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The Best Inexpensive Skincare Products According to My Dermatologist

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 in your drugstore, discount department store, or online.

beauty concept - skin care, anti-aging procedures, rejuvenation, lifting, tightening of facial skin

How shocked was I to read about it in a popular women’s magazine? I was speechless, but somehow 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. — $995.00 At that price, it’d better contain a miracle. Seriously. It almost makes Lancome’s Hydra Zen Neurocalm Soothing Recharging Night Cream 1.7 oz. look like a bargain!

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 products that follow:

Best Inexpesive Skincare Products


Cetaphil makes is an excellent line of affordable skincare products, including my doctor’s first choice:  Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.


Other cleansers that receive high marks with my doctor are Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser Moisturizing Deep Cleanser; Basis Sensitive Skin Bar; Lever 2000, and Dove for Sensitive Skin.


Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream for Very Dry/Sensitive Skin is fragrance-free, and my doctor’s top choice for a daily moisturizer.



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. My ophthalmologist tells me that he prescribes this baby shampoo for his patients who wear contact lenses because the product also removes protein build-up that plagues many lens wearers. It is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and dyes. 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 drugstore and most supermarkets. 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 with a very expensive skincare product!

Fresh ripe lemons. Isolated on white background. Top view

Daily Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 45 is the skincare product my doctor recommends to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. 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: 1-30-21

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7 replies
  1. Eugenia McQueen says:

    A very good, and VERY inexpensive “mask” is good old-fashioned milk of magnesia. I have used it twice a week for years – excellent results.

  2. crabbyoldlady says:

    I have rosacea and extremely sensitive skin (redhead). My derms have always recommended Vanicream . There is nothing in there that could be a potential allergenic.
    Oh, and generic Cetaphil cleanser is found at many stores that have their own brand.

  3. Joy says:

    Could you do a post where you research and elaborate on the retinol creams, Mary? I don’t know of a way to get unbiased info online. In the reviews of the Neutrogena wrinkle product, many recent users claim the formula has changed to contain very little retinol anymore. I do know the percent retinol matters in the product you use. How to know?! Thanks for considering!

  4. Debbye Tate says:

    Hi, Mary. This is perfect for me as I figure out what to use on my skin as I’ve fully entered the ‘grandma’ years now. I’ll stock up soon. Thanks so much!

  5. Gina Stevens says:

    I, too, had several dermatologists through the years who have recommended Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. You’re always spot on, Mary!


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