There is an overwhelming amount of skin care products on the market, and it can get kind of confusing to patients and doctors about sorting out hype from substance. At the end of the day I think you've got to keep it simple and try to minimize the number of steps and products that people use.
At a basic level you need to consider 3 things to be essential
- a gentle daily cleanser (which can be something cheap)
- a restorative agent(s) to improve or maintain your skin
- protection from the sun
There's a whole bunch of peripheral products addressing pigmentation (toners, hydroquinone products, etc...) that serve niche roles as well.
I've become a fan of the Neo Cutis line of products for two reasons
1. it's reasonably priced for medical grade skin products
2. you can do a lot with a very simplified regimen
The gimmick with NeoCutis is a substance called "PSP" which is a proprietary protein derivative of sorts derived from fetal skin cells. This PSP ingredient is common to their different product lines in different concentrations and with some other additives. For men, their gel-based, "Biogel"
is a very easy single product that men can use without overwhelming our simple brain or making us feel overly metrosexual. Highly recommended and one tube will last 3 months or so, pretty reasonable for $120-150 dollars. Neocutis makes a more concentrated PSP product eye cream which is also great. As I understand it, a lot of people just use it for their whole face. It seems to work well and be very tolerant to people even with sensitive skin.
I'm not here to pimp for that particular company, but I think they make a value-based product line that is very simple. If you combine one of their PSP products with an OTC gentle cleanser, Retin A (or another retinoid-like product), and some sunscreen you suddenly have a fairly formidable combination for less then $200-250.