models with skincare products on face inside rectangles with skincare textures

The Shape 2022 Skin Awards Winners Will Help You Achieve Your Healthiest Complexion Yet

From breakout-busting masks to inclusive sunscreens, these are the skin-care products the pros want you to add to your routine this year.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

For months, Shape editors interviewed 15 of the country's leading skin experts to ask 'What are the most impressive innovations right now? What are you turning to more than ever before? What actually works?'

The pros were generous with their knowledge and candid with their reviews. The result? This trustworthy resource of the best products and treatments of the year. Dive into the insights and this year's Skin Awards winners, ahead. (BTW, you can find three of these expert-approved products — plus more than a dozen other must-haves — in this year's SHAPE Beauty Lab Box, which has a $518 value but costs you just $46.)

The Best Acne Treatments

model with cream on face inside rectangle with cream texture
Credit: CLAIRE BENOIST

If you feel like you're breaking out more than usual, you're not wrong. "Acne is worse than ever," says Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. The reasons are vast — elevated stress levels, eating habits, face masks, hormonal shifts, and routine changes — which is why getting a customized regimen from a dermatologist is key.

Related Items

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Winlevi

Get the Details

"If you have hormonal acne, then Winlevi [by prescription] has become one of my go-to solutions," says Karan Lal, D.O., a board-certified cosmetic and pediatric dermatologist. "It's a prescription cream that blocks androgen receptors on oil glands to reduce the sebum production that plays a role in forming acne."

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

JORI Acne & Oil Control Primer

Buy It, $70

JORI Acne & Oil Control Primer (Buy It, $70, joriskincare.com) is a new salicylic acid formula for acne-prone skin. "The mattifying gel treats acne while absorbing shine and minimizing the appearance of pores," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, and the medical adviser for the brand.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Odele Clarifying Body Wash

Buy It, $11

For body acne — which, per Howard Sobel, M.D., a dermatological surgeon and the founder of Sobel Skin, is popping up more as people work out without showering soon afterward — the consensus among dermatologists is to reach for a body wash that contains skin-clearing benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids, which are in Odele Clarifying Body Wash (Buy It, $11, target.com).

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

ZO Skin Health Complexion Clearing Masque

Buy It, $47

To help minimize inflammatory acne (red, painful pimples), Sabrina Fabi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in San Diego, suggests sulfur-based masks. "My patients love the ZO Skin Health Complexion Clearing Masque [Buy It, $47, zoskinhealth.com]," she says.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Sobel Skin Rx 9% Lipo-Peptide Soothing Mask

Buy It, $47

"I'm a big fan of using natural ingredients to address the redness and irritation," says Dr. Sobel, who suggests his Sobel Skin Rx 9% Lipo-Peptide Soothing Mask (Buy It, $47, drsobelskinrx.com).

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Trophy Skin RejuvaliteMD Anti-Aging Light Therapy System

Buy It, $200

To reduce inflammation while also killing C. acnes bacteria, derms turn to red and blue LED light therapy. "It's a phenomenal and underutilized treatment," says Dr. Lal. You can do it at home for five minutes a day. Dr. Gohara likes Trophy Skin RejuvaliteMD (Buy It, $200, amazon.com) with the Blue LED light panel (Buy It, $119, amazon.com): "I think of it as the at-home exercise your trainer at the gym gives you."

The Best Sun Protection Products

model with various creams on face inside rectangle with cream texture
Credit: CLAIRE BENOIST

The sunscreen rules haven't changed for decades — wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours. But the latest and greatest sunscreen formulas have undergone a dramatic transformation, offering options that blend into a wider range of skin tones, feel invisible, or smell fantastic.

Besides those attributes, "a lot of my patients are looking for mineral sunscreens from companies they can trust," says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a renowned New York-based dermatologist. She and other top dermatologists back that inclination up: "When it comes to sunscreen, there is nothing better than mineral-based formulas composed of physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They offer protection against both UVA and UVB light," says Dr. Fabi.

