The most important thing to remember when researching over-the-counter skin care products is to trust yourself. No one knows your skin better than you. There are a lot of skin care products on the market and it is easy to waste time and money trying to find the best products. So take a minute to educate yourself before purchasing skin care products; Remember, this information serves as a guide only. Be sure to check with your dermatologist or physician if you have specific problems with your skin.

Assess your skin before you buy

Before you consider buying any over-the-counter skin care products, there are a few basic facts about your skin you must know. These include:

  • Your skin type: It is oily, dry, normal, sensitive, or a combination?
  • Your skin complexion: Do you have fair skin that burns easily or light to medium that may burn? Or do you have a medium tone that usually tans or a darker complexion that only rarely burns? Or is your complexion so dark that you never burn?
  • Your skin concerns: Do you want preventive maintenance to avoid premature aging? Do you have a skin problem, such as persistent acne, age spots, or rosacea? You may also have large pores, sun damage, facial wrinkles or fine lines that require special attention. Do you have eye puffiness or under-eye bags that will require special care?
  • Your personal habits: Are you a smoker? Do you spend a lot of time in the sun? Do you take a daily vitamin? Do you consume a well-balanced diet? All these factors will affect how you should care for your skin.

With this information, you can wisely sort through skin care products to find the ones suited for your specific skin type. If you need help, ask a skin esthetician at your local hair salon or skin care counter for his or her recommendations.


  • Baumann L. Cosmetics and skin care in dermatology. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Gilchrest B, Paller AS, Leffell DJ, editors. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2008: ch 251.
  • American Academy of Dermatology. Skin health tips Accessed 3/10/2015.
  • National Institutes of Health. Healthy Skin Matters Accessed 3/10/2015.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/3/2015...#10981