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  • Writer's pictureDr. Carin Litani

My Fave Drugstore Finds

I must sound like a broken record by now but I will say it again … sticking to a skin care routine is a game changer. We can inject filler and botox and zap lasers over and over but the key to maintaining those results is skincare! It’s the same as sticking to a healthy diet while you exercise. That being said, skin care products can get pricey. Your skin is worth it but I’m going to tell you what’s most worth the investment as well as where you can save some of that hard earned $$$.

What is worth the splurge?

Short answer? The hard-to-isolate-and-stabilize active ingredients like antioxidants and growth factors. Companies like SkinMedica, and Skinceuticals were the first to get these right and have been studying them since. They are worth the investment (among other brands like ZO, Neocutis, Revision) because you can trust that the active ingredients will still be active and potent when they touch your skin.

Where can you save?

I sell higher priced sunscreens and moisturizers and washes and I believe in them and love them all because they feel elegant, non-greasy, fade nicely, have a nice tint and make my skin feel fancy ... but if you want to save a little, this is one area where you can! I am going to list some of my favorite easy-to-find and easy-on-the-wallet drugstore brands.

Body lotions:

Vanicream Moisturizing Cream: this is great for super supersensitive skin, even for kids. It's also great for those of you that are allergic to parabens, lanolins, fragrance, formaldehyde, dyes, botanical extracts, especially if you have eczema. It also doesn’t clog pores, isn’t greasy, and absorbs quickly. I love the pump. This is great after the shower in the winter. The lotion version is lighter for summer.

Cerave Moisturizing Cream: This is rich and lovely to use anywhere on the body especially after showering. I even recommend it for the face if you have irritation from a retinol. It has hyaluronic acid in it and ceramides which we need to maintain an effective skin barrier. The lotion version is great for summer.

Eucerin Roughness Relief Spot Treatment: I keep this little tube in my nightstand and put it on my feet before bed and sometimes on my elbows and knees too. Feet feel so smooth in the morning!

Face wash:

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Foaming Facial Cleanser: gentle yet effective at removing makeup and no residue when rinsed off. I leave this in my shower and wash my face with this nightly.

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, for Waterproof Makeup: This is not exactly a wash but it makes your face feel even cleaner than if you had used a wash. It’s crazy how much stuff appears on the cotton pad even after you've washed your face. It’s also amazing at removing waterproof eye makeup without stinging the eyes and is super gentle on the delicate skin there. I use this in the morning rather than a wash!

Acne wash and treatment:

Panoxyl Creamy Wash 4% Benzoyl Peroxide Daily Control Deep Cleaning Wash


Neutrogena Oil Free Salicylic Acid Acne Fighting Face Wash

I recommend alternating these with a gentle wash or micellar water so you are just using each one once every other day. I am not tied to these brands either, just find a wash with Benzoyl Peroxide 4% for the face (10% for the "backne") and one with Salicylic Acid 2%. Do not use the BP wash if you are using a prescription strength BP cream for acne.

Nighttime Facial Moisturizer:

Neutrogena Hydroboost Gel-Cream: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. My husband even loves it more than I do! It is packaged like a fancy cream and feels like one too. It’s so smooth and gentle yet so hydrating. Oil-free, noncomedogenic, and with hyaluronic acid! I recommend using this on top of your retinol nightly.

Facial Sunscreen:

Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30: this stuff is cheap, not greasy and it blends in and it’s all mineral. There’s a new gel-lotion version out now that I want to try. All their stuff is great, even for body. There are colorful sticks for kids and a clear sparkly one for me (Diamond Dust, so fun to sparkle in the summer)

Cerave Ultra Light Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 30: this is not greasy and rubs in better than their original mineral face sunscreen lotion (that one leaves a bit of a cast but it’s great for kids and the beach). This one is very hydrating as it has ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

Eucerin Daily Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Moisturizing Face Lotion: I hesitate a bit because it’s not purely mineral. It’s a combination of chemical and physical sunscreen. I am trying to move away from chemical sunscreens but I still grab this one occasionally because it’s non-greasy and does not leave a white cast.

Rule of thumb: read the back of the your sunscreens where it lists the active ingredients and make sure you see titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These mineral drugstore brands can leave more of a white cast and absorb more slowly so I prefer to use these at the pool or beach and when being active outside. I prefer my “fancy” sunscreens on a daily basis because they just feel better and less greasy or thick on the skin.

Body sunscreen:

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Vanilla Coco Spray SPF 50: it’s a spray but it comes out white so you have to rub it in. It absorbs pretty well and fast and isn’t greasy. Check out their website because they have a golden daze and diamond dust lotion version that makes you shimmer in the sun like those vampires from Twilight.

Cerave Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion: Like the facial version, it feels thick and absorbs slowly but who cares when you are having fun outside and sweating. I save this one for the beach and outdoor activities.


Differin Gel 0.1% and La Roche Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel 0.1%: These are both adapalene gels 0.1% which used to be by prescription only! Now they are OTC which is amazing because they are affordable options of a prescription strength retinoid. Great for mild acne as well. Remember to moisturize over these.

Lip hydrators:

Aquaphor Lip Repair or just plain old standard Aquaphor: I keep these little tubes in my nightstand, purse, and car to apply whenever my lips feel dry.

Dr Roger’s Restore Healing Balm: Okay, this is more expensive and you have to order it from the website or amazon but this balm is f***g amazing! It’s free of lanolin, petroleum, and parabens and it goes on super silky and stay on for a long time. I have been using this lately at night and my lips still feel like they have it on in the morning. I also use this on any flaky dry spots on my face and it just absorbs better and feels better than vaseline or Aquaphor. My friend, a Mohs surgeon and cosmetic dermatologist in Seattle came up with this ( I have no conflict of interest) because she wanted a clean plant-based alternative to vaseline for wound care. So it’s also great on open wounds, after lasers, and over sutures.

1 comentario

30 jun 2020

thanks - this is great!

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