16 Derm-Recommended Products To Use ASAP If You've Been Neglecting Your Skin

It's not too late to turn it all around.
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If you’ve simply gone your whole life without giving a thought to your skin care regime, it’s never too late to get on the bandwagon and make meaningful changes to positively affect your skin’s health.

Unfortunately, there are consequences to forsaking your skin, and the longer you go without tending to its needs, the more work you need to put in to reverse the damage. Whether you aren’t careful about sunscreen, have trouble remembering to take your makeup off at night or your skin has never seen a drop of moisture in its life, eventually, you begin to see the effects of neglect and mistreatment. 

Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist at Sperling Dermatology in New York and New Jersey, told HuffPost that issues including acne, blemishes, dryness, dermatitis and signs of aging can arise as a result of neglect, which includes falling asleep without washing your face. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts and compromise your skin’s natural repair process, which in turn can cause premature aging. Alarmingly, she also mentioned that you can even risk getting eye irritation or infections from not removing eye makeup.

Additionally, Dr. Brendan Camp, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York, noted that maintaining a regular skin care routine is a healthy habit akin to working out: “Keeping healthy habits for your skin can prevent and treat signs of premature aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots, and conditions like acne.” Like Sperling, he also emphasized the importance of washing your face, adding that “by not washing your face you are not removing excess oil, debris and pollutants that can irritate the skin or cause inflammation.”

Ideally, Camp recommends developing healthy skin habits early in life, encouraging teens to develop a basic regimen that includes cleansing, medicating and moisturizing, and people in their 20s to start incorporating anti-aging steps into their routines. 

And although issues like the impact of sun exposure can’t be reversed on a cellular level, it doesn’t mean you can’t start a skin care routine later in life. “It is never too late to start a skin care routine,” Camp explained. “The skin has different needs at every stage of life. Whether you are early or late to the game, simple changes to how you treat your skin can impact your physical, as well as mental, health.”

It’s a relief to know that all is not lost, and it’s always worth it to help restore your skin to its former glory. You can even start with baby steps as you get into your skin care comfort zone. Sperling said that “it doesn’t need to be anything elaborate, but properly cleansing and moisturizing the skin, and wearing SPF daily, can make a difference.” But if you do want to add a few more effective and reparative elements, she recommended ingredients like retinol (which can help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles while stimulating collagen production and helping to even out skin tone) and vitamin C (an antioxidant that protects skin against oxidative damage and can help improve texture and tone).

Below, I’ve rounded up Camp and Sterling’s skin care reset recommendations, and they include everything from cleansers and moisturizers to serums and masks. They’re available at at a range of price points and are chock full of the healing ingredients they mentioned, and more. Pick one up for yourself and pamper your skin the way it deserves.

HuffPost receives a share from retailers on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts we consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

CeraVe moisturizing cream
"This is a great affordable option for those with dry skin. It’s very moisturizing and applies easily on the skin. It’s formulated with ceramides, which help restore the natural skin barriers." — Sperling
First Aid Beauty hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid
Drench your skin with moisture, leaving it bouncy and firm, with a serum like this one from First Aid Beauty that's preferred by Camp.

"Hyaluronic acid (HA) is normally found in skin, and functions to attract water molecules to keep skin moisturized. Using an HA serum at night helps skin recover from environmental stresses from the preceding day." — Camp
Supergoop City Serum SPF 30 sunscreen
On Camp's list of recommendations, this sunscreen serum is a great option for people who dislike the feeling of heavy sunscreen on their skin. It's lightweight and made with nourishing ingredients and antioxidants.

"Include a daily SPF moisturizer to your skin care routine, and use it year-round. An SPF moisturizer may help prevent skin cancer, and it can lessen the impact of UV radiation on premature aging. This includes reducing the likelihood of developing fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots." — Camp
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM night serum
This powerful serum can help tackle visible signs of aging with a powerful dosage that won't irritate sensitive skin, and it's one of Camp's go-tos.

"Retinols will help normalize skin cell turnover, which can reduce the likelihood of clogged pores and acne. Overtime, retinols can encourage the production of collagen, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles." — Camp
La Roche-Posay Toleriane hydrating gentle cleanser
Another of Camp's recommendations, this nourishing French pharmacy staple is perfect for anyone with dry and irritated skin. It's moisturizing, so you don't have to worry about it stripping the skin of its natural oils, but it's also powerful enough to do a deep clean.

