Style & Beauty

Skin Care Products Under $50 That Dermatologists Love

These sunscreens, moisturizers, anti-wrinkle creams and more pack a serious punch without draining your bank account.

Walking into any pharmacy or beauty store can feel overwhelming. There’s just so much skin care ― cleansers, serums, moisturizers, masks and more. It’s downright dizzying. Besides the massive number of options, there’s also the matter of wondering if an expensive product is worth your money, or if the cheaper ones are a waste of time.

Luckily, we consulted board-certified dermatologists for their must-have, holy grail skin care products, and they’re all under $50. Many are even less than $30. These are the items that pack a serious punch without draining your bank account. The picks range from a super hydrating yet light moisturizer for all skin types, a mask that improves elasticity and a sunscreen several derms swear by. We’re sure you’ll find at least one item to add to your virtual cart.

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1
A sunscreen that’s a dermatologist fave
Elta MD
It’s no surprise that dermatologists would recommend sunscreen, but there was one that consistently kept getting the stamp of approval. That would be EltaMD’s tinted sunscreen, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. While this sunscreen works for a variety of skin types, it’s the niacinamide that really makes this a standout product for cosmetic dermatologist DiAnne Davis of Westlake Dermatology in Houston.

The form of vitamin B controls oil production and calms acne flare-ups. “When it comes to acne and people of color, the brown hyperpigmentation that is left behind is oftentimes more concerning. I explain to all of my patients that sunscreen can help for those brown spots to not get darker while your skin is healing,” Davis said. Though there’s a untinted version, Davis likes the tinted variety, which she says matches every skin tone and blends well.

EltaMD Tinted UV Clear SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen, $24
2
A sunscreen that packs a double punch
LaRoche-Posay
It’s a serum. No, it’s a sunscreen. Well actually, it’s both, and that’s why board-certified dermatologist Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group loves this two-in-one skin care must-have. “I love this product because it combines the antioxidant with sunscreen in a way that does not diminish the potency of either one, which is a problem when trying to [mix] your moisturizer with sunscreen,” Greenfield told HuffPost. Those antioxidant properties help to prevent sun spots and discoloration, and unlike some sunscreens that leave behind a film or residue, this one goes on clear and is great for layering makeup over it.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 AOX Daily Antioxidant Face Serum, $42.50
3
A retinol that’s available OTC and is super affordable
Differin
Besides sunscreen, you’ll also find many dermatologists suggesting a retinol or retinoid. “Everyone should be on some form of retinol,” said dermatologist Shari Sperling of New Jersey-based Sperling Dermatology. And the particular retinol she loves is Differin Gel, which was approved for sale over the counter in 2016. In addition to preventing fine lines and wrinkles, Sperling said Differin “helps maintain clear skin, helps prevent acne and is also a great anti-aging product.” Since the cream can be irritating to those with sensitive skin, she suggests using the product twice a week and gradually increasing to nightly.

Differin Adapalene Gel, $12.99
4
An oil that doesn’t just sit on your skin
Bio-Oil
“You will likely find this product in the cabinet of most pregnant women,” said dermatologist Alyx Rosen Aigen, who’s currently pregnant (she’s on her second bottle in her third trimester). It’s her go-to over-the-counter oil for stretch marks because it contains PurCellin oil, which helps the product be easily absorbed by the skin. But you don’t have to be pregnant or trying to prevent stretch marks to use Bio-Oil. “As a dermatologic surgeon, I also recommend Bio-Oil as an over-the-counter scar treatment. Aside from silicone-based topicals, Bio-Oil is a great option for post-surgical scars.” She recommends using the oil once a scar has healed and then continuing for at least three months.

Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil, $12.99-$29.99
5
The “it” product that remains worth the hype
Bioderma
Micellar water was a huge trend in the U.S. market a few years ago, and though the trend has died down, there’s one dermatologist who still swears by a particular brand she uses regularly.

Bioderma’s micellar water is a great option for someone who wants to make sure all traces of makeup are gone, and it’s good for all skin types said dermatologist Debra Jaliman. The author of “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist” told HuffPost that unlike some micellar waters, this one doesn’t just cleanse, it also soothes. “It has fatty acids, which really help to cleanse and keep the skin hydrated.” Also, no need to worry about this one stinging your eyes, and the cucumber extract is incredibly calming for all skin types.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O, $14.90
6
The cream that gives all skin types a boost
Neutrogena
There’s no shortage of moisturizers on the shelves of any store, but a favorite of dermatologist Jessica Krant of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost. “This is my favorite moisturizer since it provides long-lasting moisture for skin. The gel-cream formula is gentle and light, yet hydrates and lasts,” she told HuffPost. It’s that rare moisturizer that works for everyone — not too greasy for oily skin and nourishing enough for dry skin. The hydrating hyaluronic acid makes it especially great for colder months, and Krant likes that it’s lightweight enough to layer under other products day or night.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, $23.99
7
A mask to keep in your skin care arsenal
Epionce
“This soothing, highly moisturizing mask gets your skin out of trouble,” proclaimed Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Seven Days to Sexy.” That trouble can include drinking too much the night before, skin feeling parched from flying or spending too much time in cold air. Guanche loves the Epionce firming mask’s two main ingredients, shea butter and hyaluronic acid, which hydrate and improve elasticity. “The mask also reduces inflammation and irritation. In fact, we often recommend it as a post-procedure mask,” she told HuffPost. While everyone can benefit from hydrating, Guanche says this mask might be too heavy for acne-prone skin.

Epionce Enriched Firming Mask, $38
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