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The Best Inexpensive Skin Care Products Recommended by My Doctor

How shocked was I to read it in a popular women’s magazine? Speechless, but somehow I gathered enough strength to respond, “There’s no way!” Even so, I did a quick search only to discover it was no typo at all. 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Cream 1.7 oz. — $932.34!

All I can say is at that price, it better contain a miracle. Seriously. It almost makes Lancome’s Hydra Zen Neurocalm Soothing Recharging Night Cream 1.7 oz. look like a bargain!

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High-quality and effective skincare should not be considered a luxury available only to the wealthy. You can find high quality, reasonably priced skincare products that are equal, if not superior to their department store cousins—right in your drugstore or discount department store.

Some years ago, as my dermatologist was wrapping up my routine office visit, I asked him what specific products he recommends I use for daily skincare. Without hesitation, he pulled out a note pad and wrote down the following:


Cetaphil makes is an excellent line of affordable skincare products. For example, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Other cleansers that receive high marks with my dermatologist are Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser Moisturizing Deep Cleanser; Basis Sensitive Skin Bar; Lever 2000, and Dove for Sensitive Skin.


Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is priced well. Tip: Walmart sells a generic version under its brand name Equate. I’ve had reports from several readers who insist it’s just like the real thing for a lot less.


If you are concerned about wrinkles and avoiding skin cancer (tell me who’s not), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream is a Retinol facial treatment with multi-vitamins—an excellent product you should consider. This is more than a moisturizer. It’s a skin preservation system and much cheaper than a very expensive dermatologist’s pre-cancer procedure.

Eye-Makeup Remover

Johnson’s Tear-Free Baby Shampoo is an excellent eye-makeup remover. I have had a number of ophthalmologists tell me that they prescribe baby shampoo for their patients who wear contact lenses because the product also removes protein build-up that plagues many lens wearers. Can be used full strength. Rinse well.


Instead of purchasing a name-brand astringent for use in your skin-care regimen, use witch hazel, an old natural stand-by that has been recommended by skin professionals for decades. As a natural astringent, witch hazel has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and shrink down pores.

A topical application can help reduce the number of contaminants that enter the skin’s pores and can potentially aggravate skin conditions like blemishes, blackheads, and even acne.

Witch hazel is available over the counter at any drug store and any generic brand performs equally well to any brand astringent no matter how expensive.


Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the juice of one whole lemon to form a paste. While showering invigorate your skin with the paste. Rub heels and elbows with the inside of the lemon rinds. You will swear you’ve just had a spa treatment!

Daily Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 45 is what my doctor recommends. It is available online but also in nearly every drug store and Costco. I love this brand because it is ultra sheer and non-greasy.

Updated: 11-29-20



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  1. duffy10 says:

    I’ve been using store brand shortening (Crisco equivalent) as an eye make up remover. I haven’t found anything better. It removes every trace of make up and serves as an excellent eye moisturizer.

  2. June Neigum says:

    Hello Mary, I have been following you for sometime and love all of your homemade remedies. I use the shower cleaner all the time. Living alone it has taken me awhile to use up my old laundry detergent and wanted to make yours( I was going to use the old Tide dispenser bottle for it) I have all the ingredients except Soda Ash. I went to Lowes and all I could find was a product called PH Up by Clorox which would soften the water like I think we are going for but nothing that said Soda Ash at all and of course there is no ingredients posted on the labels. (It would probably make them too large for the package.) Anyway is this stuff, Soda Ash, called by a different name and if not where should I look. Maybe I need to go to a real pool supply store but. . . .

    • Mary Hunt says:

      June you can find soda ash in the swimming pool supply aisle at larger Walmart stores as well as swim supply stores. Soda ash is also sold under the name Super Washing Soda, which you will find in the laundry aisle with detergents etc.

  3. Medicare Mama says:

    Any recommendations for those of us “older” ladies? Many products seem to be aimed for women with younger skin, not skin with sags, bags, and wrinkles.

  4. Kayla says:

    As an exfoliant for the face, once or twice a week I sprinkle a little baking soda on the washcloth with the Cetaphil, and give a gentle scrub. Works great!

  5. Betty Thomas says:

    Has anyone heard of The Make Up Eraser? It is a soft cloth that gently removes eye make up or any facial make up for that matter, without the use of any lotion or potion. Just get the cloth wet and remove your make up. It is easily cleaned with a bit of bar soap or a drop of shampoo and a good rinse. I got it on Amazon and love it. It saves me money every time I use it since I don’t need and other products with it.

  6. Julie English says:

    Does the baby shampoo take off waterproof mascera?
    Also, do you have any recommendations for under-eye puffiness?

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Hi … Need to research your question as I don’t wear waterproof mascara. However it does remove waterproof eyeliner, which I use.

    • Julie says:

      To remove waterproof mascara I use baby oil (cheap brand). Then I use baby shampoo to “cleanse/wash” my eyelashes. After that I use witch hazel on a cotton square or ball over the entire eye area to remove all traces of the oil. The BEST!!!!

  7. Angela Russell Stein says:

    I use equal parts of apple cider vinegar and witch hazel as a toner. It smells horrible, so I add a few drops of essential oils; like lavender or geranium. The essential oils help cover the smell of the vinegar, plus they are great for your skin too. It works wonders. My teenagers use it and it clears their skin right up. It seems to be great for all kinds of different skin types.

  8. Chem Tutor says:

    My dermatologist recommends CeraVe’ AM (with SPF 30) & CeraVe’ PM moisturizing cream, both of which are available at Target, etc. because they contain ceramides for healthier skin.

    • Mary says:

      My family doctor recommended this product when I was having eye trouble. Dab it on and rinse off. Extremely gentle and does not irritate the eyes!

    • Mary Hunt says:

      I wet a washcloth and wring it out well. The pour a bit of baby shampoo straight on the cloth and use that to gently wash my eyes—lids, upper and lower and lashes. The first time is scary because you won’t believe it won’t be like pouring acid in your eyes. It’s just fine and in fact rather soothing. Then I rinse well with clear water.

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