Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned beauty lover or a total skin-care newbie, we’ve got you covered this Christmas. The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year — but the flurry of festivities may also have you feeling less than merry. Braving the cold weather, spending late nights at holiday parties, and indulging in rich meals with friends and family all have the potential to wreak havoc on your skin and leave you feeling more no-no-no than ho-ho-ho. That’s the beauty of giving (and receiving!) skin-care products, tools, and gadgets when Christmas and Hanukkah roll around. According to a report published in October 2022 (PDF) by marketing research company the NPD Group, 28 percent of U.S. consumers plan on buying a beauty product as a gift during the 2022 holiday season, with an average of $161 spent on beauty gifts per giver. Whether you’re seeking a budget-friendly option or looking to splurge, we’ve rounded up some great gifts and stocking stuffers that will continue spreading cheer long past the holidays. From TikTok’s cult favorites, like Foreo’s Luna 4 Cleansing Massager, to results-driven products powered by buzzworthy ingredients like bakuchiol and ceramides, here are 11 gifts that dermatologists recommend adding to your holiday shopping list.
- A Set of Skin-Soothing Sheet Masks
With its focus on clean, clear, well-hydrated skin and natural-looking makeup, Korean beauty (or K-beauty) is one trend in the United States that’s here to stay — and sheet masks are a fun and inexpensive way to try it out. The Cleveland Clinic notes that sheet masks can help soothe sensitive or inflamed skin and distribute moisturizer more evenly across the face. Popular K-beauty brand TonyMoly (TonyMoly.com) offers more than a dozen different ingredient options. Can’t decide which sheet mask to stuff in your Christmas stocking? Opt for vitamin C-infused I’m Lemon or vitamin E-infused I’m Tomato, as both ingredients are antioxidants and may help reduce the appearance of fine lines, per the Cleveland Clinic. Looking to splurge on the K-beauty enthusiast in your life? Gift them a multipack from Facetory (Facetory.com), so they can try out a bunch.
- A Depuffing Gemstone Roller
Looking for a beauty tool that’ll fit perfectly in a stocking? Opt for a rose quartz face roller, says Kathleen Cook Suozzi, MD, the director of the aesthetic dermatology program at Yale Medicine and an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. While there’s a lack of scientific research behind these tools, anecdotal experience indicates that they may make your skin less puffy, she says: “If you wake up a little tired or bloated after your holiday party, or you drank too much champagne, you can chill your face roller in the fridge, and then you can roll the puffiness out, helping the lymphatic system remove excess fluids and toxins that collect under the skin.”
Those looking for a budget-friendly gift can check out the EcoTools Mini Rose Quartz Roller (Ulta.com), while the Vasanti Rose Quartz Roller and Gua Sha Tool (VasantiCosmetics.com) is a great luxe option that offers two tools in one.
- A Hydrating Eye Cream
Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Pittsburgh, suggests gifting eye cream. “Eye cream is such a great gift idea because it’s not something we all think to include in our skin-care routine,” she says. “Also, the holiday season can be full of stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights, which can show up around our eyes, so adding an eye cream around this time is a great idea.” When choosing an eye cream, she suggests looking for brightening and hydrating ingredients, like vitamin C, caffeine, or niacinamide.
Ceramides and peptides are also beneficial in an eye cream, says Boise, Idaho–based board-certified dermatologist Dustin Portela, DO, as are hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, and glycerin. On a budget? Dr. Zubritsky recommends Sun Bum Hydrating Eye Cream (SunBum.com): “I love this product because it’s effective but affordable, and it contains brightening and soothing ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide,” she says. Plus, she adds, vitamin C helps to protect skin from damaging free radicals (unstable atoms that are associated with oxidative stress and visible skin aging, per past research). For a luxury gifting option, Zubritsky loves Neocutis Lumiere Illuminating Eye Cream (NeoCutis.com), which contains growth factors, caffeine, and vitamin C. “This cream is so soothing and effective for the delicate under-eye area. It contains several ingredients to address most under-eye concerns like dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles,” she says.
- An AHA/BHA Exfoliating Treatment
Cult beauty brand Drunk Elephant formulates skin-care products without using potential irritants such as essential oils, alcohols, silicones, fragrances, dyes, sodium lauryl sulfate, and chemical sunscreens. One of their most popular skin-care products, T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (Sephora.com), is a chemical exfoliator that’s formulated with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA). These gentle acids help exfoliate dead skin cells and promote skin cell renewal, causing the skin to appear smoother and clearer, according to a past research paper. And for a budget-friendly 10-minute exfoliating treatment, the Ordinary’s AHA 30 percent + BHA 2 percent Peeling Solution (TheOrdinary.com) is an option for under $10.
- A Face Cream With Protective Ceramides
Want to give a gift that plumps and protects the skin? Look for a cream with ceramides (a type of fatty acid), advises Dendy Engelman, MD, a New York City–based board-certified dermatologist. “Ceramides help to create a barrier that protects the skin from irritants, bacteria, and other environmental toxins that could harm the skin,” she explains. She also points to a study published in 2018 in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology that notes that these fatty acids can also help lock moisture into the skin, increasing hydration and smoothness. “This is especially great to use in the colder months when the air is drier, so a ceramide face cream would be a perfect holiday gift.”
She suggests splurging on the luxe and deeply hydrating Advanced Ceramide Lift and Firm Day Cream from Elizabeth Arden (ElizabethArden.com), “which has the bonus benefit of providing light protection against UV rays.” (At SPF 15, it falls slightly under the American Academy of Dermatology Association’s recommendation of SPF 30, but it’s a great base for your favorite sunscreen.) For a more affordable option, consider the Mario Badescu A.H.A. and Ceramide Moisturizer (Ulta.com).
