8 OTC skincare products experts truly swear by

With pharma products, it’s truly what’s on the inside that counts.

Harper's Bazaar India

Shopping for skincare entails hitting up e-commerce platforms or heading to the nearest mall. One gem, however, often tends to go unnoticed—the local pharmacy. Playing host to a treasure chest of reliable, pocket-friendly, and efficient skincare products, it’s no surprise that pharmacies actually house solutions to your skincare woes. Why pharma products you ask? Think effective ingredients sans the fanciness. These products are plain-Jane—there’s no snazzy branding, gimmicky packaging, and over-hyped marketing—but, they definitely mean business. 

We spoke to some of the country’s most-renowned dermatologists to give us the OTC skincare picks they absolutely swear by.

Dr Madhuri Agarwal, MD & Founder, Yavana Aesthetics Clinic

OTT Skyncare Turn-It-Up Vit C Serum

“It is based on floral alchemy and beautifully blends natural ingredients with active molecules. It has vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps improve collagen and elastin, while reducing sun damage. It also has other actives like alpha arbutin and brighlette, a potent brightening agent that works on the enzymes responsible for increased pigmentation, and witch hazel extract, an anti-inflammatory that reduces skin irritation. It is good for all skin types, especially for added protection to sun exposure. I often recommend it for people with dry and sensitive skin who cannot tolerate the regular formulations of vitamin C.”

Bioderma Atoderm Crème


“It has a patented skin protect complex including Vitamin PP, which helps to restore the skin barrier function by replenishing lipids. It has a DAF complex that strengthens the skin’s threshold to the external environment. The glycerine and mineral fatty ingredients in the formulation improve skin hydration. It is ideal for normal to dry skin, especially in winters or dry weather as the effect lasts for longer periods.”

Dr Abhijeet Desai, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Laser Specialist, SkinSense Skin & Laser Clinic

Truderma Face Wash

“It contains salicylic acid, which most face washes for acne-prone skin do. But, what I like about this face wash is that along with salicylic acid it also contains moisturising factors. So, while it reduces oiliness, it doesn’t completely rip your skin of moisture. In a hot and humid country like India, it’s a great face wash to carry with you, even if you have only oily skin and not particularly acne-prone skin.”

La Pristine Litmocee 20 Serum

“This particular serum has a combination of hyaluronic acid and ferulic acid, which helps balance the moisturising elements at night and nourishes the skin. The vitamin C helps regularise your skin, provides good sun protection, and fades away uneven spots or pigmentation. It is a great night serum.”

Dr Manasi Shirolikar, Board Certified Dermatologist

Triclenz Hair Cleanser

“I have been using this shampoo for over five years now. It clarifies without stripping. It doesn’t leave the scalp or hair feeling dry or flaky. I use this once a week to take care of product buildup on the scalp. Plus, it also has gentle surfactants and is sulphate-free. Oh, and it smells really pleasant too.”

Venusia Max Body Lotion

“This is such a gem and gives good value for money. It contains shea, mango, and cocoa butters, all of which hydrate your skin. It also has aloe vera, which helps soothe any irritation caused by dry air or clothes like knitwear. And finally, it has glycerin. This underrated ingredient functions like hyaluronic acid, which means it’s a humectant—a substance that locks moisture into the skin and reduces transepidermal water loss It minimises dehydration. This body lotion is an absolute no-brainer for the upcoming winters.”

Dr Geetika Mittal-Gupta, Aesthetic Physician & Founder, ISAAC

Dermaceutic Triveta Vitamin C Serum

“This serum is an innovative combination of three different forms of Vitamin C. It provides antioxidant benefits of vitamin C and works to stimulate collagen production in your skin, prevents signs of ageing, revitalises skin, brightens your complexion and protects skin from free radical damage. It contains ferulic acid ester, a well known antioxidant that amplifies the photoprotection action of the vitamins C and E.”

Bioderma Sebum Face Wash

“It has a unique soap-free, non-comedogenic and non-drying formula, without any irritants. It gently cleanses and purifies the skin without making it dry. It preserves your skin’s moisture while maintaining the physiological pH of your skin.”