Psst. Good health doesn’t require hefty price tags. Memorial Hermann dietitian Chelsea Johnson, pediatrician Mary Schlichtemeier and dermatologists Vicki Carr and Sharon Kim share their beloved essentials under $20.
1. Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Foam Wash
WHY: This cleanser is soothing for oily or sensitive skin and acne, says Dr. Vicki Carr, dermatologist at Spring Dermatology. Dr. Sharon Kim, dermatologist at Memorial Dermatology, also is a fan of the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for normal, sensitive and dry skin.
2. Simple Cleansing Micellar Water
WHY: This favorite of makeup artists lifts makeup without harsh chemicals or artificial perfumes and dyes, says Dr. Kim. Micelles are micro molecules that attract makeup. Purified water enriched with vitamin B3 and C hydrate but leave no sticky film.
3. Differin Gel 1.0
WHY: Formerly prescription only, this retinoid acne-fighter unclogs pores and calms inflammation. Adapalene, a manmade retinoid, also reduces the appearance of wrinkles, making it a must-buy for Dr. Carr and Dr. Kim.
4. Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF30 and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen
WHY: Both are broad spectrum, protecting against aging UV-A and burning UV-B rays, which can cause skin cancer. They’re water-resistant and won’t clog pores, Dr. Carr says.
5. CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50
WHY: This sunscreen contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide but leaves no tell-tale white streaks. Lightweight and oil-free, the sunscreen moisturizes without aggravating acne.
6. Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Soothing Body Wash, Oil of Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash and Aveeno Body Wash
WHY: “These work double duty for normal and dry skin, cleaning gently without stripping moisture,” Dr. Carr says. Look for fragrance-free versions, less irritating to skin. Dr. Kim adds Aveeno Body Wash to the list. It soothes with colloidal oatmeal and is soap- and dye-free.
7. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Treatment
WHY: This lip balm contains hylauronic acid, which Dr. Carr says is capable of absorbing 1,000 times its weight in water. “It’s great for dry lips. It sucks up water like a sponge to keep skin hydrated.”
8. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Cream
WHY: Retinol SA and Glucose Complex accelerate sloughing of the skin surface, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, Dr. Carr says. Hyaluronic acid moisturizes, further plumping skin while minimizing lines.
9. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum
WHY: Dr. Carr forgives this product its misspelled name since it boosts the skin’s collagen development, thus firming skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines thanks to Retinol.
10. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-On Mask
WHY: This mask contains a 2.5 percent concentration of Benzyl Peroxide to cut acne size and redness within hours and without parching skin. It even can be worn under makeup, Dr. Kim says.
11. Vaseline 100 Percent Pure Petroleum Jelly
WHY: Free of dyes and fragrance, this helps heal cuts and chapped lips, Dr. Kim says.
12. Neutrogena Baby Face Sunscreen
WHY: This sunscreen won’t burn eyes if you sweat – no matter what your age, Dr. Kim says.
13. Mealthy 5-Blade Spiralizer
WHY: “When you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight, the goal is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables,” says Chelsea Johnson, outpatient bariatric dietitian in nutrition services at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center. This device has blades that convert zucchini into spaghetti or fun shapes. “I use mine 3 to 4 times a week.” She plucks recipes from Inspiralized.com.
14. Pyrex Essentials 1123266 Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of Four
WHY: They’re clear so you can store – and be tempted by -- cut-up fruit and veggies in your fridge, Johnson says. “If I see healthy foods available, I’m more likely to choose them.”
15. Digital Food Thermometers
WHY: They’re easier to read and help you make sure chicken, turkey and other meats are fully cooked. U.S. Department of Agriculture lists safe food temperatures and Eatright.org cooking temperatures.
16. Imperial Kitchen Collection Non-Stick Flexible Cutting Mat Set
WHY: Raw meats should be kept separate from produce. These mats provide a visual reminder.
17. Crate and Barrel’s Salad Plates
WHY: These durable porcelain coupe-shaped plates are 9-10 inches in diameter, providing proper portion control and serving as a mental trick. You feel fuller than if you ate the same food on a larger plate, Johnson says.
18. Black + Decker 1.5-Cup Electric Food Chopper, Improved Assembly, Black, HC150B
WHY: The price is right and so is the time. The chopper speeds up food prep of leafy greens and onions. You also can make cauliflower “rice,” which sneaks veggies into your diet.
19. Vremi 5-Quart Collapsible Colander
WHY: Not only is it cute, this collapsible colander is free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxin believed to be linked to infertility and faster physical development in girls. The strainer is foldable, has heat-resistant handles and is dishwasher safe. “I use it not only to strain steamed vegetables, but also to rinse canned beans, which reduces sodium content in half,” Johnson says.
20. Gerber Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops and Culturelle Kids Probiotic Daily Packets
WHY: If fussy babies have colic, this product might help. The Culturelle probiotic, for toddlers and up, promotes gut health by promoting good bacteria, says Dr. Mary Schlichtemeier, pediatrician at Blue Fish Pediatrics Greater Heights. Even better, the supplement is free of gluten, dairy, soy and preservatives.