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November 2023

Beauty Picks: Save or Splurge on Skin Care Products?

By Dr. Amy Wechsler

Here’s a piece of great beauty news—you don’t need facials or expensive skin care products to get great skin. The key to effective skin care treatment is keeping a simple and consistent beauty routine. When patients first come to me looking to boost their skin health and radiance, I often ask them to bring in all of their skin care products, so I can see what they use and where they may be going wrong.

Often they have been over-treating their skin with multiple products, many of which are harsh and exacerbate, rather than relieve, irritation and inflammation, which can lead to breakouts and other skin conditions. I look to see that products are non-comedogenic. If you see the term oil-free on the label, you’re safe. In most cases, patients dump their current skin treatment supplies and start over.

I recommend starting fresh. You don’t need to go further than your local drug store to pick up the following must-haves for optimum skin beauty:

  • A gentle cleanser you can use every day
  • Two good moisturizers, one with sunscreen (SPF 30+) for daytime use and another for nighttime use (your daytime moisturizer can include antioxidants, and your nightly cream can include an over-the-counter retinol product, if you so choose)
  • If you have acne, an anti-acne formula, such as benzoyl peroxide
  • A gentle exfoliator (to remove dead skin cells, which prevent skin from reflecting light, making it look ashy and gray instead of luminous)

Biggest Beauty Bargains
Best Lip Moisturizer: Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline is the best. And talk about cheap! Don’t use any lip balms that contain phenol (like Blistex). They strip the top layer off your lips, which is why you get addicted to them, and remove your skin’s natural protection.
1. Buy Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, $4.49, at drugstore.com

Beauty Bargain Body Lotion: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream and
Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Daily Repair Body Lotion
I go to the local warehouse club and buy big tubs of Cetaphil cream or the giant pump of the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula. They’re both terrific.
2. Buy Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, $13.49, at drugstore.com
3. Buy Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Daily Repair Body Lotion, $10.99, at drugstore.com

Soap: Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar or
Purpose Gentle Cleansing Bar
Also at the local warehouse club, I buy Dove or Purpose soap by the case. (If your skin is as touchy as mine, buy Dove fragrance-free or sensitive-skin formula). Neither is expensive, but they’re a little more than the supermarket brands, so why not buy in bulk and save? And, they don’t strip your skin of good oils.
4. Buy Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar, $5.99 for 6 pack, at walgreens.com
5. Buy Purpose Gentle Cleansing Bar, $3.99, at drugstore.com

All-Over Skin Care Moisturizer: Spectrum Naturals Organic Safflower Oil
Yes, the kitchen oil you buy at the grocery store! It’s a super moisturizer, especially for gator-dry legs, and gentle enough for babies (some hospitals use it on newborns). This heart-friendly, polyunsaturated oil owes its famous skin-enriching action to a very high level of linoleic acid, a fatty acid that skin makes naturally to keep its moisture level up and its barrier function intact. Smooth on immediately after a bath or shower while you’re still damp to seal in moisture. Don’t overdo—it takes a bit to soak in, and don’t use before a long day in the sun as it makes skin more photosensitive.
6. Buy Spectrum Naturals Organic Safflower Oil, $7.31, at drugstore.com

Additional Beauty Bargains I Love for Better Skin Care
7. Buy Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $11.49, at drugstore.com
Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin
8. Buy Clinque Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam, $18, at saksfifthavenue.com
Daytime Moisturizers
9. Buy Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30, $8.99, at walgreens.com
10. Buy Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock with SPF 30 for Face, $7.04, at target.com
Nighttime Moisturizer
11. Buy Cetephil Moisturizing Lotion, $11.49, at drugstore.com
Exfoliating Toners
12. Buy Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1, $11.50, at saksfifthavenue.com
13. Buy Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner, $16, at saksfifthavenue.com

Best Skin Care Products Worth the Beauty Splurge
I’m a big believer in simple, basic skincare products. But who doesn’t love a little luxurious skin treatment now and then? Nobody needs a $250 moisturizer, but if money is no object and you love they way it looks and feels, fine. That’s not my weakness, but these are:

Antioxidant treatments, particularly ones based on green tea (which fight free radicals and improve skin’s appearance) and/or caffeine, which tightens skin and protects against sun damage. A line I particularly like is Topix Replenix Power of Three Cream. It contains 90% polyphenols from green tea, Resveratrol, and caffeine U.S.P.
14. Buy Topix Replenix Power of Three Cream, $62.95, at amazon.com

L’Occitane’s olive oil skin products. Like safflower oil, olive oil is a great moisturizing skin treatment but leaves you smelling like a salad. These don’t.
15. Buy L’Occitane Olive Oil Skin Products, $22–$38, at sephora.com

Invisible Zink. I love this line. They are physical (not chemical) sunscreens that use micro-fine zinc oxide, which although invisible to the eye still provides broad-spectrum protection against surface UVB and deeper penetrating UVA rays.
16. Buy Invisible Zinc, $18–$42, at invisiblezinc.com

Additional Skin Care Splurges I Love:
17. Buy Topix Glycolix Gly/Sal Acne 5-2 Cleanser, $14.40, at amazon.com
Daytime Moisturizer
18. Buy Topix Replenix CF Anti-Photo-Aging Complex SPF 45, $35, at amazon.com
Nighttime Moisturizer
19. Buy Topix Replenix Cream, $52.50, at amazon.com
Nighttime Moisturizer with Retinol
20. Buy Topix Replenix Retinol Smoothing Serum 2x, 3x, or 10x, $56–$80, at dermstore.com
Exfoliating Toner
21. Buy La Roche Posay Effaclar Toner Astringent Lotion, $19.95, at dermstore.com

Have a fashion or lifestyle question? Tweet @PageDaily or post it on the PageDaily Facebook page. Get more fashion and lifestyle tips, tricks, and product picks—read Dr. Amy Wechsler’s Younger-Looking Skin: Summer Skin Prep and Maintenance.

Dr. Amy Wechsler, Beauty and Health & Fitness Contributing Editor

Amy Wechsler is a Manhattan-based dermatologist—one of only two doctors in the country who are board certified in both dermatology and psychiatry—and the author of the best-selling The Mind-Beauty Connection. Read more

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One Response to “Beauty Picks: Save or Splurge on Skin Care Products?”
  1. Ewelina says:

    Very useful information. Thank you.