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Dr. Jessica Wu On: How to Shop for Skincare at the Drugstore

This week, we've tapped top dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu to share her best skincare tips and techniques with us on Lucky Right Now. Check back daily for her posts.

My favorite place to shop for beauty products isn't a fancy department store--it's the drugstore. In fact, I often recommend drugstore products to patients in my office because they're affordable and widely available. It's practically a full-time job to keep track of all the new products, so I make it a point to cruise the aisles of my local Walgreens at least once a week. Every so often, while I'm checking out the latest acne wash or lip gloss, I notice a woman standing next to me, gazing up and down at the shelves and looking completely perplexed. If this is how you feel when you walk down the skincare aisle, here's how to get the most out of your next trip to the drugstore:

Walgreens acne wash, $4.59, walgreens.com; Walgreens SPF50 sunscreen, $2.99, walgreens.com

Read labels.
Did you know that many drugstore skincare and makeup brands are made by the same companies that make department store products? The big difference is packaging. So if what's important to you is what goes on your skin, then learn to read labels and pay attention to ingredients. These days, you can find many of the same ingredients in both budget and luxury brands. For example, drugstore acne products with salicylic acid are as effective as more expensive acne lines. Same goes for drugstore sunscreens. These days there are wonderful, affordable sunscreens with the same ingredients as department store brands. When reading labels, keep in mind that the active ingredient should be close to the beginning of the list. This means it's in greater concentration.

Ask for a tester. While there may not be a pretty display case with testers, you should still try to test a new product, especially if you have sensitive skin or a sensitive nose. If you don't see a tester, ask a manager; many times they can find a tester or open one for you.

Happy shopping!

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acne