Dermatologists’ favorite over-the-counter skin care products

When it comes to keeping your skin looking and feeling fantastic, your at-home skin care regimen is important — the in-office component is only half of it. Your dermatologist can make recommendations for over-the-counter skin care products to help maintain and even improve the results of your prescription or in-office treatment. Here are the top over the counter skin care products to discuss with your dermatologist.


Diagnosis: Acne Vulgaris or Cystic Acne

For adult acne, the name of the game is reducing oil production and clearing away dead skin before it can clog pores. While prescription acne treatment is right for many, your derm can also suggest over-the-counter acne treatments like these:

Gently Exfoliating Cleanser

Scrubbing cleansers with beads have had their day in the sun — and good riddance! These rougher washes can be way too harsh on skin and often may worsen acne breakouts. Instead, look to over-the-counter cleansers with ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid to clear away pore-clogging dead skin and increase cellular turnover rate. This helps kick acne to the curb and leave your skin bright and glowing.

Spot Treatment

Gone are the days of dabbing toothpaste on your whiteheads. Instead, use a spot treatment including salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or adapalene gel. These ingredients can be helpful in helping reduce but not cure a breakout.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid At-Home Peel

When you can’t make it into the dermatologist for a peel, an at-home treatment with glycolic or salicylic acid is the next best thing. Look for a product that also packs in the antioxidants, like vitamins A and C, to add anti-aging benefits as you clear away adult acne.


Diagnosis: Eczema, Rosacea, and Dermatitis

The common thread between eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis (contact and atopic), is that redness and irritation are one of the primary symptoms. While your dermatologist can prescribe topical treatments, you’ll also want to be sure your at-home regimen is non-irritating to support your doctor’s treatment plan.

Non-Irritating Cleanser

For skin that’s prone to irritation, stick with gentle, fragrance-free cleansers for sensitive skin. Also be sure to avoid exfoliating ingredients that may irritate skin further. If your skin is on the dryer side, it doesn’t hurt to look for a moisturizing cleanser.

Moisturizing Cream

If you suffer from eczema or rosacea, you know that the itching can get intense. Keeping your skin moisturized can go a long way toward reducing that itch and therefore, the damage and redness that comes from scratching. Look for gentle unscented lotions or creams that include barrier repair lipids. Learn more about moisturizing here.

Gentle Sunscreen

The redness and irritation of a sunburn can exacerbate your existing rosacea or eczema symptoms, so wearing sunblock daily is essential. Look for at least SPF 30, and a product that’s labeled for sensitive skin.


Diagnosis: Psoriasis

When it comes to psoriasis, over-the-counter skin care products can complement prescription treatment. Moisturization is the name of the game when it comes to reducing scaliness and flaking at home, and shampoo with zinc pyrithione can do the same to abate symptoms of the scalp.

Moisturizing Cleanser and Lotion

At every step of your skin care regimen, look for non-irritating, moisturizing ingredients. Many psoriasis patients prefer cream-based cleansers that won’t strip as much oil from the skin. While you may find ointments most effective for managing your psoriasis, they can also feel heavy. Try using thicker creams or ointments at night with lighter-wearing lotions during the day.

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Dandruff is a common symptom of psoriasis. Look for active ingredients like salicylic acid and zinc to reduce flaking.


Diagnosis: Wrinkles & Sun Damage

Depending on the severity of your signs of aging, your dermatologist may recommend in office treatments, like filler injections, peels, microneedling, and more. But, she may also recommend products to use at-home alone or to complement or enhance results of in-office treatment. Examples include:

Antioxidant-Rich Moisturizer

Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, retinol, and green tea help reduce the effects of pollution, sun damage, and other atmospheric sources of free radicals. Look for these ingredients in your daily moisturizer to help protect skin from the harmful and aging effects of free radicals.


Ready to take the next step?

Talk to your dermatologist about which over-the-counter products are best for your skin care needs.