They’re effective and affordable.

By Christie Calucchia
August 26, 2019
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Sure, you can shell out copious amounts of money on expensive skincare products, but when it comes to really getting the job done, dermatologists confirm what we always hoped was true. “There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on skincare,” says Claire Chang, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist. Instead, she recommends getting to know your skin and learning what ingredients work best for your specific needs. From there, you can make smart decisions when you’re in the skincare aisle—even when you’re at the drugstore.

Plenty of drugstore skincare products are just as potent as the flashy bottles sold by luxury brands. “Look at the ingredients. Don’t let labeling or marketing sway you,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. Instead, pay attention to the ingredients. For instance, if your skin is acne-prone or oily, look for products that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid, according to Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, a Miami-based dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare. Or if your skin is in need of hydration, keep an eye out for lipids and ceramides when scanning labels.

To make things as easy as possible, we asked dermatologists to recommend the best drugstore skincare products for all skin types, all conveniently available at Walmart. Here are five effective yet affordable skincare favorites—from lotions and gels to moisturizers and cleansing cloths—to try ASAP.  

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1
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Tiffany Jow Libby, MD, FACMS, FAAD, a New York-based dermatologist, calls this go-to option from Cetaphil a “one-size fits all moisturizer,” adding that you can use it on both your face and body. “I love how lightweight yet hydrating this moisturizer is, and that it is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic for my patients,” she said.

To buy: $10; walmart.com.

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2
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

“This richly textured moisturizer is loaded with ceramides, which are the skin’s natural moisture-trapping healthy oils,” Dr. Ciraldo says. Starting at puberty, your body starts to make less of these oils. Instead, they’re replaced with higher levels of sebum (an oily substance that keeps the skin and hair moisturized), she says. “This is great to use on extremities every morning. After taking a tepid water shower and pat drying, apply to still dampened skin for maximum benefit,” Dr. Ciraldo adds.

To buy: from $12; walmart.com.

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3
Differin Adapalene 0.1% Acne Treatment Gel

“Differin is an over-the-counter retinoid, aka a Vitamin A derivative that treats acne and works as an anti-aging product by treating fine lines and wrinkles,” Dr. Libby says. “It also helps improve skin discoloration and improve cellular turnover. It's the best bang for your buck." Dr. Chang also recommended this gel, saying, “Differin tends to be more stable compared to prescription tretinoin and gentler on the skin."

To buy: $11 (was $14); walmart.com.

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4
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel Face Moisturizer

Dr. Chang recommends this moisturizer because it contains hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that attracts water into the skin for a plump, hydrated look. “It is non-comedogenic and feels light and cool to touch, making it perfect for the summer,” she says. 

To buy: $17 (was $18); walmart.com.

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5
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths

These gentle cloths are perfect for removing makeup, no matter your skin type. Even those with sensitive skin can use this product. “I love that the packs are also lightweight enough for travel and on-the-go,” Dr. Nazarian says.

To buy: $6; walmart.com.

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