Related Items

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Kinship Self Reflect Sport SPF 60

Buy It, $28

Answering the call, Kinship, a brand known for its inclusive, cruelty-free, and sustainable ethos, has recently launched Self Reflect Sport SPF 60 (Buy It, $28, credobeauty.com). It's a unique waterless formula with micronized non–nano zinc oxide, ceramides to replace the moisture you lose as you sweat, and cherry acerola, a prebiotic that helps balance your skin.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight Emulsion SPF 50

Buy It, $70

Another derm fave is ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless (Buy It, $70, amazon.com), which contains zinc oxide, iron oxide to protect from the blue light our devices emit, and — what really sets it apart — DNA repair enzymes, which help fix sun-damaged cells, says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Entière Dermatology. It's a lightweight fluid that blends easily, and "because it's tinted, it serves as my foundation, too," says Dr. Fabi.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

CAY Skin Isle Glow Face Moisturizer with SPF 45 and Niacinamide

Buy It, $32

Historically, "folks who have more pigment in their skin can have a hard time finding sunscreen that either blends in completely or matches their skin color," says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin. But a few newcomers' novel tints are adjusting for that. Supermodel Winnie Harlow's CAY Skin Isle Glow Face Moisturizer with SPF 45 and Niacinamide (Buy It, $32, sephora.com) has a neutral pearl hue that works with all skin tones and doesn't leave a white or silver cast. 

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30

Buy It, $20

For acne-prone skin, there's Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30 (Buy It, $20, amazon.com), a mint-colored lotion that sinks into skin and balances redness. (To score this product and other editor-approved goodies, grab this year's SHAPE Beauty Lab Box.)

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Glytone Age-Defying C+ Advanced Antioxidant Serum

Buy It, $63

As stellar as these sunscreens are, they're only one line of defense against UV rays. "Be sure to layer a vitamin C serum underneath your sunscreen to neutralize the oxidative stress from UV radiation and inhibit melanin production," says Dr. Bowe. "Glytone Age-Defying Vitamin C [Buy It, $63, amazon.com] is great. It has a stable form of vitamin C that won't break you out and is fragrance-free."

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Heliocare Daily Use Antioxidant Formula

Buy It, $28

Taking Heliocare (Buy It, $28, amazon.com), a daily supplement, is another smart move. "It contains an antioxidant that's been proven to help protect your skin from free radicals," says Dr. Gohara. When you're gearing up for an active day outdoors, your sun-care regimen needs to include sunglasses, a wide-brim hat, UPF clothing, and SPF spread head to toe.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Vacation Chardonnay Oil SPF 30

Buy It, $22

Vacation Chardonnay Oil SPF 30 (Buy It, $22, vacation.inc) is especially easy to glide on. "I think of this as a safe, modern version of the tanning oils we loved in our youth. It gives all skin tones a transparent, subtle sheen," says Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and the co-founder of CompleteSkinMD.

The Best Body Products

The top-shelf ingredients and high-intensity treatments once reserved for your face are now aimed at exfoliating, hydrating, and brightening the rest of your body.

Related Items

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Cyspera Intensive System

Buy It, $265

To Dr. Lal, the biggest game-changer is the Cyspera Intensive System (Buy It, $265, us.cyspera.com). It's aimed to reduce hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone, and it's safe for all skin tones and less irritating than hydroquinone, he says. The hero ingredient in the three-step system is an amino acid derivative called cysteamine, which helps to block multiple steps that cause hyperpigmentation. It's safe to use anywhere on the body, including the neck, chest, abdomen, armpits, and knees (and face). "A lot of my postpartum and perimenopausal patients get melasma, and this can be a very effective treatment for them. Keep in mind that it's not safe for nursing mothers," says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Soft Services Carea Cream

Buy It, $40

The year's most chic way to tackle rough or dull skin is with a few pumps of Soft Services Carea Cream (Buy It, $40, softservices.co). "This pairs 10 percent urea — a proven exfoliant — with hydrating squalane and soothing colloidal oatmeal," says Dr. Bowe. "It's ideal for sensitive skin."

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Resurfacing Body Scrub

Buy It, $56

For those with normal skin and the desire to buff their way to radiance, there's Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Resurfacing Body Scrub (Buy It, $56, sephora.com), which employs a slew of sloughers: pumice, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and fruit enzymes, as well as nourishing honey, aloe vera, and soybean oil. "Just remember that over-scrubbing can weaken your skin barrier. Limiting your use to once a week is a smart place to start," says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin. (Yes, you can get this scrub in the 2022 SHAPE Beauty Lab Box, too.)

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Emsculpt Neo

Get the Details

At the dermatologist's office, the latest noninvasive way to impact the body's shape is with four sessions of the Emsculpt Neo (price varies by provider), a stronger second generation of the technology that strengthens muscles with electromagnetic pulses and slightly reduces fat and tightens skin with radio frequency. "The new paddles allow it to target the arms, thighs, and calves. The results have been impressive," says Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., a celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and the founder of PFRANKMD.

