't smell medicinal.
Foaming Facial Scrub
Brent Wainwright, a CareMount dermatologist in New York and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, encourages those with oily skin to use gentle facial cleansers that will tackle oil without overdrying the skin, which sparks more oil production. This scrub uses salicylic acid to minimize oil while exfoliating the skin's surface.
Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser
When tiny blackheads speckle your complexion, Goldburt recommends products with benzoyl peroxide, a bacteria-bashing medication included in some acne treatments. She suggests the drugstore acne medication OXY 10 that contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. For more extreme cases, she recommends talking to a dermatologist about prescription options like Tretinoin.
Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Wainwright points patients with dry skin to CeraVe cleansers because they're gentle and moisturizing. CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser markets itself for normal and dry skin, and it boasts key hydrating ingredients like ceramides to help rebuild the skin's protective barrier and hyaluronic acid, which draws hydration into the skin's surface.
If dry skin is your main skincare concern, shop for moisturizing products with ceramides. Regular exposure to drying elements, including low humidity and high wind, can deplete the skin of its protective barrier and make it prone to dryness. To replenish the skin's natural moisture barrier, Wainwright recommends a drugstore-friendly moisturizer like this cream that caters to dry skin.
We should all be wearing a strong SPF to battle the sun's rays—and avoid acne and wrinkles, too. For an effective sunscreen that keeps pores clear, Lindsey A. Bordone, a dermatologist in the Department of Dermatology of Columbia University Medical Center, recommends La Roche-Posay, which has broad-spectrum UVA protection with antioxidants. Plus, it's not sticky.
Topical Retinoid Gel
Differin, a medication that helps with acne and post-acne skin discoloration, is now available over the counter. Bordone recommends using it every other day and then applying it daily if the skin can tolerate it without irritation. Differin includes a retinoid, which is kind of like a light chemical peel, she says. It can dry out skin but increases cell turnover and speeds up the healing process.
Natural Rosehip Oil
Organic rosehip seed oil is lauded by the beauty community for its anti-aging beta-carotene property, which serves as an antioxidant that provides Vitamin A. Plus, it smells sweet and is an affordable and light moisturizer. Natural oils like rosehip and jojoba are ideal moisturizers for normal aging skin, but dryer complexions may need to consider a stronger solution.