"Use a cleanser twice a day to help remove excess oil, dirt, and pollution that can cause acne and skin irritation. For those with dry skin, consider using a cleanser once a day or using water as a cleanser." — Camp
Kiehl's Powerful-Strength vitamin C eye serum
Don't sleep on the power of eye creams! Camp is a fan of this antioxidant-rich option from Kiehl's, which is as hydrating as it is effective at improving the look of lines and discoloration.

"Eye creams and serums maintain help prevent the delicate skin around the eyes from showing your true age. Products with vitamin C or retinol are effective for encouraging collagen production and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles." — Camp
CeraVe makeup removing cleanser balm
If you don't like a foamy cleanser, or want to double cleanse with a balm first, Camp recommends this nourishing CeraVe balm. It's ideal for sensitive or reactive skin.

"Use a gentle cleansing agent that will help remove makeup without removing too much of your skin’s natural oils." — Camp
Image Skincare Vital C hydrating enzyme masque
While a face mask might seem high-maintenance, there's a good chance you'll be able to find a way to pop it into your routine even just once or twice a week.

"This mask is soothing, anti-aging, hydrating and is great for all skin types, including dry/dehydrated skin. It leaves the skin looking and feeling refreshed." — Sperling
Ilia C Beyond Triple serum SPF 40
I had to throw this pick into the mix myself, because it's perfect for those just starting to dip their toes into skin care. It's a multitasking serum that is full of delicious active ingredients recommended by Camp and Sperling, like vitamin C and niacinamide, while also functioning as both an SPF and a foundation, adding a touch of color to the skin.
Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46
Another of Camp's picks, this mineral sunscreen is great for people who have breakout-prone skin. This is the tinted version, but you can also grab a clear one if you prefer a natural, clean slate. It doesn't clog pores or feel heavy and has a lovely soft finish that isn't too oily.
Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Firm & Bright serum
There are tons of vitamin C serums on the market, but this pick from Camp is a powerful, effective option for anyone looking to amp up their routine. It can help tackle sun damage, dark spots, lines, dullness and more.

"Vitamin C serums neutralize the free oxygen radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that can damage cellular structures like DNA, lipids, and proteins. Used on a regular basis, they can also help brighten skin and reduce the appearance of sunspots." — Camp
Differin gel
"Retinol helps promote cell turnover, stimulate collagen, reduce discoloration and restore your skin’s natural texture and tone. Differin, which used to be prescription-only but is now available over the counter, is a great product for acne and anti-aging." — Sperling
Cetaphil daily facial cleanser
Keep things simple with this affordable and accessible cleanser recommended by Camp. It's great for people with oily skin, other skin conditions and people looking to repair past damage. It is gentle and won't irritate even the angriest of skin.
Glow Recipe
Glow Recipe Guava vitamin C dark spot serum
Looking for a silky, gel-like serum that won't feel heavy or sticky but is still full of all the aforementioned doctor-recommended ingredients? You might want to give this Glow Recipe serum a shot. It's formulated with five kinds of vitamin C, guava, tranexamic acid and ferulic acid that can leave skin more glowy and even.
CeraVe Skin Renewing night cream
"This cream is formulated with peptides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides to deeply hydrate the skin while helping to renew the skin’s natural barrier overnight." — Sperling
Avène Retrinal ceramide lipid-replenishing balm
"Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids in the skin that help retain moisture and maintain the integrity of the skin barrier. Including ceramides in a skin moisturizer helps skin stay smooth and hydrated." — Camp
U Beauty The Barrier Bioactive treatment
This highly concentrated overnight treatment is a HuffPost editors' pick we couldn't leave out. It uses bioactive marine ingredients that promote skin renewal and can soften, renew, revitalize and strengthen skin.
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Before You Go

13 Dermatologist and Reviewer Approved Serums
iS Clinical Super Serum(01 of 13)
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I am absolutely devoted to this powerful vitamin C serum. My esthetician recommended adding iS Clinical’s Super Serum to my lineup, and now I can’t imagine my skin without it. It's an oil-based vitamin C-rich serum that not only has the potential to help reduce typical signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage, but can help to reduce scarring as well. While it costs a pretty penny, I think it’s absolutely worth it. Not only are the quality and the results unbeatable, but a little goes a long way, making it less of a financial burden than one might imagine. It’s definitely worth the splurge.

