Motion Design Jacob D Gonzalez
A lot of the time, skincare can feel like a gamble. You have to start with an investment of both time and money in the hopes that a given formula will do what it says it will, whether that’s to tone down dark circles or clear up a case of bacne. But the risk doesn’t always pay off—and when that happens, you get stuck with a dud only to be left at square one, searching for a product that actually lives up to the hype. If you’ve got a pile of half-used products under your bathroom sink, join the club!
This is all to say: All anyone really wants out of their cleanser, serum, and SPF is results. To make that dream a reality, we went straight to a panel of experts (top dermatologists, to be exact) for our annual Women’s Health Healthy Skin Awards. Alongside the WH beauty team, they’re sharing their input on the tried-and-true products that they both recommend to patients and use themselves.
Meet Our Skincare Experts
Also: Since your skin concerns are unique to you, we’ve divvied up our winners according to skin type. Whether you’re working with sensitive skin, looking to calm rosacea, or seeking the perfect sunscreen for oily skin, you’ve got options. With that, keep scrolling to see which products are worth adding to your arsenal—and get ready to glow.
Max out your moisture with formulas designed to replenish, nourish, and protect.
“This cleansing gel uses a combination of postbiotics (which help with skin barrier function and hydration) and thermal spring water with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties to remove dirt and oil. It’s great as part of a double-cleanse routine: Use this first and a creamy wash second to lock in moisture.” — Dr. Gohara
“This toner is great for hydration. It is a a well-formulated toner that helps restore the skin’s PH balance, applies smoothly, and feels really hydrating with no tight or drying feeling afterwards. And the packaging is unique and attractive.” — Dr. Hartman
“This uses natural fruit exfoliants that chemically break the bonds between dead and dry skin cells, but what makes it so good for dry skin is that there are more than three moisture-improving ingredients to help dry skin types: hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3, and vitamin B5.” — Dr. Nazarian
“This is not your average hyaluronic acid serum. It is not only formulated with high-molecular, cross-linked HA, like the natural HA found in your skin, but it also uses a unique peptide technology, which increases the absorption of the HA and also boosts your skin’s ability to create even more HA. While most HA serums have the desired plumping effect, this HA serum also has another superstar ingredient called glycerin, which is ideal for dry skin.” — Dr. Levin
“This mask, which is made with a hydrogel (not paper), comes in two pieces so it really contours to the face. It contains hyaluronic acid, which is known for its hydrating properties, so it’s a great mask for dry skin.” — Dr. Woolery Lloyd
“Working as a delivery system using a gentle mist to help improve penetration of key ingredients, this device helps to optimize results which is especially important for ingredients that are often too large to penetrate on their own, such as collagen, which Droplette includes as one of the capsules. This can help to improve overall hydration, making it a great option for those with dry skin, without concern for irritation. It has been suggested that Droplette allows for the delivery of molecules up to 10,000 times larger than what can otherwise be absorbed topically.” — Dr. Garshik
The secret here is to maintain the status quo—and these thoughtful products do just that.
“Containing a blend of exfoliating acids, including glycolic acid, salicylic acid and gluconolactone, this rinse-off formulation works to brighten and smooth the skin by helping to eliminate dead skin cells. The Pro3 Soothing Antioxidant Complex containing resveratrol, chamomile and ceramide NG helps to nourish and soothe the skin, minimizing the potential for irritation. Together it works to improve skin tone and texture, while also reducing dullness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”— Dr. Garshick
“This innovative hybrid oil helps with brightening and keeps skin looking radiant. Due to its antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s a great choice for those with acne-prone skin who might otherwise skip out on oils or thick moisturizers, as well as those with sensitive skin looking for an added layer of skin conditioning.” — Dr. Hartman
Best Eye Cream
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
“A blend of peptides, hyaluronic acid, and vitmain E soften fine lines around the eyes. But the part part is the custom-designed stainless steel applicator wand, which soothes away puffiness.” — Underwood
“This provides great UV protection while offering the additional skin benefit of anti-aging ingredients. Niacinamide and antioxidants work together to minimize signs of sun damage. It is light, cosmetically elegant, and easy to layer—and it blends into all skin tones.” — Dr. Gohara
“The nighttime skincare routine is focused on helping skin repair and regenerate itself. The Elta night mask enhances our skin’s natural cycles with antioxidants and a unique amino acid complex to further hydrate and repair the skin barrier overnight.” — Dr. Nazarian
These expert picks help manage excess oil without sapping skin of moisture, striking just the right balance.
“It starts as a gel and transforms into a thick foam as you lather up. It’s good enough to remove any trace of makeup and dirt from the face, and thanks to the addition of hyaluronic acid, it won’t cause excessive dryness.” — Jackson
“This uses a blend of exfoliating and refining ingredients to sweep away dead skin, unclog pores, and clarify the complexion. With continued use, this toner will prevent breakouts and leave the skin looking fresh and healthy.” — Dr. Hartman
“This is a unique, patented two-step peel pad that works great for oily and acne-prone skin. It contains seven different acids, including glycolic acid and salicylic acid, to provide effective chemical exfoliation—but is still safe enough to be used daily in people with the oily skin.” — Dr. Woolery Lloyd
“It’s not just to make your eyeshadow look good! I love this primer as a moisturizer alone with its hyaluronic acid, aloe, blue agave, and niacinamide—and without all of the bad things that irritate the eyelids.” — Dr. Marmur
“This SPF addresses two of my biggest pet peeves about mineral facial sunscreens handily. 1.) It goes on sheer with no white cast. 2.) It’s slightly tinted to blend into skin, but the color never transfers. This has been my go-to since it launched a few months ago.” – Underwood
“As a lightweight oil-free gel moisturizer, this mattifying moisturizer absorbs easily while reducing shine and oiliness. Formulated with ceramides, niacinamide, glycerin and prebiotic thermal water, it helps to strengthen the skin barrier, provides all day hydration and soothes the skin. It is non-comedogenic so won’t clog the pores.” — Dr. Garshick
“This is a great (and oddly satisfying) way to get all of the dirt and gunk out of your pores when you maybe don’t have time to get a professional treatment done. It has a curved spatula to offer you some aid in hard-to-reach places like the corners of your nose—the result is skin that looks ten times clearer.” — Jackson
“The kids these days love experimenting with pimple patches in all kinds of funky designs. Me, I prefer something a touch more discreet, which is why I love these clear patches. They help blemishes health and prevent scarring and no one but you will even know you’re wearing one.” —Underwood
Your forecast says clear days ahead with this breakout-busting lineup, which tackle zits without drying out skin.
