As much as we love learning and reading about skincare, the abundance of products can feel a little overwhelming—not to mention expensive. Do you really need to spend hundreds of dollars on products that actually work? No, which is why we checked in with three dermatologists for their favorite drugstore skincare products.
The 14 Best Drugstore Skincare Products, According to Dermatologists
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A quick look at the experts:
- Elizabeth Mullans, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Uptown Dermatology in Houston, Texas
- Dr. Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City
- Dr. Sherrene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist at Idriss Dermatology in New York City
1. Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser
We should be cleansing our face thoroughly before applying any skincare, right? Right. But what’s the best way? Per Dr. Mullans, this CeraVe cleanser is non-irritating, non-drying and removes all traces of makeup. Oh, and for what it’s worth, it’s also fragrance-free.
2. Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash With Sea Minerals
Best Body Wash
An exfoliator is a great addition to any skincare routine. It doesn’t only remove dead skin cells but it also promotes healthy, smooth skin. Dr. King recommends this creamy wash that moisturizes and protects the skin. She adds that the key ingredient (sea minerals) makes this a gentle exfoliant, so no irritation or dryness is involved.
3. L’oreal Revitalift Night Serum
Best Retinol Serum
Dr. Idriss is a big fan of this drugstore retinol. She tells us it’s a great option for retinol beginners because of the lightweight and gentle formula. And thanks to ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, there’s no worrying about drying out your skin.
4. Neutrogena Alcohol-free Toner
Post-cleansing, a toner restores hydration and rebalances your skin’s pH levels, making it easier to absorb serums and creams. This one doesn’t cause any irritation, making it an excellent option for those with sensitive skin. If yours is oily, Dr. Mullans recommends a toner with witch hazel (like this one from Thayer’s).
5. Differin Gel 0.1%
Best Spot Treatment
This stuff used to be available only by prescription but is now sold over the counter. Per Dr. Mullans, this is stronger than retinol, and has two effects: unclogging pores and repairing previous sun damage, which causes fine lines and wrinkles. Because it’s so strong, you only need to use a pea-sized amount for your entire face—and shouldn’t use it around your eyes. She also suggests starting out using it three nights a week, and gradually increasing it to every night to prevent irritation.
6. Olay Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream
This 7-in-1 cream is all about reducing discoloration, replenishing and restoring your skin. Per Dr. King, the eye cream is rich in vitamins and antioxidants like niacinamide (which she points out helps improve tone and texture). So whether you’re in the market for a product that fades dark spots, boosts hydration or restores firmness, this one’s for you.
7. Roc Correxion Eye Cream
Best Eye Cream
Dr. Mullans is a fan of this affordable eye cream, which is formulated for sensitive eyes and contains retinol to help correct fine lines and wrinkles.
8. Eucerin Roughness Relief Body Lotion
Best Body Lotion
Dr. King recommends a hydrating lotion especially for the colder months ahead. This pick contains glycerin and shea butter, so expect a hydrating boost for up to 48 hours. She also highlights how it’ll smooth and soften rough, dry and/or bumpy skin.
9. Neutrogena Hydroboost Gel
According to Dr. Mullans, this gel formula prevents dryness without clogging pores and absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving any residue. It’s perfect for year-round use, but it’s especially lovely in the summer, thanks to the gel’s cooling effect.
10. Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum
Best Hydrating Serum
According to Dr. Idriss, a hydrating serum is a must for dry and oily skin. For super dry areas, a few drops can provide the right amount of moisture, and for people with oily skin, rest easy knowing that it won’t cause any breakouts or irritation. The derm also praises the oat fortified component that makes it extra soothing, especially for sensitive skin.
11. Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream
Best Night Cream
Dr. King couldn’t stop raving about this night cream’s ingredients. It features vitamin B3, retinol complex, glycerin and pro-ceramides, which can moisturize and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, it protects your skin while you catch some zzzs.
12. Laroche Posay Anthelios Ultra-light Fluid Facial Sunscreen Spf 60
We don’t need to tell you how important it is to wear sunscreen every day, but we can tell you which one comes with a dermatologist’s seal of approval. This one, Dr. Mullans tells us, absorbs quickly without leaving any chalky residue behind.
13. Melé Even Tone Post Cleanse Tonic
Best for Melanin-Rich Skin
According to Dr. King, this post-cleanse tonic is a great choice for melanin-rich skin. When dark spots are your main concern, the combo of lactic acid and vitamin C hydrates, brightens and exfoliates for a radiant complexion. All you need is a cotton pad to sweep the product all over your face, neck and chest for the best results.
14. First Aid Beauty Kp Smoothing Body Lotion
Best for Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis Pilaris (KP for short) can often leave small and rough bumps. Dr. King recommends a gentle lotion to smooth skin and ease any irritation. This lotion that combines lactic acid and colloidal oatmeal exfoliates and protects the skin.