When it comes to beauty product recommendations, we tend to look to everyone from our circle of friends to our imagined celeb BFFs (hey, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone). While that’s all well and good when we’re talking about the latest lipstick shade, it’s a bit more complicated than that when we’re talking skin care — what works brilliantly for one person may be complexion kryptonite for another.
If there’s anyone you should be taking skin care advice from, it’s (duh) a dermatologist. But, many people view derms as a last resort, the person to go to when nothing else has worked and your skin is in dire straits. According to every derm we’ve spoken to, this is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Working with your doctor to craft a product regimen that makes the most of your complexion is the smartest skin move any woman can make. And, despite popular opinion,there are absolutely things you can do at home to keep your individual skin issues in check, which will help make your dermatologist’s job way easier.
With that in mind, we talked to a few top derms to find out the skin care picks they wish their patients would use. From over-the-counter wonders to prescription-strength cure-alls, these are the products that the skin experts say you should be dropping your hard-earned dinero on.
OC8 Professional Mattifying Gel
“This is great for patients with acne, oily skin, or rosacea,” says Dr. Neil Sadick. “It diminishes acne breakouts and keeps the oil production on your skin even, so you don’t get oily or dry in certain areas. Regardless of whatever else you are doing for your skin to treat acne, this is a must.”
$41, AVAILABLE AT DRUGSTORE.COM.
Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Concetrated Serum
“[One of my favorite ingredients is] resveratrol,” says Dr. Sadick. “Anything that prevents free radical damage to your skin and slows down the aging process makes our job easier. I like Dior’s Capture Totale — I helped develop it. It has a very high-end antioxidant, living resveratrol. It also has a very strong anti-inflammatory agent that helps create a reduction in redness, pore size, and pigmentation.”
$145, AVAILABLE AT SEPHORA.
“The gold standard for anti-aging — it’s an at-home maintenance booster for collagen production,” says Dr. Sadick. “Regardless of what we are doing in-office — lasers, fillers, etc. — the results for anything we do will always be better if the patient is using this.”
PRICES VARY, AVAILABLE BY PRESCRIPTION ONLY.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer
“This is a great anti-aging retinol product that contains hyaluronic acid and has a great price point,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman. “It evens skin color, fades brown spots, and softens fine lines. Many people complain about discoloration and uneven spots. This is an inexpensive solution.”
$19.99, AVAILABLE AT TARGET.
Celfix DNA Youth Recovery Facial Serum
“Such a thin, light moisturizer, it goes right into skin and is not irritating,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It reverses sun damage because it contains plankton, and is great on any skin type. For those patients who have sun damage from years ago, this product helps repair that at home.”
$100, AVAILABLE AT JALIMAN MD.
Neocutis Hyalis Refining Serum
“Every woman knows to use moisturizer, but I do like to recommend a hydrating serum for patients with aging, sensitive skin,” says Dr. Bruce Katz. “This is a great hydrating serum because it is specially formulated to be free of alcohol, oil, silicone, and fragrance. It’s fast-acting, so your dry skin immediately feels moisturized and tighter, and you’re left looking and feeling healthier and younger. It typically is labeled post-procedure and anti-aging, so women overlook a product like this, but I recommend it for women of all ages with a range of skin types.”
$100, AVAILABLE AT SKINSTORE.
Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser
“Women with adult acne often reach for the products they used as teens, but adult skin is drier and more sensitive,” explains Dr. Whitney Bowe. “Throw in some of the early signs of aging, and products made for teens just won’t cut it. Products that cater to adult skin are a must, as they contain many added moisturizing and anti-aging benefits that aren’t necessarily right for teens. This cleanser is an all-star in this category — it contains salicylic acid, the gold standard in acne treatment and prevention at any age. It also adds a soy formula to help boost moisture and visibly improve skin tone and texture for healthier-looking skin.”
$6.79, AVAILABLE AT ULTA.
Liquimat Acne Treatment And Cover-Up Lotion
“Over-the-counter Liquimat is the best for blemishes until you can get in to see your derm,” says Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas. “This product allows you to treat as you cover. If you cover your blemishes with makeup, they fester and worsen over the course of the day. With this product, they shrink and heal up while you cover.”
$25, AVAILABLE AT LOVELYSKIN.
Neocutis Lumière Bio-Restorative Eye Cream
“This eye cream contains caffeine, which constricts blood vessels to nix darkness, while hyaluronic acid lifts and hydrates so your skin appears plumper and smoother,” says Dr. Jaliman. “The reason I recommend it is because so many patients complain about dark circles under their eyes. In the office we use the MedLite laser, but this is a great at-home supplement.”
$85, AVAILABLE AT DERMSTORE.
Wei Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask
“An easy treatment and remedy for a range of skin conditions and skin types is an at-home mask,” says Dr. Katz. “Specifically, I recommend using this velvety smooth mud mask — it uses golden root extract, an exceptionally powerful antioxidant that penetrates skin to neutralize free radicals and toxins. It also has pure China clay to lift dead skin cells and purge impurities from the pores. It is deep-cleaning without being drying, perfect to use all over the face or targeted to blemishes. A good mask should only take 10 minutes, so it’s a small time investment for impressive, healthy results.”
$42, AVAILABLE AT SPACENK.
Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
“This high SPF mineral block uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide instead of chemicals,” says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. “This is preferable in that minerals are safer and reflect light across all wavelengths. Chemical sunscreens absorb light and inactivate over time, and some have been linked with toxicity. In the past, mineral blocks caused an unappealing whitening to the skin, but this new one provides a nice flesh tone and therefore accomplishes what I always wanted in a daily block: mineral protection with a nice color sheen.”
$34, AVAILABLE AT SKINCEUTICALS.
L’Oréal True Match Super Blendable Makeup
“Ideally, I would want my patients to use makeup that does not plug their pores,” says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. “This one does not cause breakouts and has a variety of shades to match. Recently, my patient Daisy Johnson introduced me to Koh Gen Do, which seems to also be safe for acne yet gives good coverage.”
$6.42, AVAILABLE AT WALMART.
Vivité Night Renewal Facial Cream
“This is a great overnight treatment that packs a powerful anti-aging punch — it contains a 20% glycolic compound, plus protective antioxidants to aid in the repair of skin while you sleep. Using a cream such as this every night can significantly boost the results of chemicals peels I do in the office. I’ve seen people need half as many chemical peels to get the same result if they stick to this product every night in between the peels.”
$66, AVAILABLE AT DRUGSTORE.COM.
Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza
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