21 Surprising Skin Care Products That Dermatologists Swear By

Some doctors or specialists are pretty by-the-book with their recommendations. Then there's the strange and surprising skin care products that dermatologists swear by. See, these are my kinds of suggestions, because if it's bizarre or borderline gross? Odds are I've used it as a moisturizer or cleanser at one point or another— think things like raw eggs, charcoal toothpaste, and apple cider vinegar. I absolutely love unlikely solutions (especially when it comes to my skin), and I was thrilled to find out that some dermatologists do, too.

This week, I got in touch with 13 dermatologists and skin care experts from all over the country to find out the weird details: the eyebrow-raising ingredients, the bizarre products, and the solutions that you wouldn't exactly expect a dermatologist to recommend. On the list this time, we've got things like placenta, bee venom, petroleum, milk, hemorrhoid medication, and human fibroblast conditioned media (What?). The good news: I was especially surprised to see that most of these products and ingredients were affordable, low maintenance, and super popular amongst reviewers.

So what does that mean for you? It means you've got professional and accessible recommendations from the people who know the most about skin, and these weird products can be on the way to your house with the click of a button.

1. Bee Venom And Honey To Heal The Skin

Wild Ferns New Zealand Bee Venom Night Cream, $20, Amazon

"Bee Venom," says Dr. Cheryl Karcher, a board certified dermatologist. "It tightens the skin...the honey bee venom products are usually the best in that honey definitely has healing properties for the skin." This Wild Ferns New Zealand night cream has bee venom as well as genuine Manuka honey to moisturize, repair, and tighten overnight. Reviewers also say it smells incredible, feels luxurious, and makes their skin look rested and plump in the morning.


2. Muslin Cloths For Skin That's Too Sensitive For Washcloths

Green Sprouts Muslin Burp Cloths, $15, Amazon

Dr. Jessica Wu, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and exclusive chief medical advisor of Robin McGraw Revelation, says "Muslin cloths have long been used for burp cloths and bibs because these soft cotton cloths are gentle on delicate skin and easy to clean." Wu recommends burp clothes from Green Sprouts, which are made from organic cotton and have four soft absorbent layers. "To use the cloth, moisten with lukewarm water, add your favorite cleanser, and massage in a circular motion to exfoliate while cleansing. Splash with water or wipe clean with a damp cloth. I recommend these to my patients with rosacea and eczema, whose skin is too sensitive for scrubs and washcloths."


3. Rosewater As A Mythical Ingredient That Balances, Hydrates, And Tones

Poppy Austin Pure Rosewater Facial Toner, $19, Amazon

According to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss of Idriss Dermatology, "Rosewater is one of those mythical ingredients that often require a day trip to a specialty store to find," or you could purchase this Poppy Austin pure rosewater facial toner straight from Amazon. It's got nothing but 100 percent pure, distilled, organic, and unrefined Moroccan Rose Water. "In its purest form, it helps re-balance your skin’s pH, while restoring intense hydration and moisture," says Dr. Idriss. "It's also great when used daily as a toner, as its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help regulate acne-prone skin."


4. Apple Cider Vinegar For "Everything Under The Sun"

Restoar 100% Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Face Toner, $28, Amazon

Dr. Jennifer Gordon, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, TX, is totally on board with apple cider vinegar for all your skincare needs. "This has been reported to help with everything under the sun, but actually using it for athlete’s foot and other skin remedies can help! We will sometimes recommend dilute vinegar soaks for feet but I have a lot of patients who swear their entire skin health improved taking a few tablespoons of 'the Mother' every day." This facial toner cleanses the face, can help with acne, and balances the pH in your skin.


5. This Diaper Rash Cream To Lock In Moisture

Desitin Rapid Relief Diaper Rash Cream, $12, Amazon

Odd as it sounds, Dr. Howard Sobel, a cosmetic dermatologist, recommends Desitin Rapid Relief diaper rash cream. Sobel says, "[It] can be used after laser treatments to lock in moisture," and that's because it uses calming and creamy ingredients to form a protective layer over the skin. Mothers say that it's gentle enough for babies with eczema and sensitivities, so it's gentle enough for your face.


