Derms Tell Us If ‘for All Skin Types’ Products Are Too Good to Be True

Photo: Gett Images / Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm
When you look at the products in your gym locker room, you're likely to find that a bulk of them are tabled as being "for all skin types." Which makes a ton of sense, everyone's skin is so different, so it's helpful to have something that works for everything. But in that sam breath, with everyone's skin being so different, it seems a little too good to be true. Are they legit?

Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Manhattan, says yes.

"Products that are designated for all skin types are typically made up of ingredients that are gentle enough for sensitive skin, yet effective for most skin types," says. Dr. Garshick.

Dr. Garshick says some products are better than others to buy in an all-skin-types formula. "Often gentle cleansers are a great option for all skin types," she says.  She likes the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($10), which is gentle, non-comedogenic, and non-irritating. Another fave is the Dove White Beauty Bar ($4), which is infused with moisture to gently cleanse the face while helping it maintain its natural moisture. "Everyone can benefit from a gentle cleanser as part of their regimen, as you never want to dry out the skin too much."

When it comes to moisturizer, however, Dr. Garshick says it's best to choose one targeted for your specific skin type.

"Everyone needs moisture, but the extent to which we want to add moisture back to the skin may vary in those with very dry skin versus those with oily skin versus those who are acne-prone," says Dr. Garshick. "For example, in those who are acne-prone, it can be important to find moisturizers that are oil-free or noncomedogenic."

In some cases, Rebecca Baxt, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey, says you're better off using products that are a bit more targeted. For example, "if you are acne- or rosacea-prone, an all-skin-type products might make it worse," she says. "If you do not have particular skin issues, then trying something that is labelled for all skin types should generally be fine."

Bottom line: all-skin-types products can be a great option. "It is important to remember that what works for your friend may not work best for you," says Dr. Garshick. If you’re noticing any issues with a product, consult your dermatologist and consider switching it up.

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