25 Products Under $20 Your Dermatologist Would Probably Be Proud Of You For Using
If dermatologists gave out gold stars, you'd definitely get one after using these.
We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
1. A ridiculously popular serum from L'Oreal featuring the magic of hyaluronic acid — which is a must for anyone with dry skin. It's designed to attract moisture and even has vitamin C to help brighten your skin the more you use it.
Promising review: "I was very skeptical of this as I've tried so many products to help my skin and they never work. This was the last one before I would be forced to accept that I look 10 years older than I am. After about two weeks of using this regularly, as directed, my skin is so much smoother and less oily. The lines and dark bags under my eyes have significantly lessened. I've started receiving compliments on how I'm 'glowing' and how my skin tone is even. For the price, it’s definitely worth it especially when combined with the other products in the line." —Sheryce
Get it from Amazon for $17.09.
2. A tube of retinol night cream that puts in serious work while you sleep. It's powerful enough to plump and firm your skin but gentle enough to use it every night. And seriously — retinol is basically a time machine in a bottle.
Promising review: "I cannot believe how well this is working! I've been using it consistently every night with moisturizer for one week and I'm already seeing drastic results to smooth out my cystic-acne scars on my cheeks! I'm so excited that I've found something that doesn't break out my acne-prone, eczema-prone, highly sensitive skin." —Emily H.
Get it from Amazon for $16.22.
3. A super-gentle yet hydrating Cerave eye cream to perk up your puffy eyes and fool people into thinking you got a full eight hours of sleep last night. It contains hyaluronic acid for extra moisture and three essential ceramides to protect the delicate skin around your eye.
Promising review: "I've been embarrassed for years about the bags under my eyes, but with two preschoolers at home, stress, and mild insomnia, I didn't see a way out. This is like a little miracle tube. I use it before bed and then in the morning too. I use it even if I didn't wash my face. I've gone from looking like there are bruises under my eyes to looking normal again. I no longer feel the need to use concealer under my eyes on a regular basis. I highly recommend!" —Amber J.
Get it from Amazon for $10.26.
4. A luxuriously creamy facial cleanser for anyone with excessively dry skin. It feels just like a lotion when you apply it, but it magically breaks down dirt and oil as you work it into the skin. If your skin is constantly flaky and sensitive, this one's for you!
Promising review: "I was kind of hesitant at first because the texture is like lotion, but don't let it fool you! It’s such a great face wash! I have struggled with my acne for years and have tried a billion different products and none of them worked like this one. It took about a month of consistent use but it made my skin look almost flawless." —Cassidy C.
Get it from Amazon for $13.56+ (available in two sizes).
5. Or! A purifying foaming cleanser if your skin is more on the combination side. It starts off as a creamy gel formula that's soft enough for your dry spots and then lathers up into a rich foam that'll break down all the excess oil that's making your nose and forehead a little too glowy.
Promising review: "I have found the HOLY GRAIL of face wash for sensitive skin. This product cuts through a full face of makeup with just one pump and lather. Leaves my skin smooth and soft. I have had less acne since using this for a month or so. This entire bottle has lasted me for three months (one pump per day)." —Kat
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
6. OR! A medicated gel cleanser that uses the power of salicylic acid to banish breakouts and reduce excess surface oil by 47% — so you'll be looking matte and breakout-free in no time. It also contains lipohydroxy acid to lightly exfoliate any dead skin, so this is basically like a brand-new face in a bottle.
Promising review: "I have been using La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash for cystic/hormonal acne, and it has seriously been the best product I have tried so far. I have very sensitive and dry skin, so I also follow up with an eye cream and moisturizer (because this product can be drying if you don't). This cleansing gel has completely changed my skin in just 10 days; it is more clear, smooth, and even-toned. I think this product is great for all skin types that struggle with acne, as long as you follow up with the proper moisturizer/skin regimen according to your skin type." —Chelsea
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
7. A brightening serum with a healthy dose of vitamin C — because it does more than just boost your immune system! It'll help even out your skin tone and provide some extra antioxidant protection at the same time.
Promising review: "I have sensitive, dry, pale skin. My skin breaks out all the time and the red marks never seem to fade. I wanted to try a vitamin C serum to see if it would help with redness. Holy moly this stuff works! There's no strong fragrance and the serum absorbs into skin quickly leaving no residue. I apply a light moisturizer over before applying makeup in the morning. I have not even finished the entire tube and I can already tell my skin is softer and I have not had any breakouts. Old red spots are also fading. I know this isn't all in my head either ... My boyfriend actually noticed and commented that my skin was looking better totally unprompted. This dude doesn't even notice when I get a haircut so I consider this a big deal." —cmoney
Get it from Amazon for $18.73.