Promising review: "Love this stuff. It might be a tad expensive, but it has done wonders for my skin to even it out and make it so smooth. Lines seem to have almost vanished (I’m 57). I have sensitive skin and this was not harsh, nor did it break out my skin. VERY happy with this product and would recommend this to anyone with sensitive skin who wants their skin to feel soft and look radiant. I get SO many compliments on my skin. Have been using for 5 months and will continue to do so.” — Kindle Customer
(credit: Amazon)
Sunday Riley Good Genes serum(02 of 13)
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I've been using Sunday Riley's Good Genes for nearly a decade, and despite testing hundreds of other comparable products, I always come back to it. I’m particularly obsessed with the high content of lactic acid, a unique chemical exfoliant that encourages quick cell turnover in the surface layers of the skin, leaving it smoother and helping clear up blemishes. It’s paired with licorice and lemongrass in this formula, which can help brighten up the look of dark spots, sun damage and other discoloration, and prickly pear extract that can help soothe redness and calm sensitive skin. It's the perfect example of a product with a fairly common active ingredient that is perfectly formulated with other complementary ingredients to make it even more effective than many other options.

Promising review: "Hands down the best skin product I've ever used. Worth the price. I don't write reviews on amazon but if I can help anyone justify the price given the magic it's done to my skin - worth the time! My 35 year old skin looks at least 10 years younger. I will buy this for life. (I could care less about the smell and honestly, don't really smell it? weird?)" — Patricia Izquierdo
(credit: Amazon)
The Inkey List 10% azelaic acid serum(03 of 13)
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Dr. Adeline Kikam, a board-certified dermatologist who shares advice on @brownskinderm, is a huge fan of this particular azelaic acid serum. She told HuffPost that "it is gently formulated with azelaic acid at 10% and allantoin at .3% for extra moisture." It can help soothe and calm irritated skin and help to reduce the appearance of redness. It's also formulated with micro-fine green color particles that can help to mask the look of existing redness as well, acting almost like a color corrector.

Promising review: "Helped my rosacea and PD. I bought this 3 days ago and am actually super surprised and impressed with this product. I’ve used azelaic acid before but found it irritating and heavy silicones in those formulas broke me out. I struggle with perioral dermatitis and rosacea. I was going through a pretty bad flare 3 days ago and as of today it’s 90% gone. I have some tips for how to best use the product: 1. Apply to dry skin only. Applying azelaic acid to wet or damp skin makes it super itchy and can cause irritation. ... I’m super impressed. This really helped clear up my latest flare and I’m excited to have found something that finally works for me. I’ll continue using and buying this as long as these results continue!" — Becca
(credit: The Inkey List)
Dieux Deliverance serum(04 of 13)
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Find out why Dieux's cult-favorite Deliverance serum keeps flying off the shelves. It's formulated to address three main skin issues: irritation, uneven tone and the look of fine lines. The lightweight formulation helps leave skin soft, soothed and delightfully glowy. It's a great starter serum for anyone looking to amp up their routine or a wonderful addition to an already-established regimen. It harnesses the power of cannabinoids, niacinamide, peptides and more to leave skin looking and feeling its absolute best.

Promising reviews: "Phenomenal. I’m still currently using it but I’ve been using it a few weeks and it’s already made such a huge difference in my skin. my redness isn’t as severe and my skin glows! LOVE this product!" — Grace B.

"Saving grace. I have struggled with hormonal acne for years and have searched high and low for a product to help my skin (also very dry and sensitive). This product has changed my skin, slowly but surely. I absolutely notice more hydration. I’ve started breaking out less, and marks from old breakouts fade quicker than usual. Charlotte never misses." — Mary T.

"One of those products where you start to freak out a little when you realize you’re almost out. So good. Any time I fall off my routine I realize how potent this serum is and effective." — Allison M.
(credit: Dieux)
Vintner's Daughter active botanical serum(05 of 13)
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This award-winning face serum is ideal for anyone wanting to harness the power of plant ingredients. It's chock full of moisturizing fatty acids, nourishing omegas and antioxidants that fight free radicals and help to restore and strengthen the skin. This active botanical serum leaves skin moisturized, nourished and renewed — it's as luxurious as it gets.