The Best Professional-Grade Treatments

model applying eye skincare inside rectangle smeared with gel
Credit: CLAIRE BENOIST

The angle at which you look at yourself on your phone and computer screen draws attention to your neck, chin, jawline, and eye area. "It has made my patients hyperaware of the natural aging that occurs in these places," says Dr. Hale. "The neck tends to age faster than the face because it has fewer hair follicles and sebaceous glands, is exposed to UV rays and other environmental insults and is often neglected."

Related Items

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

SkinBetter Science Techno Neck Perfecting Cream

Buy It, $140

To give it the daily attention it needs, she likes SkinBetter Science Techno Neck Perfecting Cream (Buy It, $140, store.skinbetter.com). Besides excellent hydrators, it has a unique peptide complex that supports the skin's nitric oxide availability (a key element of healthy skin) and has been shown to help soften horizontal lines.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Radiesse(+)

Get the Details

To mold and sharpen the chin and jawline, there's Radiesse(+) (price varies by provider), an injectable recently FDA-approved for this area. "Previously, during my training, my professors would tell me that filler on the jawline would require so much product that it was financially difficult for patients. Radiesse(+) is different; I can use much less because it stimulates the skin's own production of collagen for up to 18 months," says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin. 

RHA redensity product image
Credit: Courtesy of Merchant

RHA Redensity

Get the Details

Other parts of the face call for a hyaluronic acid filler. For example, RHA Redensity is ideally suited for areas of high movement, like the barcode wrinkles around the mouth, says Ava Shamban, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and the founder of Ava MD, SkinFive, and The Box by Dr. Ava.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Juvéderm Volbella XC

Get the Details

For hollow under-eyes, Juvéderm Volbella XC (price varies by provider) is the first FDA-approved filler for this area. "Its molecular structure allows it to stay smooth under the thin undereye skin, and because it attracts very little water, it doesn't cause swelling," says Allison Lester, PA-C, a board-certified physician assistant at Park Avenue Skincare. "This is considered a high-risk area for treatment, though, so seek care from a very experienced provider."

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Revision Skincare Revox Line Relaxer

Buy It, $145

There are also at-home treatments. "In my practice, the best results I've seen are with patients who balance in-office procedures with a proper skin-care regimen," says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon in Manhattan at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. Made especially for fine lines is Revision Revox Line Relaxer (Buy It, $145, amazon.com). "I'm not a doctor who swears by a lot of products, but I am amazed at how well this works," says Dr. Lal. Glide the metal tip along fine lines to infuse them with hyaluronic acid and peptides.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Epionce Luminous Eye Serum

Buy It, $64

To brighten skin and reduce puffiness and crepiness, botanically based Epionce Luminous Eye Serum (Buy It, $64, dermstore.com) offers visible results. (P.S. you can nab the product in this year's SHAPE Beauty Lab Box.)

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

ISDIN Vital Eyes

Buy It, $102

Then, before bed, consider applying ISDIN Vital Eyes (Buy It, $102, amazon.com), which contains melatonin. "Studies have shown that this hormone works while you sleep to repair skin and prepare it for the coming day," says Caroline Robinson, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Tone Dermatology in Chicago. "The formula targets fine lines, discolored skin, puffiness, and dehydration."

Upneeq-Product
Credit: Courtesy of Merchant

Upneeq

Get the Details

The toughest feat for an at-home product is lifting the skin. But a new prescription eye drop called Upneeq (by prescription) can raise the upper eyelid to improve droopiness for about six hours. The active ingredient "triggers the contraction of an involuntary muscle called the levator palpebrae, or Mueller's muscle," says Dr. Hale. "I've used it myself and experienced about a 1-mm lift in my upper eyelid — a subtle but noticeable difference."

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Sofwave

Get the Details

For more dramatic and long-term lifting results, there's Sofwave (price varies by provider), a new in-office treatment that uses high-frequency high-intensity ultrasound to heat the collagen in the skin. Blair Murphy-Rose, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, deems it the best on the market, saying the treatment is safer and faster and hurts less than other options. She notes that her patients see full results — tighter, more lifted brows, necks, and submental tissue (the skin below the chin) — at six months.