- A High-Tech Facial Cleansing Tool
Facial cleansing tools are fun to use but not absolutely necessary, which makes them a great gift, says Zubritsky. “Using facial cleansing tools can be very relaxing and part of a nighttime skin-care ritual,” she says.
For a high-tech skin-care gift that’s getting a lot of social media buzz, look no further than TikTok-favorite skin-care company Foreo’s recently unveiled Luna 4 (Foreo.com), the fourth generation of their popular Luna cleansing massager. Beloved by dermatologists and beauty editors alike, the palm-sized device purifies skin by removing dirt, oil, and makeup residue and is reportedly up to 35 times more hygienic than brushes with nylon bristles, based on clinical trials conducted by the brand. “This cleansing tool is effective and antimicrobial with silicone bristles, while still being gentle on the skin,” says Zubritsky. Bonus: It’s two sided! “One side deeply and effectively cleanses your skin, while the other side is a firming massage device that helps to deliver your skin care deeper into your skin where it needs to be,” she says. If the Luna’s price tag is out of your budget, Zubritsky recommends the Olay Regenerist Face Cleansing Device (Olay.com): “It’s affordable, effective, gentle on the skin, and easy to use.”
- A Hydrating Lip Treatment
Cold weather brings dry, cracked lips, so lip treatments are always a welcome holiday gift. “When choosing a lip treatment, look for the most hydrating but least irritating ingredients,” says Zubritsky. She prefers using lip treatments with petrolatum, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, or dimethicone, and avoiding heavily fragranced products, which can irritate or further dry out the lips. Her favorite stocking-sized product to hydrate and protect lips is a drugstore classic: Aquaphor Lip Repair (Ulta.com). “It contains ingredients like shea butter and vitamins C and E, and it can heal and soothe even the driest of lips,” she says.
If you’re looking to splurge on a lip-plumping treatment, she suggests SkinMedica’s HA5 Smooth and Plump Lip System (SkinMedica.com). “This lip treatment is incredible because not only is it hydrating, but it reduces fine lines around the lips, plumps the lips, and even enhances rosiness,” she says about the two-step treatment.
- A Skin-Brightening Vitamin C Serum
No matter the season, a gift infused with vitamin C is guaranteed to brighten your day (and your skin). Zubritsky calls it a “must-use” for every skin-care regimen because it can help treat discoloration and fine lines while also protecting against free radical damage. “It should be used every day and is a skin-care regimen staple, so it makes a great gift for the skin-care junkie in your life,” she says.
For a budget pick, she suggests L’Oreal Revitalift 12 percent Pure Vitamin C + E + Salicylic Acid Serum (LorealParisUSA.com), touting its combination of ingredients “that work synergistically to reveal younger-looking skin,” she says. But if you’re willing to go luxe, check out dermatologist favorite SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic (SkinCeuticals.com). “It protects and treats while lightening dark spots, evening out tone and texture, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles,” Zubritsky says. “This formulation is highly stable and effective — and worth the price tag.” Looking for a price point in between? Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum (Sephora.com) is another antioxidant-rich option, which also contains ferulic acid — an ingredient that can help protect against oxidative stress in skin when combined with vitamin C, per past research.
- A Wrinkle-Reducing Bakuchiol Serum
Indulge your giftee with a serum featuring this plant-based superstar skin-care ingredient. “Bakuchiol has gained popularity over the past few years because it is a plant-based alternative to retinol that may help stimulate collagen,” explains Gary Goldfaden, MD, a Hollywood, Florida–based dermatologist and founder of Goldfaden MD.
This ingredient has become an industry favorite alternative to retinol, as it’s suitable for all skin types and carries similar benefits to retinol — like reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation — with a lower risk of side effects, according to a small study published in 2019 in the British Journal of Dermatology. It’s a key ingredient in Dr. Goldfaden’s own splurge-worthy Goldfaden MD Radiance Repair Daily Renewal Serum (Goldfaden.com). For those on a budget, he suggests checking out BYBI Beauty’s Bakuchiol Skin Restore Night Cream (Bybi.com), a lightweight nighttime treatment for under $20.
- A Skin Moisture-Boosting Humidifier
Humidifiers work to supplement dry environments with moisture, helping to keep the air at an optimal humidity level, which in turn has great benefits for the skin, says Dr. Engelman. “If the air doesn’t have enough moisture — for example, in cold, dry winter months, or in the summer when air-conditioning is on full blast — the environment actually pulls moisture from the skin in a process called transepidermal water loss, which can leave the skin dry, cracked, and irritated,” she explains. Running a humidifier helps prevent transepidermal water loss by putting more moisture into the air, which leaves your skin, scalp, and hair healthier.
“I highly recommend the Canopy Humidifier (Canopy.com) because it uses clever technology that keeps the air at an optimal humidity level (40 to 60 percent) so your skin and hair can stay dewy,” she notes. Two bonus features: The humidifier runs until all the water in the tank is gone, which inhibits mold and bacteria growth, and it includes an aroma-diffusion option, according to the brand. PureEnrichment MistAire (PureEnrichment.com) is a less expensive option and a favorite with online reviewers.
- A Fuss-Free Beauty Gift Card or Subscription Box
Are you unsure of your giftee’s skin type or needs? Overwhelmed by options? Or just in need of a foolproof last-minute gift? Think outside the box with a gift card or subscription service. BeautyFIX (Dermstore.com) is a monthly subscription box of the latest and greatest skin-care products from brands including Arcona, Boscia, La-Roche Posay, and Grown Alchemist, with 1-, 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscriptions available. Or, if you know your giftee is a regular at the dermatologist’s office, get them an Alle gift card (Alle.com), which they can put toward treatments like Botox and Juvederm injections or Skinmedica products.