Here’s what 5 top dermatologists & skin doctors have in their kit

Nothing brings joy quite like hydrated, healthy skin. A common misconception? Achieving that elusive lit-from-within luminosity means you need to break the bank. Here to prove that complexion perfection needn’t cost the earth are a set of industry experts who know more than just a thing or two about the skincare products to save and splurge on – music to our ears when the cost of living is on the up.

These pros are spilling their secrets on the budget-friendly hero products you’ll want to buy time and time again. We’re talking about the best results-driven skincare products to invest in, without blowing your budget.

Which under-£20 products do they swear by? Read on for their top picks.

Dr Justine Kluk, consultant dermatologist

If dark spots and pigmentation are issues for you, then Dr Kluk’s top pick could be just the thing.

"Two issues I see every day in my dermatology clinic are hormonal pigmentation of the face, known as melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which describes dark marks left behind after breakouts (as an example)," says Dr Kluk. "Giving our skin the best possible protection from the sun all year round is key in managing both of these issues. A product I use myself, and recommend to many of my patients, is Eucerin Pigment Control SPF50 Sun Fluid. This is a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen that contains skin-brightening ingredients. It doesn’t block pores, isn’t greasy and comes in tinted and non-tinted versions. I prefer the non-tinted one, due to its invisible finish."

Dr Justine Kluk’s hero skincare product for under £20

 Eucerin Pigment Control Anti Dark Spot Sun Fluid for Face SPF 50+, £16.99

• Size: 50ml

• Non-comedogenic

If you’re after a high-factor SPF that sits flawlessly under make-up, then look no further. This sun cream absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave behind a greasy or sticky layer. Use a generous amount for the best protection.

Dr Cherry Armstrong, specialist dermatology doctor and co-founder of No. 23 Skin

If fine lines or dull skin are a concern, then Dr Armstrong’s advice could do the trick.

"In clinic, I like to recommend vitamin A in the form of retinol," says Dr Armstrong. "Retinol products help increase cell turnover, and it’s a popular active for revitalising skin when fine lines appear. It’s also effective at helping even out skin tone. CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is a favourite of mine because it also contains niacinamide, making it good for calming and soothing the skin."

Dr Armstrong’s hero skincare product for under £20

 CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, £19

• Size: 30ml

As well as retinol, this hard-working serum contains three essential ceramides to exfoliate and help brighten while protecting the skin’s natural barrier. No wonder it’s been met with rave reviews. 

Dr Surbhi Virmani, founder of Cosderm

Vitamin B5 is a trending ingredient in the beauty industry right now, but what’s the buzz behind it? Dr Virmani has the inside info on why so many of us could benefit from incorporating it into our routine. 

"Vitamin B5 (also called pantothenic acid) is a super hydrator when applied onto the skin," says Dr Virmani. "This is why I swear by The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. B5 attracts and retains water on the skin and also supports the skin barrier. Better yet, it’s non-irritating. All this makes it ideal for helping keep skin soft, supple and looking beautiful."

Dr Virmani’s hero product for under £20

 The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, £6.40

• Size: 30ml

• Oil-free

• Alcohol-free

• Vegan

• Cruelty-free

• Patch testing advised

Just a few drops of this affordable serum helps provide long-lasting hydration, thanks to the wonder combo of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. Plump, bright and dewy-looking skin, bottled.

Dr Alexis Granite, consultant dermatologist and expert in medical and aesthetic dermatology

When a top dermatologist recommends a product that may help soothe congestion and that comes in at under £20, we’re going to sit up and take notice. 

"Try a soothing treatment, like CeraVe Blemish Control Gel," says Dr Granite. "I really like the combination of effective ingredients, such as 2% salicylic acid with skin soothers and emollients, including niacinamide and ceramides, that work to help moisturise and protect the skin. This combination helps prevent potential irritation that may occur when using ingredients, such as salicylic acid."

Dr Granite’s hero product for under £20

 CeraVe Blemish Control Gel, £12.50

• Size: 40ml

Brimming with active ingredients, this gel can be used on selected areas of skin or as an all-over moisturiser – what a winner! Follow with an SPF50 in the morning for protected skin.

Dr Sharon Belmo, consultant dermatologist

What’s the one brand mentioned a whopping three times by top derms? Okay CeraVe, you’ve got our attention.

"I love CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser," says Dr Belmo. "This is just an all-round great gentle cleanser that can be used twice a day without stripping the skin. I love that it has ceramides and hyaluronic acid as these ingredients really help draw moisture into the skin, leaving it feeling nourished after washing. I use it myself and also recommend it to patients, particularly those with dry, sensitive skin. It has a lovely texture, is fragrance-free and is budget friendly. A staple for me!"

Dr Belmo’s hero skincare product for under £20

 CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin, £10

• Size: 236ml

• Fragrance-free

• Non-comedogenic

Hate the feeling of tight skin after cleansing? This gentle cleanser promises to leave skin feeling soft, supple and comfortable thanks to the infusion of hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Say goodbye to dirt and make-up and hello to clean, glowing skin.

All prices correct on date of publication