Original Illustration by Ellie Benuska
There are SO many skincare options available, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. What's the best cream for dry skin? What cleanser will work for me? It's difficult to know the correct answer to all those questions. We try tons of different products every week to help narrow it down and give our best advice on what will work for you. But sometimes we need to ask for help too.
As such, I reached out to my favorite dermatologist, Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group, for her best advice. I asked—if she could pick just three—the skincare brands she would pick over all the rest. I was shocked (and elated) to hear two out of the three of her choices were drugstore brand offerings. Curious which brands made the cut? Keep reading to find out.
"It's an incredible line of products that has no parabens, lanolin, formaldehyde, or dyes," Nazarian exclaims. "Vanicream products are calming to skin, decrease inflammation, and help replace key ingredients for optimal skin health, like ceramides. They aren't fancy, but it's a solid product that is great for skin—and it doesn't matter where you apply it. It helps facial skin and body skin the same way."
Nazarian continues, "I love their tried-and-true original Vanicream Lite Lotion ($12). It's an amazing moisturizing cream that helps treat dry skin, absorbs quickly, and improves the strength of skin. It contains ceramides and enhances the skins ability to retain moisture."
See below for more Vanicream favorites.
A gentle and mild soap-free formula, this cleansing bar is formulated without dyes, fragrance, and parabens to keep irritation at bay.
A thicker version of the lite lotion, this moisturizing skin cream is intensely hydrating.
"Neutrogena has all the basics at a completely affordable cost," Nazarian explains. "Everything is noncomedogenic. They keep up with the newest trending ingredients for skin (hyaluronic acid, retinol, etc.), and the quality of the ingredients is really, really great. Plus, they give the ingredients an added edge—the hyaluronic acid also has olive oil extract, which is another anti-aging ingredient, and their retinol is boosted with added ingredients to help penetration and give accelerated results."
She adds, "Neutrogena makes a Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer ($18). It contains retinol, which helps stimulate collagen, while also improving fine lines and wrinkles. It's a fantastic anti-aging cream that doesn't cause acne. It's at a perfectly low price point—which is great because I expect my patients to stay on a retinol for life!"
See below for more Neutrogena favorites.
Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Night Concentrate ($15) uses time release technology to continuously moisturize while you sleep. Tiny beads filled with vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and olive extract will leave your skin supple and bouncy come morning.
The cult favorite of all makeup wipes, this pack is popular for a reason. In just one swipe (or three if you're wearing waterproof mascara) you can remove every trace of makeup on your face, leaving behind clean skin without any stickiness.
Meant to quench dry skin and fill fine lines and wrinkles, this water-gel formula might look small, but it packs a seriously hydrating punch.
"Elta MD has great combinations so that each product multitasks," Nazarian says. "Everything in the entire line is oil-free, so no flaring of acne or rosacea conditions will occur." She adds, "They make an incredible sunscreen—UV Clear ($14)—it contains niacinamide, which helps with redness, it's a gentle sunscreen with high SPF, safe for sensitive skin, goes on light, and never leaves a white residue. And it's gentle enough for those with rosacea."
See below for more Elta MD favorites.
If you love a thick, rich foam—this cleanser is for you. It's great for sensitive skin, as it removes dirt, oil, and makeup, without irritation.
Relieve dry, itchy skin with Elta MD's fragrance-free lotion that protects your face, body, and hands against environmental aggressors like harsh climates and dryness.
Now, find out which eight things your dermatologist wants you to stop doing.