Skin Care

Budget-friendly Indian Pharmacy Skincare Products That Will Blow Your Mind!

Pharmacy skincare is the best skincare on a budget, but you need to know a few things before going pharmacy skincare shopping.

Written by Aashika Rajendran

Medically Reviewed by Shikha Sanghvi

On Dec 11, 2023 – 8 minutes read

As tempting and exciting as a new skincare launch can look, our skin needs care and nourishment. The overwhelming number of skincare brands are being launched every few months for us to buy and try, do they work? We are instantly attracted to a product by its packaging and fancy claims. But do you know that your skin needs simple and effective ingredients, that is what is going to work to resolve your skin concerns. Pharmacy skincare has been gaining incredible popularity lately.

Not just because they are affordable but also because they work well and have an essential ingredient list. With pharmacy skincare products you are going to know what exactly you are putting on your skin. But the hiccup with pharmacy skincare is that you need to know more about the science of skincare and what ingredients will work for you.

Since they are extremely potent it’s also essential that one picks products with caution. You can’t just like these skin care products especially active ingredients based on just some influencer recommendation. Let us take you through some of the best pharmacy skin care products that you can incorporate into your skincare routine for flawless results. 

What Is Pharmacy Skincare?

Pharmaceutical skincare is categorized as a drug, and these skin care products need to pass certain testing stages. The ingredients must be clean and pure without any unwanted additives. Unlike over-the-counter skincare or cosmetical skincare, Pharmaceutical skincare has more active ingredients in their purest form (1). The products can be highly potent which is why most of the products need medical supervision to be used.

Pharmaceutical skincare

What Is The Difference Between Cosmetic And Pharmaceutical Skincare?

Cosmetic and pharmaceutical skincare are two different categories of skincare that come under different standards. It has high levels of regularity norms that need to be matched to be approved for production. Cosmetics on the other hand have more liberal production norms, they are more forgiving and less potent which is why they can be easily bought over the counter.

Cosmetic skincare comes in both high-quality and low-quality with a drastic difference in the pricing points which in reality does not mean much as both variants don’t meet the standards of pharmaceutical skincare. Unlike pharmacy skincare, liberal ideals could make way for filler ingredients, impure ingredients, and a lot of fragrances and addictives. All of these can bring down the effectiveness of the product.

What Is Cosmeceutical Skincare?

Cosmeceutical is a hybrid between cosmetic skincare and pharmacy skincare. It is claimed to have better efficiency than regular cosmetic skincare as it meets the standards of pharmaceutical skin care. These skin care products are not recognized or approved by the FDA and are categorized under normal cosmetic skincare. Though they are believed to perform better than usual cosmetic skincare, there is no proof to support the same.

List Of Best Budget-friendly Indian Pharmacy Skincare Products

Face washes: 

Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash

If you are someone with stubborn acne then you need to try out the Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash. It is formulated with 10% benzoyl peroxide which is very effective in taking care of acne, zits, clogged pores, etc. However, if you have sensitive acne-prone skin we wouldn’t recommend using this face wash every day as it can be too much for your sensitive and smooth skin. You can alternate this face wash with a gentle non-drying cleanser, using a salicylic acid face wash, or use this a few times a week like a mask. Let the foam sit on your face for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing it off and follow it up with a good thick moisturizer.

Pharmacy Skincare Face Wash

Cipla Saslic Foaming Face Wash

The Cipla Saslic Foaming Face Wash is one of my favorite face washes, it comes in two varieties, both of which I love. This face wash’s formulation is perfect, making it even more sensitive and skin-friendly. If you have clogged pores, stubborn zits, and mild acne this face wash will work wonders for you. The best part of this face wash is that it’s very hydrating and the skin feels plump and fresh after the wash. 

AHA Glow Face Wash

If you are looking for an instant brightening effect, the AHA Glow Face Wash will leave you in awe. Right from the very first wash, this face with glycolic acid formulation will begin to gently exfoliate the skin, getting rid of dead skin cells and leaving you with a brighter and glowy look. This face wash works well for almost all types of skin.  

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or Cleanse Me Cleanser

Not much needs to be said about the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, ever since Alia Bhatt used the same in her skincare routine video everyone has been raving about the cleanser. If you love the Cetaphil Gentle skin cleanser then you will also love the Cleanse Me Cleanser, both work the same but Cleanse Me Cleanser is more affordable. Both are gentle and don’t foam but effectively cleanse the skin without drying it. It is specially formulated for dry skin beauty.

Moisturizers In Pharmacy Skincare:

There are a ton of moisturizers in your nearby pharmacy that can make any high-end cream run for its money. Here are some of our top picks:

Pharmacy Skincare Moisturizers

Cipla Excela Moisturizer

One of the best budget-friendly moisturizers for sensitive acne-prone skin. This moisturizer is so lightweight that you won’t know anything is sitting on your face. One of the most common issues most people complain about lightweight moisturizers is that they don’t hydrate enough. But with Cipla Excela Moisturizer your skin is going stay hydrated all day and you will experience fewer breakouts. This moisturizer also works as a great skin prep option before makeup.

