I love putting this together because we all want the most healthy, vibrant skin we can have. And finding the best skincare products for our particular skin makes a difference. I’ve done lists like this before (See 2017’s here). There’s more emphasis on body skin care products this year, because our skin looks best when faces, necks, chests, etc. all match up well. We can all have healthy skin and look like our unique, beautiful selves.

So how did I create this list? Here were my criteria: these products need to substantially improve and maintain our skin health and beauty. They are the products that you need to already be using (So long as it matches your skin type and skin goals, of course) or adding ASAP. Some are sold in dermatology offices, and others are online, prescription, department store or spas. Some of my picks are classics where there’s still nothing better, some are new, and some are innovative. These are the best skincare products you shouldn’t live without. These products have all been tested by me, our staff and patients. We’ve seen the results in our clinic (where we’ve seen thousands of patients across 15+ years). Note: When searching online to purchase these, watch out for cheap online products. If the price is significantly lower than what reputable stores are carrying, they are likely fake products with identical packaging (this happens on amazon a lot, see my blog on it here).

Best Skincare Products for Face & Eyes

1. SheerZinc SPF 30 Clear or Tinted (Dermaquest) – Sunscreen 18% zinc

Use every morning 365 days a year! If you do nothing else for your skin this year, this should be it. Prevents aging, wrinkles, blotchiness, and skin cancer more than any other product you can use. You’ll love the tinted on your face. I use this. You want high zinc to block the most UVA (the wrinkle ray).

Get Dermaquest tinted SheerZinc SPF 30 sunscreen here. Get Dermaquest clear SheerZinc SPF 30 sunscreen here.

2. Prevention Daily Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 – not tinted (Image) – Sunscreen

18% zinc. It’s good to have a “clear” product for neck and chest because it won’t rub off on clothing like the tinted. It can also be used on the face but may be mildly chalky on darker skin types. Don’t buy the SPF 50; weirdly it has less zinc. Also the tinted SPF 30 is excellent for darker skin types, but has less zinc.

Get Image Prevention Daily Hydrating Not Tinted Sunscreen here.

3. Phloretin CF or CE Ferulic (SkinCeuticals) – Antioxidants

Phoretin CF and CE Ferrulic are a tie. Antioxidants turn out to be key. With lots of science that in the right concentrations these bind to skin cell DNA and protect them from free radicals. Use under sunscreen. The Phloretin travels better and the Ferrulic lasts a little longer.

Get SkinCenticals Phoretin CF Gel here

4. Rejuvenate AlphaRet (SkinBetter) – Hydroxy acid + Retinoid

This is becoming a popular product because it has both a retinol and an alpha hyroxy. Good for oilier, acne prone and normal skin types. Avoid if sensitive.

Learn more about AlphaRet here

5. Resveratrol B E (SkinCeuticals) – Antioxidant

The thinking behind this product is that  we know that antioxidants help prevent the damage to skin cell DNA  from UVA & UVB.  They also help prevent brown spots. So would adding another one be even better at preventing skin aging and brown spots? Very possibly. This one is meant to be used at night while their Phloretin CF is recommended under sunscreen in the am. Could be used with a retinoid over it, but monitor for possible irritation. It’s not a substitute for a retinoid though. Retinoids still are the gold standard for antiaging topicals.

Get SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E Antioxidant here.

6. Retinol 0.25% (NeoCutis) – Retinoid

This Vitamin A cousin is one that almost everyone can use. Gentle, good for sensitive skin and you can slowly work up to stronger ones. Don’t compare the % to tretinoin because it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Get SkinMedica Retinoid Cream here.

7. Renova Cream 0.25% (prescription) – Retinoid

Tretinoin is the generic. Still the “gold” standard in anti-aging.  With 20+ years of proven results and a ton of science, if you can find a version you like, don’t ever stop it. Prevents wrinkles, reverses sun damage, builds collagen, and prevents precancerous spots and skin cancers.

8. TNS Recovery Complex (SkinMedica) – Cell Growth Factors

This is the original cell growth factor product and is high quality. Use this as a first layer at night followed by moisturizer and/or a retinoid. The more expensive version has added antioxidants and peptides, so if not on a budget, consider it.

Get SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex here.

9. Ageless Total Pure Hyaluronic (Image) – Moisturizer

Concentrated hyaluronic acids and B5 pro vitamin. Great for extra hydration under a moisturizer or for acne prone or oily skin. As good as the SkinCeuticals Vitamin B5 gel but less expensive.

Get Ageless Total Pure Hyaluronic here.

