Putting together a skin-care routine can often require mixing and matching products from various brands in order to find exactly the right combination for your skin’s needs. And while this method can certainly be effective, it can also be time consuming and expensive. The good news? According to Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine, you only have to look as far as your drugstore’s CeraVe selection to find exactly what you need to treat any skin concern.
The brand has recently come into the spotlight thanks in large part to TikTok tutorials, but derms have long sung its praises. It’s got cleansers, treatments, and moisturizers to treat every sort of skin issue, and not a single one of them will run you more than $25. To save yourself some time mixing and matching on your own, we asked Dr. Garshick to put together CeraVe-exclusive routines for every skin type. Scroll through to find out exactly what you need.
If your skin is prone to breakouts, you’ll want to integrate acne-fighting ingredients into every step of your routine. Dr. Garshick recommends starting with CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser, which is made with zit-squelching benzoyl peroxide plus ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to help support the skin barrier and maintain hydration, so it won’t leave the skin feeling dry or irritated.
“Depending on your skin type, it can be used once or twice daily, but if just starting out, I recommend using it just once daily and increasing the frequency up to twice daily as needed,” she says. If you want to add some exfoliation into the mix, Dr. Garshick suggests swapping in CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ($14), “which uses salicylic acid to gently exfoliate and help unclog pores without leading to irritation or dryness,” she says.
Shop now: CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser, $15
Retinol is the gold standard for treating acne, and this $20 option is an easy and affordable way to integrate it into your routine. It stimulates cell turnover, which Dr. Garshick explains will “not only help with pores, but also the blemishes and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that results from acne, improving both skin tone and texture.”
Shop now: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, $20
“I always remind my patients of the importance of wearing a moisturizer, even for those with acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Garshick. This light lotion is great for everyday use, since it’s non-comedogenic and will effectively moisturize skin without clogging pores or feeling greasy. Plus, it’s got SPF 30, which is another important element in any acne-fighting routine. “Those with acne should always remember to wear sunscreen regularly as some ingredients to treat acne may make the skin more sensitive to the sun, and it is known that blemishes and dark spots left behind from acne can become darker with sun exposure,” says Dr. Garshick.
Shop now: CeraVe AM Moisturizing Lotion, $19
If you’re prone to dryness, you’ll want to look for a cleanser that will effectively wash your face without drying your skin, and this hydrating option does exactly that. “This cleanser uses an amino acid-based surfactant and gently transforms the cream into a delicate foam to help eliminate oil, dirt and buildup,” says Dr. Garshick. “It also contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin barrier and retain moisture.” You can use it in the morning and at night, and it’s the only step you’ll need to whisk away sunscreen, makeup, and any other dirt and grime that’s hanging out on your skin.
Shop now: Cerave Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser, $17
Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating hero that most derms will tell you is a non-negotiable for dealing with dry skin. “It’s known to attract 1000x its weight in water, to help restore moisture, keeping the skin feeling and looking hydrated and healthy,” says Dr. Garshick. “For those with dry skin, this can be used in addition to a moisturizer and can be applied just prior to the moisturizer.” This way, it will act as a sponge, helping your skin to better absorb the hydrating ingredients you layer on on top of it.
Shop now: CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $19
“CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is my go-to for dry skin as it contains ceramides to help strengthen and support the skin barrier to help keep moisture in, as well as hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. The heavy cream offers maximum hydration, and is made with time-release technology that will continue to moisturize your skin for 24 hours after you apply.
Shop now: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $19
This lightweight foaming cleanser bubbles up into a glorious, sudsy lather that will whisk away dirt and oil. It’s non-stripping, so it won’t disrupt your skin barrier or leave you feeling dry or irritated, and its non-comedogenic properties mean that it won’t clog your pores, either. Since it’s so gentle, you can use it twice a day as part of both your a.m. and p.m. cleansing routines.
Shop now: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, $16
If you’re a fan of cleansing bars, this one’s a great pick for treating oily skin. “It’s soap-free and non-comedogenic, and helps to effectively eliminate dirt and oil while still leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth,” says Dr. Garshick. “It’s especially useful for those with oily skin as it also contains kaolin clay which can help to absorb excess oil, without leaving the skin feeling dry.”
Shop now: CeraVe Foaming Cleansing Bar, $4
“In general, even those with oily skin should still be using moisturizers regularly to help keep the skin in balance, because if you strip the skin of too much of its natural oils, it can actually dry the skin out and trigger production of more oil,” says Dr. Garshick. She suggests a light lotion, like this one (as opposed to a heavier cream), which won’t leave any excess grease on your skin. “This lotion helps moisturize and protect the skin barrier, but absorbs easily and is easy to apply,” she says.
Shop now: CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion, $16
With sensitive skin, “gentle’ is the name of the game. ‘I recommend this cleanser, which is gentle on the skin and effectively cleanses, but also incorporates hyaluronic acid to attract moisture and ceramides to help protect and support the skin barrier,” says Dr. Garshick. The result is a clean complexion that doesn’t feel dry or stripped.
Shop now: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $16
“It is especially important for those with sensitive skin to remember to moisturize regularly and maintain the skin barrier, to minimize irritation caused by external factors.,” says Dr. Garshick. “This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer uses hyaluronic acid to attract moisture to the skin, and helps to retain moisture and restore the natural skin barrier through the use of ceramides.” At only $10 a bottle, you’ll be able to slather it on at all hours of the day and night without feeling like you’re breaking the bank.
Shop now: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $10
Vitamin C has long been the go-to ingredient for dealing with discoloration, and this is one of the best drugstore options money can by. “It contains 10 percent pure vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, which serves as an antioxidant to help fight free radical damage and helps to brighten and even out skin tone,” says Dr. Garshick. Use it in the morning after you wash your face (any cleanser will do), and follow it up with a layer of moisturizer and sunscreen.
Shop now: CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, $25
In addition to its powers for fighting acne, retinol can also be helpful for evening out your skin tone. “This serum is especially good for discoloration as it also contains licorice root extract to help brighten the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. “Additionally, this serum incorporates an encapsulated retinol along with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, making it gentle on the skin.” Apply before bed for best results.
Shop now: CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum, $18
Sun damage is the kiss of death for skin discoloration, which is why you’ll want to keep your complexion protected 365 days a year. This hydrating mineral sunscreen offers physical protection by way of SPF 50, and is also formulated with hyaluronic acid to retain skin moisture, ceramides to restore the skin barrier, and niacinamide to offer a calming, soothing effect.
Shop now: CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50, $16
Curious about other drugstore skin-care products a dermatologist recommends? Check out the video below.
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