These budget-friendly products work wonders—and they're endorsed by the experts.

By Linley Sanders
Updated December 04, 2019
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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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.

Courtesy of Ulta

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.

Buy It: Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, $27, Ulta

Courtesy of Target

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.

Buy It: Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Facial Cleanser, $7.99, Target

Courtesy of Walmart

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.

Buy It: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Foaming Salicylic Acid Facial Scrub, $7.47, Walmart

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Buy It: OXY Face Wash With 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, $5.49, Amazon

Courtesy of Ulta

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.

Buy It: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser For Normal To Dry Skin, $14.99, Ulta

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Buy It: Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Repair Cream, $10.90, Amazon

Courtesy of Walmart

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.

Buy It: La Roche Posay Oil-Free Sunscreen, $18.85, Walmart

Courtesy of Target

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.

Buy It: Differin Adapalene Gel, $13.99, Target

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Buy It: Pura D'or Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, $14.00 Amazon

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