10. Marine Collagen Cream (Pevonia) – Moisturizer

Safflower seed oil, marine collagen (algae), and Vitamin E. Feels rich but easy to blend into the skin. Similar to La Mer in hydrating ability, but at a better price point. Not greasy, with a light, natural fragrance. Very moisturizing and good on irritated or sensitive skin.

Get Pevonia Marine Collagen Cream here.

11. CeraVe or Cetaphil Cream – Moisturizer

Nothing beats these for cost effective whole body, keep it simple moisturizer. They both come in a lotion form in a pump bottle too. Easy to find and not expensive.

You can get these products at most drugstores or at Target.

12. Lemon Cleanser (Eminence) – Organic Cleanser

I use this organic cleanser as part of my own daily regimen. It cleans well but without stripping off natural oils. Like many Eminence products, it has a subtle fragrance that’s not overpowering or too long lasting. A creamy base.

Get Eminence Lemon Cleanser here.

13. Ligne Yeux Evolutive Eye Cream (Pevonia) – Eye Cream

My personal eye cream. Gentle enough for sensitive skin. Contains hyaluronic acid, Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate), Vitamin C, Vit E, and a gentle glycolic acid. Remember that wearing sunglasses help to protect the eye area also. Conforms to EU standards so a more natural base.

Get Ligne Yeux Evolution Eye Cream here

14. Eye Repair Cream – all trans retinol (Replenix) – Eye Cream

This is a good retinol option for the eye area. It’s gentle enough for most people to use while giving the benefits that retinoids do which is decreasing fine wrinkles, controlling pigment and dark circles, and improving sun damage. Contains antioxidants green tea polyphenols, Vit C, arnica, and a peptide. Remember that wearing sunglasses help to protect the eye area also.

Get Replenix All Trans Retinol Eye Repair Cream here.

15. Detoxifying Scrub Mask Face (Skinbetter Science) – Facial Scrub

Everyone needs one good facial scrub that is gentle, not abrasive, and really exfoliates. Jojoba beads, clay and gentle alpha hydroxys.

16. A great hat. Here’s some ideas.

Best Skincare Products for Neck & Chest

17. Neck, Chest and Hand Repair (SkinCeuticals) – Alpha Hydroxy

A gentle, efficient way to cover these 3 key areas at night. Finally a good product for the neck, chest and hands. Does seem to improve color and texture overall but don’t expect change in deeper wrinkles or raised brown spots. You need your dermatologist for those. Beta hydroxy acid plus essential oils.

Get SkinCeuticals Neck Chest and Hand Repair here.

18. Nectifirm (Revision Skincare) – Peptides

Multiple peptides and algae extracts. No neck cream is a neck lift, but this these two help a little.

Learn more about Nectifirm here

Best Skincare Products for Body

19. Apricot Oil (Eminence) – Organic Body Oil

Organic is good for the planet and really helps limit your chemical exposure especially when your whole body is involved. Use the oil by itself or mix it with your favorite body lotion in extra dry areas. Doesn’t stain clothing and absorbs well. Wait 5 min before dressing. Has a lovely, not too strong natural fragrance. Contains five different natural oils with the main one being apricot, and some antioxidants. Really helps to lock in skin moisture. This one has the perfect consistency, and good packaging to prevent spills.

Get Eminence Apricot Body Oil here.

20. Honeydew or Coconut Lotion (Eminence) – Organic Body Lotion

Use organic body lotions to spare yourself the chemicals since this is a much bigger area than the face. Good for the planet too! Perfect consistency and fun, light, natural fragrances. Bonus antioxidants too.

Get Eminence Honeydew Body Lotion here. Get Eminence Coconut Firming Body Lotion here

21. Bloxsun Driving Gloves – Protective Clothing

These gloves are great to protect your hands from the UVA light that comes in through your windshield. I use them all the time now when I’m driving. Soft, easy to get on and off, with the tips cut out, so you can use your phone, if needed. They even have a textured surface on the grip so your hands won’t slip on the wheel.

Get Bloxsun Driving Gloves here

22. Body Scrub Grapefruit (Keihls) – Scrub

Perfect consistency and won’t turn your shower into an oil slick or into a really weird color.

You can get this at most department stores. Inquire at one in your area. 

23. Resist Weightless Body Treatment (Paula’s Choice) – Body Lotion

With 2% beta hydroxy acid. Why? This is better than conventional lotions for dry or rough skin. It is lightweight, yet effective and NOT sticky. Has a very light fruity fragrance that is gender neutral. Reasonably priced.

Learn more about it here

24. Seea swim wear & rashguards (Seea) – Protective Clothing

STILL the coolest, best feeling, easy to swim in and do water sports in sun protection. Great designs.

Browse Seea products here.




Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
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SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!