Aquasoft FC Advanced Facial Moisturizer

The Aquasoft FC Advanced Facial Moisturizer is a great moisturizer for all types of skin, especially for those with dull skin. It has great sunscreen filters that work in reducing dark spots and other mild-pimple marks over time. We love this moisturizer because apart from UV filters it is also made with just the right amount of all the good stuff like emollients and vitamin E. 

Physiogel AI Calming Relief Lotion & Cream

Boon for extremely sensitive skin, Physiogel AI Calming Relief Lotion & Cream is truly calming for irritated skin. If you have issues like a compromised skin barrier then this moisturizer can help you in restoring your smooth skin in no time. Also a little goes a long way, a single tube of this moisturizer could easily last you for over two to three months.

Emolene Cream

A very lightweight, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer that is also extremely hydrating. Though the packaging says Emolene is for dry skin, I feel the moisturizer works great for all skin types, especially combination skins. It’s tough to find a moisturizer for combination skin as the cream could either be too light or too thick, Emolene is just perfect.

Cetaphil DAM Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion

If you want a basic no-nonsense moisturizer that is light and thick at the same time with zero fragrance then the Cetaphil DAM Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion will help you get the job done. It’s a simple moisturizer that does what it claims, moisturize, period! You can also try Bioderma Atoderm Ultra Nourishing Cream, which is similar to the Cetaphil one but slightly more moisturizing.

Sunscreens In Pharmacy Skincare:

The pharmacy sells some of the best sunscreens out there here are some of our top picks.

Pharmacy Skincare Sunscreens

Tvaksh Face Guard 

Formulated with SPF 30+ PA+++, the Tvaksh Face Guard is one of the most widely recommended sunscreens by dermatologists. The sunscreen is non-comedogenic, leaves no white cast, and is lightweight leaving behind a matt finish post-application.

Bello Photostable Sunscreen Gel

This sunscreen not only gives you the best sun protection but also gives you a perfect Dewey makeup base. This sunscreen comes with an SPF of 40+ and PA+++. the sunscreen is also fragrance-free, water and sweat-resistant, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic.

Solasafe SPF 50+ Sunscreen Gel

A silicone-based sunscreen that also works as a great skin care primer. It evenly fills out pores and fine lines. It provides great protection with an SPF of 50 PA+++, is non-comedogenic, and has a critical wavelength of 374nm. Also, it is a pregnancy-safe sunscreen.

La Shield 

Is one of the most renewed sunscreen brands in India. They have a wide range of sunscreens both chemical as well as physical. All the sunscreen variants from this brand are excellent. You can pick any based on your requirements and budget.

Some other notable sunscreen mentions are:

  • IPCA Acne-UV Gel SPF 30
  • ISDIN Fotoprotector Fusion Water Sunscreen
  • Z Block 25% Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Gel

Apart from basic skincare like facewash, moisturizer, and sunscreen, you can also find great alternatives for overpriced skincare actives that will work more effectively for almost half the price.

List Of Best Skincare Activities Found In Pharmacy Skincare:

  • Hyalugel – An affordable hyaluronic acid gel that works like magic
  • Glyco 6 Cream and Glyco 12 Cream – An affordable alternative to the famous Ordinary glycolic acid toner.
  • NIAMAX D Gel– Budget-friendly Niacinamide serum alternative that works twice as powerfully.
  • Moisturex Cream- Lactic acid gently exfoliating cream
  • Aziderm 10% Cream– Great alternative to Azelaic acid serums
  • Envita C Gel– Vitamin C gel
  • Tretin 0.025% Cream– Best Retinol for half the price

The best of pharmacy skincare doesn’t end here. Without gender confines, it is a gem with its efficiency and affordability. Switch your luxury serums with a simple no-drama serum from the pharmacy and see the results for yourself. But… there is a catch when it comes to this, it’s not as easy as walking into a random store and basketing products you like. With these products, one needs deep knowledge and understanding of the ingredients. Understanding the strength of the product you pick is also very crucial in protecting your skin barrier from damage. If you have no clue about your skin, do not risk using products from a pharmacy consult with a dermatologist and get recommendations.

So as a beginner, before you venture into your nearest pharmacy, do your research. Once you understand the basics of skin science, trust me, pharmacy will have everything you need for clear, smooth, and radiant skin.

  1. Rod Tucker , Derek Stewart, Why people seek advice from community pharmacies about skin problems, International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, Volume 23, Issue 2, April 2015, Pages 150–153

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Aashika is a makeup and beauty expert known for creating stunning looks that not only accentuate facial features but also empower women to feel confident in their skin.

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