La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Salicylic Acid
“This vitamin C serum also has salicylic acid, which is a beneficial ingredient for breakouts. It’s non-comedogenic and an excellent choice for people looking for a vitamin C serum for acne-prone skin.” — Dr. Woolery Lloyd
“This sunscreen’s clear finish makes it compatible with all skin tones, while niacinamide helps to bring down inflammation associated with acne. My acne-prone patients appreciate the light texture, which is also non-comedogenic.” — Dr. Gohara
“This multitasker can be used as a face cleanser, face mask or spot treatment, making it convenient and easy to use. Formulated with sulfur to help reduce breakouts and prevent acne, it also contains willowbark, green tea and sea water to help purify, soothe and tone. As a mask it can be applied to clean skin for 15 minutes and then rinsed away.” — Dr. Garshick
“This slightly herbal scented gel is fantastic: It combines proven acne fighter salicylic acid with a probiotic complex and niacinamide to restore skin’s barrier and minimize the appearance of acne scars in as little as three days.” — Underwood
Keep your skin comfy with these formulas that baby the skin barrier and protect it from irritants.
“This is a tried-and-true dermatologist favorite. It’s a gentle cleanser that cleanses the skin without drying. It’s well-tolerated by even the most sensitive skin types and contains ceramides, which help restore and maintain the skin barrier.” — Dr. Woolery Lloyd
“It’s a botanical blend of soothing extracts with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which help enhance hydration, maintain skin’s moisture levels, and strengthen the skin’s barrier—making it suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.” — Dr. Levin
“Slather this on at night before bed, and wake up with glowier skin. It pairs a powerful refining complex of 2.5% alpha hydroxy acid with hydrating hyaluronic acid, redness reducing niacinmide, and watermelon enzymes.” — Underwood
“This serum is vegan and formulated without essential oils, silicones, and fragrance. It is a lightweight, hydrating serum that replenishes the complexion and improves the look of skin texture and tone. It provides easily absorbed hydration for your skin, helps to reduce fine lines, and promote firm skin.” — Dr. Hartman
“As the newest eye cream from Colorescience, this hydrating cream uses humectants such as glycerin and sea buckthorn fruit oil, emollients such as meadowfoam seed oil and squalane to support the skin barrier and improve the overall texture of the undereye skin. It also incorporates the Total Eye Complex which works to firm the undereye skin and improve discoloration, as well as caffeine which helps to reduce overall puffiness. It is safe even for those with sensitive skin as it is free of parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrance.” — Dr. Garshick
“This brand was formulated for the most sensitive skin. Patients with eczema or a reactive barrier can benefit from mineral sunscreen formulations—but not all are easy to wear daily due to the white chalky cast they leave behind. This particular brand gives reprieve to the barrier by just coating the skin with natural actives, titanium and zinc, and it goes on without residue.” — Dr. Gohara
“If you catch a pimple on your face that you want to see gone by the time you wake up the next morning, this is what you need. It works by absorbing the excess oil and pus inside of the blemish while protecting the area from further irritation.” — Jackson
These targeted formulas address even the most stubborn conditions, delivering healthy skin to all.
“Products that are rooted in science always resonate with dermatologists. The years of research that went into this growth factor come alive on the skin when used with regularity—think a noted improvement in complexion, texture, and tone.” — Dr. Gohara
“This uses 1% colloidal oatmeal, a classic natural treatment for eczema, combined with humectants and emollients to draw hydrating into the skin and improve the skin barrier. It’s also unscented, and improves the itch associated with eczema flares.” — Dr. Nazarian
“SkinBetter’s hero antioxidant serum with vitamin C, vitamin E and 17 additional antioxidants, this has now gone a step further to provide protection from internal causes of aging—in addition to protecting the skin from the environment. For rosacea patients with sensitivity and redness, Alto Advanced has been clinically studied, resulting in improvement of redness and inflammation.” — Dr. Levin
“Working to target brown spots and hyperpigmentation, this serum contains a blend of niacinamide, tranexamic acid and glycolic acid which all work to reduce discoloration and brighten the skin. It also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and is fragrance-free, making it safe for all skin types.” — Dr. Garshick
“This is a soothing body lotion fortified with salicylic acid to combat body acne and blemishes. It is fast-absorbing and non-greasy, and it penetrates the skin’s layers to soften rough, bumpy areas and eliminate dryness, improving skin texture and tone. Its silky, lightweight formula is packed with antioxidants and anti-irritants to promote healthy-looking, radiant skin that feels firmer and younger.” — Dr. Hartman
“This daily body lotion for normal to dry skin is formulated with shea butter, glycerin, and niacinamide to help replenish skin’s essential lipids and provide all-day hydration. It has a light texture and is quickly absorbed, and is excellent for dry, dehydrated, and flaky skin.” — Dr. Hartman
Deanna Pai is a freelance beauty writer and editor currently based in New York. She has more than 10 years of experience writing about beauty and wellness.