6 Super Effective Sunday Riley Products That Dermatologists Swear By

From spot treatments to exfoliators.

Dermatologists share their picks of the best Sunday Riley products.
Getty Images/ Aliaksandra Ivanova / EyeEm

There’s a high probability you’ve heard of Good Genes, Sunday Riley’s longtime cult-favorite lactic acid serum. But that’s not all the skin care brand has to offer: If you’re not familiar, the consumer-beloved line offers a wide variety of complexion-boosting formulas packed with active ingredients meant to target all different skin concerns, from acne to fine lines. For those looking to upgrade their beauty regimens, Bustle polled dermatologists for their picks of the best Sunday Riley products you can buy.

Experts shared a slew of transformative items within Sunday Riley’s line, including a spot treatment mask perfect for fighting blemishes, collagen-boosting serums, and brightening exfoliators. And, as is the case with all products by the brand, they’re all packed with active ingredients — think alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), vitamin C, retinoids, niacinamide, sulfur, ceramides, and more.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a multitasking serum or a deep exfoliant, keep scrolling for a handful of derm-approved Sunday Riley products that you’ll definitely want to incorporate into your skin care routine.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

The Blemish Treatment

This spot treatment comes highly recommended by Dr. Jenny Liu, M.D., a Minneapolis-based dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. It contains the skin-clearing trifecta of sulfur, which treats and prevents blemishes; bentonite, a clay meant to absorb excess oil and remove impurities; and niacinamide, a vitamin that works to reduce the appearance of breakouts and redness while decongesting the skin. As an added bonus? “Sulfur has great anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions, [and is] often used clinically for the treatment of rosacea,” Liu explains. Apply to affected areas on clean skin as needed, and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes.

The Brightener

Liu also likes this serum as it contains THD ascorbate, a more stable form of vitamin C (compared to others, such as L-ascorbic acid). The antioxidant helps quash dullness, improve loss of firmness, fine lines, and wrinkles, and diminishes the appearance of dark spots and redness — meaning it does a lot at once. It also works to reduce the appearance of pores without wrecking the skin’s protective barrier. According to Liu, this serum may be more suitable for dry and sensitive skin types.

The Gentle Exfoliant

New York City-based dermatologist Elyse Love, M.D. is a fan of this treatment — aka Sunday Riley’s wildly popular serum — that relies on lactic acid, an AHA that targets hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and the appearance of pores, all without drying out your skin. “Lactic acid gently exfoliates and aids in moisture retention,” she tells Bustle. “It’s a great ingredient for obtaining glowing skin, especially in dry winter months.” (Need.) And it also happens to be pregnancy-safe.

The Eye Serum

If you’re on the market for an eye-smoothing treatment, Dr. Morgan Rabach, M.D., a dermatologist based in New York City, is a fan of this serum. It uses an encapsulated retinol instead of a standard retinol, so it’s less likely to irritate your skin as it strengthens and supports your natural collagen production. The niacinamide in the formula helps tackle discoloration and fine lines, while a blend of ceramides and olive oil works to keep your skin moisturized. Rabach explains that because the skin around the eyes is so thin and delicate, a special formulation like this one is a good choice.

The Retinoid Complex

Liu recommends Sunday Riley’s retinol serum, as it uses a retinoid complex to address dark spots and fine lines. “This has a blend of retinoid derivatives that's usually less irritating in an encapsulated formulation, which helps with a more sustained release,” she explains. Besides that, antioxidant CoQ10 diminishes redness, and Hawaiian white honey hydrates, calms, and soothes your skin, making it a potent yet gentle option for those looking to add a retinol to their routine.

The Deep Exfoliator

New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, M.D., names this exfoliator as a consistent favorite among her patients. Because glycolic acid is the smallest AHA, it can dive deeper into the skin to repair the look of dullness, congestion, and sun damage for a more radiant, healthy complexion, she explains. And she recommends using a chemical exfoliant such as this in lieu of a physical exfoliant. “Exfoliating the right way, with a chemical exfoliant rather than a manual scrub, can brighten skin tone, bring radiance to the skin, and even boost collagen production,” says Bowe. “Anything gritty on your skin can actually cause inflammation and do more harm than good.”

Studies referenced:

Blom, I. (1984). Topical treatment with sulfur 10 percent for rosacea. Acta Derm Venereol.

Smith, W.P. (1996). Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid. J Am Acad Dermatol.


Dr. Jenny Liu, M.D., Minneapolis-based dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota

Elyse Love, M.D., NYC-based board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Morgan Rabach, M.D., NYC-based board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Whitney Bowe, M.D., NYC-based board-certified dermatologist