The Top 3 Dermatologist-Recommended Skincare Ingredients

skincare ingredients

Have you ever walked into a skincare shop like Sephora, Ulta, or Blue Mercury and been instantly overwhelmed by the number of skincare products touting anti-aging benefits? Me too and I’m a dermatologist!

Contrary to what many people think, a great skincare regimen does not have to be complex or expensive. Your skin does not need a bazillion different creams, serums, oils, and masks to look youthful and healthy. There are really a limited number of ingredients in skincare that have been proven to be effective at reversing and preventing aging.

Here are three of our Board-Certified Dermatologist’s favorite affordable skincare ingredients—that actually work.

Hyaluronic Acid

We love hyaluronic acid moisturizers at Siperstein Dermatology Group.

Many of our patients know about hyaluronic acid because of the popularity of hyaluronic acid facial fillers like Juvederm® and Restylane®, but many do not know that it can also be applied topically as a very effective and inexpensive moisturizer.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar in our body that hydrates our skin by holding 1,000x its weight in water. Topical hyaluronic acid actually draws water from the air and binds it tightly to the skin, creating a nice hydration barrier between the skin and the dry air, leaving your skin dewy and soft.

Hyaluronic acid moisturizers play nicely with other topicals, so you can incorporate them easily into your skin care regimen. If you are applying numerous topicals on your skin at the same time, we recommend using your vitamin and retinoid creams first, and layering your hyaluronic acid moisturizer on top.

Which Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizers Do We Recommend?

Some of our dermatologists’ favorite hyaluronic acid moisturizers include:

If your skin is feeling dry from the blast of indoor air conditioning this summer, give one of these hyaluronic acid moisturizers a try!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent natural antioxidant found in foods like kiwi, strawberries, bell peppers, oranges, and papaya. The best way to take in Vitamin C is through eating fruit and vegetables, as our body needs this vitamin to function well.

Topical Vitamin C is a modern innovation that gives your skin an extra boost. It helps prevent against premature aging and free-radical damage caused by environmental pollution and sun. It can also help with hyperpigmentation (dark spots), scar formation, dry skin, and collagen formation. Dermatologists recognize the importance of Vitamin C to skin health because patients who are Vitamin C deficient often suffer from poor wound healing, skin bleeding, and thickening of the top-most layer of dead skin. Overall, using Vitamin C topicals will keep your skin looking younger and brighter.

When shopping for your Vitamin C cream, you should know that not all of them are created equal. There are many types of synthetic Vitamin C found in popular skincare products. The most common formulations are ascorbic acid, THD ascorbate, and ascorbyl palmitate. Vitamin C is an unstable molecule that is naturally repelled by the skin. So, the best formulations are those that have optimal pH to enhance skin penetration and strong stability to prevent premature breakdown of the molecule. The addition of Vitamin E will enhance the ability of Vitamin C to fight oxidative damage.

Which Vitamin C Topical Products Do We Recommend?

At Siperstein Dermatology Group, we recommend using topical Vitamin C during the daytime because it will help prevent damage from UV rays and environmental pollution during the day. Apply the Vitamin C product first and layer your sunscreen and makeup on top.

There are many great Vitamin C creams on the market and some of our favorites include:


Retinoid products are some of dermatologists’ favorite anti-aging weapons. The retinoid family comprises of retinol and many of its natural derivatives, the most famous of which is tretinoin (often known by its brand name Retin-A).

Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient for the body, best found in foods like fish, cheese, carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale. Retinoids are required for many important biological processes such as reproduction, vision, and growth.

Topical retinoids were discovered in the 1980’s and are now widely used in dermatology for both cosmetic and medical purposes. When used on the skin, retinoids will improve fine wrinkling, decrease hyperpigmentation, and increase collagen synthesis. Its benefits for anti-aging are well-proven by hundreds of published medical studies. Overall, using topical retinoid products will keep your skin even-toned, smoother, and glowing.

When shopping for your retinoid product, you should know that there are two large categories of retinoids—retinols (which are non-prescription) and tretinoin (which is prescription only).

Retinol products are a great introduction to retinoid skincare. They are well-tolerated by people with sensitive skin and are widely available. Tretinoin products are prescribed by dermatologists. They are more effective than retinols (about 20x more), but also can have more side effects like dryness and irritation depending on your skin type and the strength of tretinoin product. There are many concentrations and formulations of tretinoin, so consult your dermatologist at your next visit to understand which retinoid product is best suited for your skin.

Siperstein Dermatology recommends using retinoid products at night for the best results. For those with sensitive skin, start applying every other day before increasing the frequency to nightly. Apply a pea-sized amount of the retinoid product on your whole face first, then apply any moisturizer on top.

Which Retinoid Products Do We Recommend?

There are a ton of great retinol products on the market and some of our favorites include:

For tretinoin products, come visit Siperstein Dermatology Group. We offer consults in person or virtually for skincare recommendations and prescriptions. To make an appointment, call us today at 561-364-7774.