The Top Skin Care Products in 2024

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Taking care of your skin doesn’t have to break the bank. Many of the top skin care ingredients and technologies can be found right at your local drugstore. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best over-the-counter skin care products you can pick up without a prescription. From cleansers to moisturizers to sunscreens, here are the top drugstore skin care items to help you achieve healthy, glowing skin.

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A gentle cleanser is the foundation of any solid skin care routine. Look for a fragrance-free, non-drying formula that won’t strip your skin. Here are some top drugstore cleanser options:

  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – A classic cleanser that’s gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types. It contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera and won’t disrupt your skin’s moisture barrier.


After cleansing, be sure to follow up with a moisturizer to restore hydration and reinforce the skin barrier. These are some excellent drugstore moisturizing options:


Daily sunscreen application is crucial for preventing sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging. Some top sunscreen options from the drugstore include:

Also Check out our article on Hair Care.

Spot Treatments

For clearing up occasional breakouts, look for acne spot treatments with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Some options:

  • Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment – Uses 2% salicylic acid to penetrate pores, dissolve oil and debris, and exfoliate away dead skin cells.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel – 10% benzoyl peroxide quickly reduces breakouts and helps prevent new ones from forming.
  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Spot Treatment – LHA clears away pore-clogging dead skin cells while lipo-hydroxy acid soothes inflammation and redness. Oil-free gel.
  • Differin Acne Spot Treatment – Adapalene is a powerful prescription-strength retinoid that penetrates pores, normalizes shedding, and prevents new breakouts.


Retinoids are the gold standard for reducing wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and roughness. Some excellent over-the-counter options include:


Gently exfoliating promotes cellular turnover to reveal smoother, brighter skin. Look for leave-on exfoliants with ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or polyhydroxy acids. Products to try:

  • Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads – 5% glycolic acid retexturizes skin overnight. Also has hyaluronic acid for hydration.
  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA – A 10 percent lactic acid serum that smooths and clarifies without irritation. Best for normal to oily skin types.
  • CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser – Salicylic acid creams away rough, dead cells while ceramides nourish. Rinse-off exfoliant suitable for all skin types.
  • First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads – Contain lactic and glycolic acid to gently exfoliate and brighten dull skin. Cucumber and licorice root soothe.
  • No7 Laboratories Line Correcting Booster Serum – Polyhydroxy acids smooth fine lines and improve tone and texture with continued use.

Body Care

Extend your skin care routine to the body with moisturizing creams, exfoliants, and sun protection. Useful drugstore products include:

Skincare Tools

Certain tools can help maximize the effectiveness of your topical skincare products. Consider adding:

  • Facial cleansing brush – Gently removes dirt, oil, makeup; improves product absorption
  • Jade roller or gua sha tool – Depuffs, stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage
  • Derma roller or microneedling device – Creates micro-injuries to boost collagen and absorption
  • LED light mask – Red and near-infrared light reduces inflammation and stimulates collagen
  • High-frequency device – Kills acne bacteria, boosts circulation and oxygenation


Taking good care of your skin doesn’t require expensive products or trips to a dermatologist’s office. Many of the ingredients that skin care experts recommend on a daily basis – ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, retinoids, and antioxidants – can be found in affordable drugstore skin care items. By taking the time to read labels and understand your skin’s needs, you can build an effective routine with gentle cleansers, lightweight moisturizers, broad spectrum sunscreens, and proven anti-aging formulations. Don’t underestimate the power of drugstore finds to transform your skin’s health and appearance. With consistent use of the right over-the-counter products, you can achieve clean, clear, hydrated skin and address common concerns like acne, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.

Still have questions about drugstore skin care? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is drugstore skin care as good as expensive brands?

Yes, in most cases! Many affordable drugstore brands use the same effective ingredients that are found in pricier products. Focus on the formulation, not the cost.

How should I choose products for my skin type?

Read the label and look for ingredients tailored to your skin’s needs – like ceramides and hyaluronic acid for dryness or niacinamide and retinoids for oily/acne-prone skin. Avoid fragrance.

How often should I use acid exfoliants?

Start by using glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid exfoliants just 2-3 nights per week. You can gradually increase frequency based on your tolerance. Don’t exfoliate if your skin feels irritated.

Is it better to use drugstore or high-end makeup?

Drugstore makeup quality has vastly improved. Focus on choosing non-comedogenic formulas free of problematic ingredients like fragrance and coconut oil. Remove makeup nightly.

Should I use separate products for my face and body?

Not necessarily – many facial cleansers and moisturizers can be used on both face and body. Just avoid heavier creams or anything that clogs pores on the face. Use higher SPF sunscreen on your face.

How can I save money on skin care products?

Opt for value sizes, shop sales, look for coupons/rebates, buy store-brand generics instead of name brands, split larger sizes with friends, and cut back on unnecessary products.

Is it okay to use drugstore anti-aging products in my 20s?

Yes! Incorporating over-the-counter retinoids, antioxidants, and sunscreen in your 20s will help maintain youthful skin as you age. Don’t wait until you see signs of aging. Be proactive.

Can drugstore skin care really produce good results?

Absolutely! Many dermatologist-recommended ingredients like retinoids, alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids, niacinamide, and antioxidants can provide dramatic anti-aging, acne-fighting, and tone-evening results over time when used consistently. Develop a routine using science-backed ingredients, and be patient for visible improvements in your skin.

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