Promising review: "If I had to choose to reduce my skin care routine to one product and feel confident that my skin will get all the nutrients it needs, it would be the Active Botanical. I have tried many products over the year, I work in fashion and are exposed to quite a bit of them. The active Botanical is the one for me." — Verified customer

"This serum is insanely expensive, but also insanely good. It’s like a bottle of love for your skin. Hyperpigmentation? It fades dark spots. Acne? I haven’t had a zit since I started using it 6 months ago. Sensitive skin? I can now start using chemical exfoliates, which I’ve never been able to do. This stuff is amazing! It’s expensive, but I no longer need serums and oils and moisturizers - just this stuff." — BKOMC
(credit: Vintner's Daughter)
True Botanicals chebula active serum(06 of 13)
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Address dull, uneven skin, rough texture, fine lines and dark spots with this powerful True Botanicals serum. This brand is beloved by celebs, skin care enthusiasts and everyone in between. The chebula serum is a hydrating serum that can help to reduce the visible signs of aging while helping to support and strengthen the skin's natural moisture barrier. It's definitely a splurge, but one that you likely won't regret.

Promising review: "Skin feels great. At 52, I have tried all types of skin care products. Some seem to work for a short time, others feel too thick and heavy. This product feels light and amazing on your skin. It has replaced all other moisturizer products and my skin feels healthier than ever before. I use less makeup and feel more confident." — Blustar70
(credit: True Botanicals)
The Ordinary mandelic acid 10% + HA(07 of 13)
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Mandelic acid is a game-changer for acne-prone skin like mine, and The Ordinary makes it easy to pick up a high concentration of this anti-bacterial AHA exfoliant without breaking the bank. It's recommended for sensitive skin by two board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Purvisha Patel in Memphis, Tennessee, and Dr. Jennifer MacGregor of UnionDerm in New York City. The addition of hyaluronic acid brings skin extra hydration, making this a great formula for introducing your skin to mandelic acid. It's ideal for acne-prone skin, reducing the look of fine lines and chemical exfoliation.

Promising review: "Skin type: 30s, cystic acne prone, hyperpigmentation, redness, combination skin, CANNOT use salicylic acid, glycolic or lactic acid. I never thought I had sensitive skin until a product with salicylic acid broke me really badly a month before my wedding. Curse you, salicylic acid, you are not for me. But this product is - mandelic acid. I can't remember how I heard about it, but what really got me interested was the fact that's is recommended for Skin of Colour, like mine :D FIRST USE: I applied four drops on my face (forehead, cheeks, nose/chin) after cleansing (oil and foam), then allowed it to sink in before continuing with the rest of my routine (toner, serum, moisturiser). Honestly, it takes a little while to sink in your skin, don't use too much, you'll be waiting a LONG time. The next morning I was washing my face and I was like, omg, my cheeks are baby soft. So soft, my skin was legit renewed, it felt like a miracle was happening. Basically, any sort of decongestion was dissolved and I was left with smooth skin. Yes, it works, if you need an acid that won't irritate your skin, this may be the one for you." — PS
(credit: Sephora)
Sunday Riley A+ high dose retinoid serum(08 of 13)
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HuffPost shopping writer and beauty devotee Tessa Flores swears by Sunday Riley's A+ retinoid serum, and she's not alone. It's a great way to introduce a powerful active ingredient into your routine. And while it's definitely an investment, a little goes a long way. The results also speak for themselves, making it worth every penny.

Promising review: "Sunday Riley’s A+ retinol serum initially caught my eye because it was advertised as an advanced strength retinoid that was suitable for both individuals with sensitive skin and experienced users of the ingredient that might be in search of a stronger product. The formulation contains a 6.5% retinoid blend, a relatively high percentage compared with other retinol products on the market. After using this product consistently for two months, I’m noticing a significant reduction of my keratosis pilaris in that the texture is smoother, less red and with fewer clogged hair follicles. I’ve also noticed less congestion in my T-zone, fewer sun freckles and an overall increase in skin plumpness — all without those telltale signs of retinol-induced irritation." — Tessa Flores, shopping writer
(credit: Amazon)
SkinCeuticals C E ferulic acid serum(09 of 13)
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If you're into skin care, you've likely heard people sing the praises of this cult-favorite serum, and with good reason. The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum has been praised by dermatologists for its ability to help lighten fine lines, firm skin, provide environmental protection and brighten a dull complexion. The stabilized formulation means all ingredients are working at the peak of their powers, in tandem with each other.

