Eight over-the-counter skincare products my dermatologist recommends

They say taking care of your skin is an investment, but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. You can easily find quality skincare products at affordable prices right over-the-counter at your local drugstore or online. Though I don’t have the medical degree to back it up, my board certified bestie does, so take her word for it.

I try not to abuse my bestie for free medical advice as a general rule, but the older we get the more skincare is top of mind and something I would chat with her about anyway, regardless of that derm degree. Recently I pumped her for information on her “go-to” over-the-counter skincare recommendations and I wanted to share that knowledge with you! One of these products was brand new to me so I started using it about a month ago to put my money where my mouth is – all I can say is, I’m hooked.  If your skin is a priority along with your budget then this is the blog post for you! Check out these eight over-the-counter skincare products my dermatologist bestie recommends.


1)I’m kicking off this post with the most expensive/difficult to find item on the list, better to get the bad news out of the way first ๐Ÿ™‚ That being said, I only use this in the morning and one little bottle lasts about two months or more, so the cost is not so bad if you think about it that way. I actually use this product mainly for acne issues, but it’s a double bonus that it works as an anti-aging treatment as well. The glycolic acid essentially works to break down the outer layer of your skin to create a smoother surface. Key benefits of this go-to over-the-counter skincare product: reduces fine lines and wrinkles, shrinks pores, fights acne before it starts, removes dead skin cells, and evens skin tone.

Facial Acne Treatment

2) If you told me ten years ago that I’d still be dealing with acne in my 30s I’d never have believed you, and yet here we are, still popping pimples and paying a mortgage. Not so long ago you needed a scrip to get this acne treatment, but not anymore, and this is WONDERFUL news! It also used to be about 5 times as expensive – praise be! This over-the-counter skincare product that my dermatologist bestie recommends helps reduce the number and severity of pimples and can also help heal any break outs  that occur. I’ve been using it for years and am never without it – so take her board certification and my layman advice and add this to your acne arsenal.

Facial Moisturizer

3) I mentioned above that there was one over-the-counter skincare product my dermatologist bestie recommends that I had never tried, and now I’m hooked. Well that is this incredible moisturizing gel cream. I apply this every night after I wash my face and it is so cool and soothing on my skin, plus it smells amazing. I have to make sure my dog doesn’t lick off all of it’s super powers when I go to bed! Also as someone with extremely sensitive skin to literally everything – I can confirm this did not cause any breakouts or irritation. I literally buy one of these every time I’m at the store because I wouldn’t be able to cope if I ran out without having a backup ๐Ÿ˜‰

General moisturizer

Be honest, do you use a daily moisturizer? I did not until a few years ago and then I’d hit periods of time where my skin got so dry and itchy that I couldn’t even sleep because of the discomfort. If you do not have a daily moisturizer already then consider adding one of these to your daily skincare regimen:

4) My bestie has two recommendations when it comes to over-the-counter moisturizers. The first is this Cerave lotion, a brand all dermatologists seem to love, so you know it’s good. She stresses that you need to get the cream, not the lotion, so double check when you go to buy it. This is the one that I personally use as opposed to the second, which I’m sure is just as great if she recommends it.

Dove body wash and cerave cream product shot
Cerave product shot

5) The second over-the-counter moisturizer that my dermatologist bestie recommends is an Aveeno product that is especially helpful if you have particularly dry, itchy skin.

Facial Cleanser

I recently did a poll on my Instagram stories asking if people washed their face every night before they go to bed and I was SHOCKED by the amount of people that do not. I am not trying to shame anyone, we all have different routines, but it truly gives me the heebie jeebies to think of all that build up going from your skin to your pillow every night – talk about a nightmare. Many experts recommend washing your face twice a day! So without further ado, here is the daily facial cleanser that my dermatologist bestie recommends:

6) I’ve used this cleanser at her recommendation for years and I swear by it. I wash my face in the morning, at night, and after any workouts. I’m aware that may be overkill, but it is recommended to wash your face twice a day. If you are acne prone like me then definitely pair this with the acne treatment above for a one-two punch on those breakouts.

over-the-counter skincare products


7) If there is anything my dermatologist bestie wants me to tell you it is to USE SUNSCREEN! I’m certain if she could walk around and hand out free samples of sunscreen all day to everyone she sees, she totally would. Homegirl LOVES sunscreen and understandably so, telling people they have skin cancer is a really difficult part of her job. So if there is anything that you take away from this blog – make sure you apply sunscreen. If not every day, then at least when you plan to be out in the sun doing yardwork, swimming, laying on the beach, boating, golfing, running, walking the dog – anywhere, anytime, do it. These are the three over-the-counter suncreens my dermatologist bestie recommends: Elta MD, La Roche, Melt in Milk.

Everything Else

8) For everything else, there is a magical elixir… just kidding it’s an ointment that soothes everything from burns, to chapped lips, to dry/irritated skin, and minor cuts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned myself and when I ask my bestie what I should do this is always her answer – so now I just keep it on hand for any and everything! I also love the chapstick version too!

Final Thoughts

I would never write an entire post recommending things that I have never tried myself and I want you to know I’ve tried and truly use all of these (apart from the Aveeno lotion and the Elta MD/Melt in Milk sunscreens).  With that, my dermatologist bestie uses many of these herself as well, which is why she is confident to recommend them to patients and also to you! HOWEVER, none of the above is medical advice nor replaces any medical advice that you have received from your physician. Let me know if you end up trying any of the eight over-the-counter skincare products my dermatologist bestie recommends or if you find any at better prices, I’d love to share those links as well! Cheers to beautiful, healthy skin!

Xx, Ashley

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