6. Proteins In Milk Help Balance Your Skin's pH

Nature By Canus Fresh Goat's Milk Moisturizing Lotion, $13, Amazon

Dr. Neal Schultz (board certified MD, NYC dermatologist, founder of, and creator of BeautyRx ) says that milk is an awesome way "to soothe inflamed or irritated skin, whether poison ivy, sunburn (any burn), inflamed eczema, dermatitis - really any rash that burns or feels sore." This goat milk lotion contains real goat milk (which is so close to the pH of your own skin), as well as moisturizing shea butters. "The milk has a lot of protein that acts as a great chemical buffer to restore the normal pH of the inflamed skin which is why it is so soothing." You can also make your own water and milk compress at home, which Dr. Schultz says, "Use skim or one percent milk because the fat just gets in the way and doesn't help the matter."


7. This Coconut Oil Is Loaded With Antioxidants And Nutrients

Molivera Organics Fractionated Coconut Oil, $13, Amazon

It seems the oil-free skin care craze is finally over. Dr. Matthew J. Elias, Fort Lauderdale's top dermatologist, recommends coconut oil. "Coconut oil is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients and thus has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties making it awesome for the skin." Molivera Organics fractionated coconut oil is made from 100 percent pure coconut oil, so it's got all the healing benefits. However, because it's fractionated, it's non-greasy, won't stain, absorbs easily, and always stays in liquid form. It also comes with a convenient pump for easy full-body application.


8. This Unlikely Mask From A Likely Brand

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser, $8, Amazon

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, board certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, likes a lesser-known product from a very well-known brand: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser. "Most people spot treat a pimple when it pops up. However, the best way to treat acne is to prevent it from developing to begin with. Think of your face as having 1000s of tiny pipes connecting your oil glands to your skin's surface. In patients with acne, all the pipes are slightly clogged, but you don't know which one will become clogged enough to form a pimple. So the best way to prevent acne is to treat the entire face." It's got ingredients like benzoyl peroxide to even skin tone, reduce redness, and shrink pimples with continued use.


9. Emu Oil Is Loaded With Essential Fatty Acids

Longview Farms Pure Refined Emu Oil, $15, Amazon

Dr. Debra Jaliman is a board-certified NYC dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist." Dr. Jaliman says, "Emu oil is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is also extremely moisturizing. It comes from the fat of the flightless bird found in Australia." This one has loads of essential fatty acids, helps with swelling and scars, and even works as an awesome hair moisturizer.


10. This Surprising Pick That's Made For Sensitive Skin

Burt's Bees Daily Face Moisturizer, $10, Amazon

RealSelf contributor and NYC dermatologist Dr. Michele Green says, "Burt’s Bees is a drugstore makeup brand that is wonderful for sensitive skin because it is formulated without parabens, sulfates, etc." It's made with 99 percent natural ingredients like rice extract and aloe, and because it's made without fragrances, even reviewers with ultra sensitive skin are loving this surprising pick.


11. A Prescription Strength Gel Available Over The Counter

Differin Adapalene Gel, $21, Amazon

"Recently a prescription strength topical retinoid became available over-the-counter without a prescription," says Dr. Zeichner. "Differin 0.1 percent gel is used to treat acne, but can also be used to help stimulate collagen." It targets clogged pores and inflammation, and some people with adult acne say that this is the only solution they've been able to find so far.


12. Use Sunscreen Lotion As An Aftershave

Coola Suncare Mineral Sunscreen, $30, Amazon

Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg says, "Everyone knows they should be using sunscreen daily, but some patients (men especially) are harder to convince. My solution is to recommend a lotion with SPF 30 or more as an aftershave. I tell my patients to apply it not only to their beard area, but also to the rest of their face, their neck and backs of their hands." Coola Suncare mineral sunscreen has an SPF of 30, is rich in antioxidants and minerals, and uses ingredients like organic rose hip oil, cucumber, and shea to moisturize and protect the skin. It's also got a matte finish, so you don't look like you're wearing anything at all.


13. This Hydrating Night Cream With Squalane From Olive Oil

Robin McGraw Revelation Hydra Qwench Night Cream, $42, Amazon

"I’m a big fan of squalane, one of the best ingredients for dry skin," says Dr. Wu. "Some companies use squalane that comes from shark liver oil, which is derived from the livers of certain species of large sharks. I recommend squalane that comes from olive oil, which is the type of squalane found in our Robin McGraw Revelation Hydra Qwench Moisturizing Night Cream... It's a lightweight formula that keeps skin hydrated all night long." It also skips the parabens, dyes, and mineral oils, and absorbs quickly to create a protective barrier of moisture.