Promising reviews: "I have tried many vitamin c serums and keep coming back to this one. It’s been highly effective on my skin, and while it’s pricey the results have been well worth it. One thing I have especially noticed is that it helps fade my acne scars pretty quickly." — GG

"When I first bought this, I was so apprehensive because of the price. But it really is amazing! You have to use it consistently for a few weeks to see the results, but it’s worth it. My skin has never looked better. A little goes a long way, so the price is worth it." — Emma
(credit: Dermstore)
Paula's Choice 10% azelaic acid booster serum(10 of 13)
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Also recommended by Kikam, this serum from Paula's Choice is a lightweight, oil-free cream-gel formulation with .5% salicylic acid to boost skin brightening. It's great for redness, irritation, acne-prone or otherwise distressed skin. The formula is lightweight and won't clog pores or leave skin feeling heavy. You can use it as a spot treatment or all over your skin, depending on what it needs.

Promising reviews: "The holy grail. If you had to buy one skin cream in the world, it would be this product. Absolutely love it!!! This product moisturizes my face SOOOO well that I glow and it minimizes my redness. I definitely will repurchase!!" — Kate

"It works! My dermatologist recommended this product for my sun-damaged face. I cannot believe how great this stuff is! I had hypoplasia and this moisturizer really works and my skin looks great now! I will be ordering this again." — Deb O.
(credit: Sephora)
Naturium mandelic topical acid 12%(11 of 13)
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This is also on Kikam's list of must-haves. She explained that it's "a lightweight serum with 10% azelaic acid boosted with other calming ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin C and coffee seed extract to help with oil control and discoloration." It's designed to slowly penetrate the skin, encouraging cell turnover and leaving the complexion looking brighter, radiant and more youthful.

Promising review: "Gentle yet effective. Great for those with sensitive skin looking to clear out your pores. I have really sensitive skin. I can no longer use Salicylic Acid. This is what i use now. It's amazing. During the winter though I'm sticking with the PHA, and may just use this once a week or every other week as i have acne prone skin but sensitive skin as well." — Jenny Marie

"I have used hydroquinone for a long time and this fades spots better than any high-end hydroquinone formula I’ve ever used. I have acne scars and sun spots and both have faded significantly more with this product than clinical hydroquinone products I have used in the past." — Kennedy
(credit: Target)
Sunday Riley Luna sleeping night oil(12 of 13)
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I happen to be obsessed with using Luna oil in conjunction with Sunday Riley's Good Genes; it's a powerful duo that leaves me swimming in compliments and glowing skin. If you’ve been on the fence about trying an oil or retinoid, then this is the perfect place to start. Soothing botanicals like blue tansy and German chamomile are paired with an advanced retinoid ester that supports skin health and elasticity, evens out redness and fights fine lines and wrinkles. Avocado seed oil plumps up the skin and delivers a healthy dose of antioxidants. It doesn’t clog pores, which is perfect if you are acne-prone like myself.

Promising review: "I’ve been skeptical of Sunday Riley since their review debacle. I use other high-end skincare and wasn’t looking to add anything but this came highly suggested from a friend I trust. Now I can’t go a night without this beauty! The natural scents of chamomile are so relaxing and great part of self care to any nighttime routine to tell your nervous system 'it’s time for sleep.' It’s a very soft texture in the skin that feels nourishing and I love the deep blue tansy color that easily fades into skin as you apply. It’s a gentle retinoid that doesn’t irritate or interact with my other skincare. Overall my skin always looks bright and even in the morning. Love love this product, bought another for my mom for Mother’s Day! Can’t go wrong with adding this to a luxurious nighttime routine!" — shelby k
(credit: Amazon)
Caudalie Premier Cru anti-aging serum with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid(13 of 13)
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This lightweight serum from Caudalie is perfect for anyone looking for a deeply nourishing blast of powerful niacinamide. Hyaluronic acid keeps the skin hydrated and quenched while the serum plumps, moisturizes and helps repair damaged skin.

Promising reviews: "I have noticed a visible reduction in my fine lines since using this product. It also doesn’t leave my face oily or sticky like other serums can and do. I also really love that it has clean ingredients and does not have hardly any fragrance at all for those who are sensitive to fragrances like myself." — Daniii89

"Loved it! Excellent product !!! I've been using it since I bought it and I can see the difference in my skin. Highly recommended." — Kary9103
(credit: Sephora)
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