8. A gentle yet effective retinol eye cream to tackle dark circles and those pesky crow's feet that are starting to creep in at the corners of your eyes. It still contains a good amount of soothing hyaluronic acid, so no need to worry about it being too intense for sensitive skin.
Promising review: "I have been using this product for almost a month now and speaking from a person with really bad allergies and sinuses since childhood (which is one of many benefactors of dark circles), I've noticed a difference. My dark circles seem to be lighter and not as dark. It is a work in progress but overall I do see a difference!" —Norela
Get it from Amazon for $16.
9. A blackhead remover liquid with 4% BHA, which is essentially a powerful chemical exfoliator. You can slather it all over your "problem areas" after cleansing to reduce the size of enlarged pores and finally diminish those pesky blackheads that never seem to go away. Your derm will be so glad you've finally moved on from pore strips.
Promising review: "This product does a fantastic job of keeping my large nose-straddling blackheads at bay. I use it as an exfoliating toner, and the texture is simply perfect — just the right amount of slip, liquid-y enough to spread, and viscous enough to not run. Just three or four pumps is sufficient to cover my face, and the scent of the product is pleasing but not very noticeable." —Melody P.
Get it from Amazon for $16.18.
10. A gentle everyday facial lotion with an oil-free formula that sinks in almost instantly — so it's perfect for anyone who hates the feeling of putting moisturizer all over their face. But don't let the lightweight texture fool you — the niacinamide and prebiotic thermal water will have your skin feeling just as smooth and moisturized as it would after using a heavy-duty cream.
Promising review: "It is lightweight, nongreasy, absorbs very quickly, and lasts all day. It has never caused the hair around my face to get greasy, a frequent issue of mine, nor caused my glasses to slide up and down my nose on an oil slick. I do not leave face prints on my cellphone either. My skin has improved so dramatically in the last few weeks of using this that I am tempted to believe it's a bit magical. My pores have visibly shrunk around my nose and cheeks...always the worst area for me. My skin color has dramatically evened out and improved with much less redness. And, most importantly, I always feel hydrated now and don't have any dry skin on my face." —supersjh
Get it from Amazon for $19.99.
11. A clay mask designed to soak up excess oil and wash off the bacteria that causes breakouts, so it's basically a must if you've been dealing with maskne for the past year.
12. This outrageously popular Differin gel that has compelled over 25,000 Amazon reviewers to leave a review as glowing as their skin. It's a prescription-strength retinoid that gets deep down in your pores to promote skin turnover, so you'll basically have a brand-new face after a few uses.
Promising review: "I don't have too much of an issue with acne, however I do have hormonally based pimples once a month, with a few pimples that break through every now and then. I really purchased because it is a retinoid that you don't have to go to the doctor for and I wanted it to help with some sun damage on my face and fine lines. I've only been using this for a month, but I can honestly say that within the first week I could see a change in my skin. I have absolutely had not one breakout of any kind and my skin is so smooth. I sincerely believe that the discoloration and hyperpigmentation on my skin is beginning to fade." —Catattack
Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in two sizes and two bottle styles).
13. A facial sunscreen that's super powerful thanks to the SPF 100, but feels instantly dry to the touch so it won't make your skin feel greasy and heavy during a warm summer day.
Promising review: "I always wear sunscreen (rain or shine) but I hate wearing it on my face bc it always feels kinda greasy and heavy. NOT THIS ONE. This one is actually very light and it doesn't leave my face feeling super greasy and sticky. Once it dries, it feels pretty light, which is perfect for my oily skin." —Ruch
Get it from Amazon for $8.97+ (available in three SPF levels).
14. A moisturizing and lightly exfoliating cream you can apply to particularly stubborn areas you just know are about to break out, or simply slather all over your face as an extra preventative measure.
Promising review: "I've been using this moisturizer for about three weeks and it is the best one I've ever had. It makes my skin silky smooth, and has really helped with my acne and scarring. It's great for under makeup, and I will be purchasing this again and considering other products in this shop!" —Nailah
Cedar Creek Essentials is a small Etsy shop based in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
15. Aztec Secret Indian Bentonite Healing Clay to extract dirt and oil from your pores and keep your skin feeling its absolute best. It's basically like a reset button for those times when your skin needs a little extra love.
Promising review: "Great product. I mix Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with my Aztec Secret Indian Bentonite Healing Clay for my facial masks (instead of mixing water with the clay). After the facial, my pores are totally clean, and they seem to disappear. My skin also tightens and takes on a youthful glow. The results last for about a week or a little longer." —Carbonglo
Get it from Amazon for $14.95+ (available in two sizes).
16. A set of vibrating facial massagers to stimulate circulation and firm the skin on your face and body. Plus, the gold-plated tips make them extra in the best way possible.
Promising review: "This is an awesome product. I didn't know what to expect, but really love it. I have been reading about the benefits of using these and thought I'd give it a try, but didn't want to spend a lot of money. The vibration is perfect, and it really lifts your skin. My face felt relaxed and the skin smoother and a bit tighter." —Lauren
Get it from Amazon for $18.98.