14. Use Growth Factors In Placenta To Rejuvenate Skin

Beauteous Placenta Cream, $22, Amazon

Another recommendation from Dr. Karcher is actually placenta. "There are facial creams that claim to have sheep placenta," Karcher says, like Beauteous Placenta Cream, which is all natural without parabens, synthetic fragrances, or dyes. 'The thought is that the growth factors in the placenta will rejuvenate the skin," and the lanolin and aloe vera work to lock in moisture and protect your skin's natural barriers.


15. An Antioxidant Serum Is A Must Have

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, $156, Dermstore

According to Dr. Zeichner, "Antioxidant serum every morning is an absolute must. They help prevent free radical damage that can be generated from UV light exposure. They also can help even out skin tone and texture." Dr. Zeichner recommends Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, which replenishes the lipids in your skin to increase firmness and tone, and it remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours after each application.


16. Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media Is A "Vitamin Shake For Your Skin"

TNS Essential Serum, $145, Amazon

Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Tracy Evans says, "For anyone with mature or aging skin, we love to recommend TNS Essential Serum, which contains Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media." In other words, stem cells taken from newborn baby foreskins. "People tend to think that sounds weird, but we like to think of it as a vitamin shake for your skin. TNS is the ultimate all in one treatment." It works with peptides to rebuild cells, antioxidants to fight free radical damage, and alpha arbutin to brighten skin tone. Apparently it's Oprah's favorite, too.


17. Petroleum Is One Of The Best Skin Protectants According To This Dermatologist

Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair (5 Pack), $34, Amazon

"Dry, itchy skin can occur all year, not just during the winter time," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, who says that this Intensive Care hand and body lotion from Vaseline is all you need. "It is a myth that you need heavy, greasy ointments to effectively protect and hydrate the skin. In fact, the newest generation of moisturizers are easy-to-spread lotions that contain the same ingredients and effectiveness of heavy ointments and creams. Petrolatum is perhaps one of the best skin protectants we have available, as it coats the skin providing a protective barrier that prevents water loss." It's got micro-droplets of Vaseline along with other quick-absorbing ingredients for healthy, smooth, and non-greasy skin.


18. White Vinegar Can Help Reduce Inflammation And Overcome Body Odor

Bamboo Vinegar Face Cleansing Soap (3 Pack), $10, Amazon

Dr. Elias also says, "Distilled white vinegar can be applied as a soak to swollen legs and will reduce swelling. It can also be used in combination with water to cure foul smelling feet or body odor, by creating a 50:50 mixture and soaking your feet or bathing with the white vinegar:water combo it deodorizes as well as smooths the skin." This Bamboo Vinegar Face Cleansing Soap contains real vinegar as well as bamboo charcoal and water to cleanse oily skin, reduce inflammation, and lessen breakouts. Best of all, it does so without any toxic chemicals.


19. Use A Cream For Your Eyes With The Benefits Of Glycolic

BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz Gentle Exfoliating Eye Cream, $60, Amazon

Another recommendation from Dr. Schultz is his gentle exfoliating eye cream. According to Dr. Schultz, a gentle but effective chemical exfoliant is the most important treatment for glowing radiant, even-toned skin. He goes on to say, "Those in the know are using glycolic on their face every day, but likely their products say 'keep away from eye area' ... Cue Gentle Exfoliating Eye Cream — to finally give the eye area the same benefits from glycolic that you can achieve on the rest of your face."


20. Use Preparation H To Shrink Pimples In A Pinch

Preparation H Medicated Wipes, $9, Amazon

"An oldie but goodie that I find myself recommending is good old Preparation H, but only when applied in moderation and for quick fixes!" says Dr. Idriss. These Preparation H medicated wipes come with all the benefits of the tube, but are gentle, travel-friendly, and easier to apply without a mess. "If it's the day before a big event, and a blemish or full blown pimple decide to make an unfriendly appearance, then Preparation H can help. When applied to the spot, it contains a potent ingredient called phenylephrine that shrinks blood vessels, thereby reducing inflammation and redness. Be careful though to wipe it off after several minutes, and to never use this all over your face, as it can lead to serious side effects such as blistering."


21. This Gentle Scrub With Lemon Essential Oils

Darphin Mild Aroma Peeling, $41, Amazon

Many dermatologists recommend exfoliating, and this peeling scrub is a very gentle — it's made with lemon essential oil to dissolve dead skin cells, and it only needs to be used once every ten days for dry skin to see results.

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