Get ready for a skincare overhaul with these dermatologist-recommended gems conveniently available at your local Walgreens, CVS or Target. In a previous post, we shared four drugstore brands with affordable and efficient skin care products. To take it up a notch, we reached out to one of our experts, Dr. Simela, a medical and cosmetic dermatologist in Paramus and Morristown, NJ. For this post, she shares some of her personal favorites as well as what she frequently recommends to her patients. If that’s not enough to get you as excited, she also drops some valuable gems that you will NOT find on any packaging labels. This, my friend, is just one of many reasons why expert insights matters, so keep reading.

“I truly believe there are great products that can be found at your local drugstore or pharmacy for everyday use”
Tanasha Simela, D.O.

Cetaphil daily facial cleanser

A classic drugstore find, this cleanser is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (does not cause blackheads), as well as hypoallergenic (less likely to cause reactions). As an aside, the use of fragranced facial care products may lead to skin reactions, so fragrance-free is always a plus. Overall, this cleanser is great for everyday use by all skin types AND at such a fantastic price. Dr. Simela also recommends using the cleanser prior to applying a topical retinoid at night.

PRICE: $6.39 (Target)

La roche-posay hydrating gentle cleanser

You already know how much we love the La Roche Posay brand– it made our list of top four drugstore skincare brands to know. The brand truly delivers on effective skincare products.  Her personal favorite, Dr. Simela shares “not only is it important to look for products that contain ceramides to help with the skin’s barrier, but this hydrating cleanser also contains niacinamide which can help reduce facial redness and refine skin texture.”

PRICE: $14.99 (Target)

La roche-posay Toleriane double repair moisturizer

This oil-free moisturizer is truly a drug store gem and is formulated to hydrate and restore skin barrier. Another personal favorite, Dr. Simela recommends using this moisturizer before applying a nightly retinoid to avoid dryness and peeling. 

PRICE: $13.99 (Target)

Vanicream moisturizing skin cream

This product is what we like to call a legacy product (it’s been around forever), and it’s formulated without dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, or parabens. Check, check, check, and another checkmark—all major plus!! “I particularly recommend this cream for those with sensitive skin and during the cold winter months,” says Dr. Simela. So, if you’re on the east coast, winter is coming– you may want to stock up this cream to stay moisturized and preserve your glow.

PRICE: $14.99 (Walgreens)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Personal favorite #3 on the list, Dr. Simela shares she uses this product multiple times during the day to keep her skin hydrated, especially when traveling on planes. “The hydro boost water gel is excellent for all skin types, especially acne-prone skin.”

PRICE: $19.99 (CVS)

Panoxyl acne foaming wash

The active ingredient in this cleanser is benzoyl peroxide, which is one of the most frequently use acne treatments, with more than a 50-year track record. Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) helps to treat acne by killing the acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes, inside your pores. To combat this bacteria, Dr. Simela recommends this foaming cleanser for those with acne-prone skin in various areas of the body, including the chest and back. PRICE: $11.99 (Walgreens)

la roche-posay effaclar duo ACNE TREAtMENT

Another great option for acne-prone skin, Effaclar Duo is a two-in-one acne spot treatment and exfoliator. It contains both micronized BPO (5.5%) and micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA). What does this mean? Essentially, the BPO used for this product is uniquely formulated to penetrate the pores better while reducing irritation, and LHA helps to create a smooth and even skin texture. Along with its acne benefits, Dr. Simela also recommends applying a thin layer of Effaclar Duo after shaving. Surprise, surprise ladies (and gents)!

PRICE: $36.95 (Walgreens)

aveeno positively smooth shave gel

Many skincare brands claim it, but Aveeno products are genuinely dermatologist-recommended, with effective skincare products for those with sensitive skin or conditions with a compromised skin barrier like eczema. With their blend of colloidal oatmeal and emollients, Aveeno products help maintain moisture and reduce dryness. Dr. Simela recommends this shave gel for those who are prone to razor bumps. She also adds proper shaving techniques (e.g., warm compresses, avoid stretching the area) are essential to reducing the occurrence of unwanted razor bumps.

PRICE: $4.99 (Walgreens)


As if eight results-driven products are not enough, Dr. Simela also shared the following three products for everyday use. While you won’t find them at your local pharmacy, we’ve included them for our online shoppers. They’re available for purchase at the, which is an excellent destination for exceptional skincare products. Heads up, these next three are a bit more of an investment, but it will be worthwhile in the long run.


SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum

This well-formulated serum treatment combines 0.5% ferulic acid, 15% vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid), pure vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)—a powerful combination of antioxidants that work well together to protect the skin from damage by environmental free radicals. In fact, this serum can be worn underneath your facial sunscreen for added protection against UVA/UVB. “This is a great product for those looking to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I recommend this serum to patients to improve the skin’s signs of aging and photodamage as well brighten one’s complexion.”

PRICE: $165.00 (

Vivant Mandelic Acid Wash

Everyone is always curious what products dermatologists use, and this is one of the several exceptional products that Dr. Simela personally uses and recommends. “Not only does this cleanser act as an antibacterial to combat acne, but it also helps with discoloration, wrinkles, and age spots.  I really love it for patients battling with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” shares Dr. Simela.

PRICE: $40.00 (

avene mineral sunscreen (dark)

We all know the importance of sun protection and wearing sunscreen daily to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays.  Dermatologists recommend physical sunscreens containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide; however, they tend to leave you with a white film, especially on darker skin tones or those with “skin of culture,” as Dr. Simela eloquently describes.  “Avene mineral sunscreen and Elta MD (not pictured) are some of my favorites because they have tinted options for various skin tones.  I use Avene mineral sunscreen (dark) as part of my daily makeup routine.  I substitute it for my foundation…sunscreen, lipstick, and then go!”

PRICE: $36.00 (

And there you have it—affordable skin care for everyday use and gems from Dr. Simela.

With holiday shopping sales and deals around the corner, there’s no better time to start your overhaul. For those items that call for a bit more of an investment, tag it on to your holiday wish list, who knows you might get lucky. 

Either way, we are affirming that 2018 is going to be the year for your healthy glow-up. CLAIM IT!!

Tags : acnebenzoyl peroxidecetaphildermatologist-recommendedferulic acidla roche-posaymoisturizerneutrogenaskincareskinceuticalsvivant

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