17. A handmade mask made with 13 herbs and four different clays to not only banish breakouts, but also stimulate collagen production to help you wave goodbye to any pesky acne scars.
Promising review: "This stuff is incredible. It pulls out deep toxins overnight. If I feel a cystic pimple coming on, I'll do a whole mask or spot treat with a dab and it helps relieve swelling and inflammation within hours. It'll bring emerging pimples to a head overnight, cleans out the pores, and makes sure they don't come back! There's a nice cooling, soothing effect as soon as you put it on, too." —MJ Sparks
Phoenix K Creations is a small Etsy shop based in Eugene, Oregon.
18. A tub of blemish-clearing pads from the brand behind everyone's favorite affordable toner. These little exfoliating wipes are alcohol- and fragrance-free, so you can swipe away to your heart's content without irritating your skin.
19. A lightweight liquid foundation with surprisingly impressive coverage. Not only will it immediately cover acne, but it also contains salicylic acid to treat blemishes and stop future ones from occurring.
Promising review: "I love this stuff! It's one of the only foundations that my dermatologist lets me use that actually covers anything. The other noncomedogenic foundations I have tried hardly cover anything. You can use a little for light coverage or use a lot for full coverage. I've applied it with a sponge, brush, and silicone sponge and it worked great with all. It even works fine if you just apply it with your fingers. I have extremely acne-prone skin and it does not make me break out. It also has salicylic acid in it which helps with breakouts." —Kindle Customer
Get it from Amazon for $4.01+ (available in 15 shades).
20. The extremely beloved Mario Badescu Drying Lotion that looks like a tiny science experiment, but acts like a magical acne potion. Simply dip a cotton swab down into the pink solution, then dab it over any pimples to watch them shrink in just a few hours.
Promising review: "Honestly, I assume that this dainty bottle is powered by some sort of magic, because this stuff is truly ah-mazing! Not long ago, I had a deep pimple that was building to a slow crescendo of awful (important to note, I usually have clear skin), and my mother-in-law recommended this stuff to me. She promised that it would drastically reduce the pimple, if not zap it altogether, overnight. I was wary, but I also had a business trip coming up and I was worried that the tender mound was going to blossom into a third eyeball by the time I stepped off the plane for client meetings. I dabbed a tiny amount of this stuff on the zit after my nightly facial routine (it kind of looks like calamine lotion) and went to bed not expecting much. No joke, this miracle elixir managed to shrink the nasty little sucker so much that the tenderness had gone away!" —Caerley Hill
Get it from Amazon for $17.
21. An all-natural pimple potion with a super-convenient rollerball applicator so you can quickly swipe it over your skin the second you feel a breakout occurring.
Promising review: "My hormonal acne is pretty bad. Applied pimple potion at 4:30 p.m. and it went down dramatically by 7:30. This stuff is MAGICAL." —Rosemary Perez
Rooted Earth is a small Etsy shop based in Casco, Maine.
22. A sprayable body acne mist that will have you screaming "WHY DON'T MORE BRANDS MAKE THIS?!" It features a blend of salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and witch hazel to keep body breakouts under control and a nozzle that sprays at any angle, so you can really target those problem areas with ease.
Promising review: "I bought this a few months back just to try it out and I can honestly say I love it. I spray it all over my back, chest, bum, back of my legs, basically anywhere on my body that I tend to have breakouts, and it has cleared my acne tremendously. I also stopped getting those stubborn ingrown hairs on my bum and legs! Must try it out!!!" —MISSCHAVEZ604
Get it from Versed for $14.99.
23. A pack of Avarelle Acne Cover Patches you can quickly plop on any pimple and let the blend of tea tree and calendula oils shrink your zit in just a few hours. Your derm will be very relieved that you aren't popping it!
Promising review: "I love this product! Whenever I have a pimple that is ready to burst (whitehead), I put one of these stickers on for a day and BOOM, it flattens and sucks up all that yucky junk. It feels really comfortable and can be barely noticeable if you have a small pimple that needs to be removed. There were times where I wore these out to school. Great product!" —Anon
Get a pack of 40 from Amazon for $8.49.
24. Or! A similar but even cuter set of patches to pull out impurities and reduce the size of your blemish. And let's face it, they're so adorable you might be tempted to put one on even when you don't have a breakout.
Promising review: "WOW, I honestly didn't think pimple patches could work so well. I've used other cutesy brand ones in the past and they've done an OK job but these are *chefs kiss*. For real, I tried them on both an old maskne zit and a freshly budding maskne zit and both were nearly flattened and completely gone when I took the patches off 4+ hours later." —Alana M.
Nano Lua Shop is a small Etsy shop based in Phoenix, Arizona.