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Drug Store Vs. Dermatologist: When Over-The-Counter Is The Answer

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STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Is a minor skin issue worth a trip to the dermatologist?

Dermatology expert Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald says sometimes its not! She stopped by KCAL9 Thursday to explain which skincare concerns are “dermatologist-visit-worthy” and what can be purchased at the drugstore!

Dry Skin
• Drug store
o Any lotion with “ceramides” such as Cerave
• Dermatologist
o If you think it might be eczema (which many people can confuse with dry skin) you can add a prescription strength topical steroid plus antihistamines such as Claritin or Zyrtec.

Acne
• Drug Store
o All acne starts with clogged up pores. Drug store products like salycylic acid, glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide will unclog them. These are found in a number of products-I like the Vichy Normaderm Triple Action 3 in 1 cleanser as well as the Neutrogena line, especially their grapefruit acne wash.
• Dermatologist
o Clogged pores tend to get very inflamed and make acne more severe. This is where a prescription is crucial.
o The Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. Systems is a great three-step prescription-strength acne treatment that contains a patented form of benzoyl peroxide to penetrate deep into the skin and treats acne where it starts.
o There are also topical and oral antibiotics as well as anti-inflammatory agents such as Acanya. If there are tons and tons of comedones (small, flesh-colored, white, or dark bumps caused by acne that gives skin a rough texture) an acne facial as well as chemical peels can be done at your dermatologist’s office.

Spots & Dots
• Drug Store
o For color correction alone the best medicine is prevention-with a good broad spectrum sunscreen.
o The La Roche Posay Anthelios line is a great drugstore brand. I like mineral based sunscreen since they reflect the harmful UVA and UVB rays off of your face.
o Antioxidants such as Vitamin C are also good for prevention.
• Dermatologist
o A new or changing mole should be brought to the attention of a dermatologist-especially if you’ve ever spent any time in a tanning booth.
o A great prescription SPF is the Obagi Nu-Derm Sun Shield SPF 50.
o To lighten up spots you’ve already got, I think the most effective ingredient we’ve got is hydroquinone.
o HQ has been used successfully and safely for over 50 yrs.
o The most effective product line I’ve found is Obagi Nu-Derm, which combines HQ with retin a and alpha hydroxy acids.
o The Obagi Nu-Derm Clear is a prescription treatment that treats hyperpigmentation (discoloration) which improves and evens skin tone

For more tips from Dr. Fitzgerald, visit her online.

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