With countless skin care products available for every skin type and concern under the sun, finding products that actually work can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, we have dermatologists to turn to. They spend their days studying and treating skin conditions, so it’s safe to say they know what’s best. That’s why we asked 10 of the nation’s top derms what product they would use if they could only choose one for the rest of their life. From basic to high-end, here’s how they would soothe and smooth their own complexions.
Scroll through the dermatologist recommended skin care picks below.
If you’re looking for a moisturizing ointment that will suit any skin type, this is it, says Jerome Garden, MD, dermatologist at Physicians Laser and Dermatology Institute in Chicago, IL. “Since it’s uncommon for people to be sensitive or allergic to its ingredients, it’s ideal for dry skin, burns, cuts, scrapes, you name it,” he explains. “It is also non-comedogenic, so it can even be used on the face without causing acne.”
Stacy Chimento, MD, a Miami-based dermatologist at Diane Walder by Riverchase Dermatology is next-level obsessed with this antioxidant-rich serum, which she uses twice daily. “It has truly transformed my skin!” she says. “It has a high antioxidant content, which calms down redness, and its high peptide content helps boost new and healthy collagen and elastin.” She also finds it useful for increasing cell turnover, so she recommends it to patients for use before and after cosmetic procedures, such as lasers: “It helps to heal the skin much faster than any other products on the market.”
Jennifer Segal, MD, a dermatologist at Metropolitan Dermatology Institute in Houston, TX, has been a fan of this cream for years. “It’s rich and thick without feeling greasy, nourishes and enhances the skin barrier, and contains soothing ingredients that reduce inflammation in the skin,” she says. “It’s also wonderful for treating and preventing everything from sunburn to rosacea to diaper rash to eyelid irritation.” Since it’s designed for sensitive skin, it has become her go-to for daily use, travel, and post-procedure care.
“This product is truly the gold standard of vitamin C formulations, as it’s created with the proper form of nutrient that has the ability to penetrate the skin,” says Marnie B. Nussbaum, MD, a NYC-based dermatologist. “It is combined with vitamin E and ferulic acid for added protection against free radical damage, which thereby decreases not only skin cancer but also fine lines and wrinkles; it also provides a glow to the complexion and decreases pigmentation.” She recommends using four to five drops on the face after cleansing and drying the skin.
It might not be the fanciest of skin care products, but if Erum Ilyas, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in PA had to choose one product to recommend for every skin type and multiple skin-related issues, she’d go with Vaseline. “It heals, protects, prevents eczema, soothes, prevents scarring — it’s amazing!” she says. “Vaseline is good for all skin types and ages, doesn’t tend to react with skin and is not filled with filler ingredients, preservatives or fragrances.”
If this eye mask is good enough for Madonna (she helped create it and was involved in the clinical testing), it’s certainly worth trying. Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a celebrity dermatologist and founder of PFRANKMD, is also a huge fan. “The products contain mineral-rich waters from Montecatini, Italy, which is long known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties,” he says. “It instantly brightens the under eye area, infuses moisture and reduces fine lines.”
This is my favorite body lotion of all time, says Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist in NYC and Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell New York Hospital. “With urea, glycerin, and shea butter, it has the perfect combination to exfoliate, hydrate, and smooth the skin even in thick, rough areas like the elbows, knees, and heels,” she says. “I have been using this product for six years now and no other product has made my skin as soft and smooth.” She recommends it for any skin type, but says that it’ll be particularly helpful for super dry or scaly skin and for those suffering from keratosis pilaris. “It’s a great moisturizer during the cold, dry months, and it keeps the skin smooth and glowing during the more skin-baring months, without being too heavy or greasy,” she adds.
Cleansing is one of the most important parts of your skin care routine, notes Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “It is important to wash the skin without compromising the integrity of the skin barrier,” he says. “This cleanser is one of my go-tos because it effectively removes dirt and provides moisturizing benefits at the same time — plus, it is gentle enough to use on your face as well as your body so it is one-stop shopping.”
This is the only product S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, founder of the Miami Skin Institute and Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, always has with her, whether she’s at home or traveling. “It’s soothing, alleviates all types of minor inflammation and dryness (such as from flying), and keeps my skin hydrated without feeling greasy or tacky,” she says. “Being of East-Indian descent, my earliest and worst aging issue has always been under-eye circles, and this product has kept my eye area looking young for almost two decades!”
Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, loves vitamin A derivatives for their anti-aging benefits. “They assist in improving skin tone and texture, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles and reversing sun damage,” she says. “The only downside to retinol-containing products is that retinizing the skin (getting acclimated to a vitamin A product) can cause irritation, redness, and peeling.” These capsules, she explains, deliver all of the benefits of retinol, but are formulated with ceramides, which help diminish these pesky side effects. “Additionally, because they are encapsulated, they maintain their potency up to 76 percent more than traditional formulations,” she adds.
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