The Best Moisturizers

model covered in glitter inside rectangle with gel skincare texture
Credit: CLAIRE BENOIST

It's time for moisturizers to have their moment. "We don't think of them as active, but they can do a lot," says Dr. Bowe. "They can rebalance the microbiome. They also support the lipids in our skin to prevent trans-epidermal water loss and keep our skin barrier healthy and protected from irritants and infections."

Related Items

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

InnBeauty Project 10+10 More-sturizer

Buy It, $34

Your new options do all that and more: It's a joy to apply InnBeauty Project 10+10 More-sturizer gel-cream (Buy It, $34, sephora.com), which has barrier-bolstering lipids, vitamin C, and peptides.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Farmacy Beauty 10% Niacinamide Night Mask

Buy It, $42

The silky Farmacy Beauty 10% Niacinamide Night Mask (Buy It, $42, sephora.com) employs panthenol and blueberry-seed oil to moisturize and niacinamide to even skin tone and balance oil.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

No7 Pure Retinol Night Repair Cream

Buy It, $35

The No7 Pure Retinol Night Repair Cream (Buy It, $35, ulta.com) marries a deeply moisturizing rich cream with retinol, the gold standard anti-ager that reduces wrinkles and dark spots and helps firm skin.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Mary Kay Clinical Solutions HA + Ceramide Hydrator

Buy It, $38

For a moisturizer that feels as refreshing and plumping as a serum, there's Mary Kay Clinical Solutions HA + Ceramide Hydrator (Buy It, $38, marykay.com); a dropperful has both a ceramide to protect the skin's barrier and hyaluronic acid, a humectant that draws water to the skin.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum

Buy It, $59

In Dermalogica's new Circular Hydration Serum (Buy It, $59, sephora.com), hyaluronic acid attracts water to the top layers of the skin while amino acids act as a film to prevent it from evaporating.

The Best Immunity Balancers

Right now, your immune system may be in overdrive. "When they're in this reactive state, skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and perioral dermatitis flare," says Dr. Bowe. "If your skin is irritated, you want to dial down your immune response, but of course, not so much that you get an infection. It's about balance."

The good news: "This isn't a monumental task," adds Dr. Gohara. Mostly, you just need to get out of your own way. Your body comes equipped with a sophisticated skin barrier. Stacks of interlocking skin cells held together with a layer of lipids (aka fats, like ceramides and cholesterol) block all sorts of microbes from penetrating it. On top of that is a microbiome full of good bacteria that fights off germs. "But the advent of TikTok product reviews has turned some people into skin-care philanderers. And a constantly changing regimen, especially with formulas that are too harsh, can break through the wall," says Dr. Gohara.

Related Items

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Tata Harper Superkind Softening Cleanser

Buy It, $86

When the skin's barrier leaks (known as transepidermal water loss, or TEWL), it causes inflammation, which triggers your immune system. "Truly, the best thing you can do is stick to a simple routine," says Dr. Gohara. Start with a gentle cleanser. Dr. Bowe likes fragrance-free Tata Harper Superkind Softening Cleanser (Buy It, $86, sephora.com).

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask with 10.5% Squalane

Buy It, $40

Then reach for a moisturizer that's formulated to bolster the skin's barrier. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask (Buy It, $40, sephora.com) is an extra-thick balm that transforms into an oil as you apply; in testing, the brand found that leaving the highly concentrated squalane treatment on all night will help prevent dryness for up to three days. "I love it. Squalane is great for fortifying the skin barrier and boosting hydration," says Michelle Henry, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid Peptide Cream

Buy It, $52

Another derm-loved formula is Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid Peptide Cream (Buy It, $52, sephora.com). "Its ratio of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids mimics our barrier's," says Dr. Kanchanapoomi Levin.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+M Triple Repair Cream

Buy It, $20

A few next-gen formulas contain not only a thoughtful mix of barrier-sealing lipids but also prebiotics, "which act as fertilizer for the microbiome, encouraging its good bacteria to flourish," says Dr. Bowe. Many of the pros interviewed gave an enthusiastic shout-out to La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+M Triple Repair Cream (Buy It, $20, amazon.com), which contains prebiotics, shea butter (a lipid), niacinamide, and microresyl, a new ingredient that weakens the bacteria associated with eczema.

product image against white background
Credit: Courtesy of Merchants

Avène Tolérance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream

Buy It, $35

Also consider Avène Tolérance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream (Buy It, $35, amazon.com). "I love that it's made with very few ingredients, no preservatives, and postbiotics; it really targets the needs of those with reactive skin," says Dr. Gohara.