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Navigating the Shelves

A Dermatologist’s Guide to Choosing the Best Skin Care Products

By Anne Neeley, MD

Navigating the ShelvesA trip to the skin care aisle can be a daunting task to even the savviest consumer. The array of choices can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. Fear no more—here are some quick and easy guidelines to help whittle down your shopping list.

1.    Forego Fragrance
Fragrances are added to many products to make them more appealing to consumers. But are they really necessary? No! And more important, they are not good for your skin. Fragrance is a common cause of contact dermatitis – a rash caused by either irritation or an allergic reaction. Beware of products that claim to be “unscented” as they may contain masking fragrance. Instead, look for ones labeled “fragrance free.”

2.    Smart Sunscreens
Reading the ingredient list on a bottle of sunscreen may remind you of your high school chemistry class. A simple rule to help you choose the best one is to keep it simple. The active ingredients that block both UVB and UVA are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These microscopic minerals reflect sun from the skin for the best “broad spectrum” protection, and also are the least likely to cause a rash. Look for an SPF 30 or higher. I say, the higher the better. I like Neutrogena, CeraVe and Elta MD.

3.    Axe Acne
There are two common over-the-counter acne medications: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. For clogged pores (whiteheads and blackheads), choose a product with salicylic acid. For tender red bumps and pimples, you’re better off with one containing benzoyl peroxide. Be sure to use a moisturizer afterward, as both of these ingredients can dry out the skin. Make sure the one you choose is labeled as “non-comedogenic,” meaning it won’t clog your pores. I recommend Neutrogena Clear Pore cleanser, PanOxyl Creamy Wash and Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion.

4.    Reverse Wrinkles
Companies spend millions trying to sell their anti-aging products to you. Which ones really deserve your cash? For maximum benefit, look for one that contains the active ingredient “retinol.” Retinol is a form of vitamin A that has been shown to boost collagen production and smooth fine lines. Retinol can irritate the skin, so make sure to use sparingly and have a good moisturizer on hand. Try RoC Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.

5.    Erase Eczema
For sensitive or eczema-prone skin, simple is best. Look for products with the fewest ingredients to minimize irritation and allergies. Bar soaps are gentler than their liquid counterparts. Apply soap sparingly and avoid anything labeled “anti-bacterial” as these can be too harsh. I recommend Vanicream bar or Dove for Sensitive Skin. Immediately after bathing, apply a cream (not lotion) to better seal in moisture. I like Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream.

6.    Finally, Choose Cheap
Don’t be fooled by department store and boutique brands. By following the guidelines noted, you can get high quality items for a fraction of the cost. In fact, the product I recommend more than any other is 100 percent pure petroleum jelly. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that. Happy shopping!

Not ready to take the plunge for a full-sized product? Stop by KMC Dermatology at 11301 Nall Avenue, second floor of the BMO Harris Bank Building where we have samples of many of the products mentioned.

Dr. Neeley is certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She practices at KMC Dermatology in Leawood and is currently accepting new patients.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Neeley, please contact KMC Dermatology at 913-451-5934.

Anne Neeley, MD received her medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and completed her residency in dermatology at St. Louis University. She joins the KMC Dermatology staff in Leawood after practicing in Washington, MO. She is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dr. Neeley diagnoses and treats all ages for all dermatological concerns, including: Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Surgery, Psoriasis, Acne and Rosacea, Eczema and Contact Dermatitis, Warts and Skin Infections, Facial Rejuvenation and more.

Dr. Neeley’s education and training include: Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, Resident in Dermatology; University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, SD, Transitional Year Resident; Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE, Medical Doctor, Cum Laude; Georgetown University, Washington, DC, Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service; and Summer Research Fellowship, Department of Orthopedics, Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School, 8 week program.

KMC Dermatology
11301 Nall Avenue, Suite 205
Leawood, KS

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