Did you know you can save on your beauty routine by using money in your flexible spending account (FSA) on eligible skin care? If you have a FSA through your employer healthcare benefits, those pretax dollars can be used on a variety of medical expenses, including skin care that treats specific conditions.
“Over the counter topical skin care products related to certain skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne are FSA eligible,” says Dr. Rayma Garlapati, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Skin Medicinals. That means you can use FSA dollars on qualifying lotions, cleansers, spot treatments and other products, and most of the time, you don’t need to see a doctor or get a prescription before buying.
“While you don’t necessarily need to see a dermatologist or doctor to use FSA dollars on these products, it can help to see a dermatologist to determine what treatments and creams would be best for your skin type,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick. “That said, some specific products may require a prescription in order to be eligible, to ensure it is being used for a medical condition.”
And even if you don’t have a medical skin condition like eczema or acne, most people with a FSA can take advantage of the fact that sunscreen is a qualifying product. “Sunscreens that are SPF 15 and above and have broad spectrum coverage are also FSA eligible as daily use of sunscreen can prevent skin cancer and signs of aging,” Garlapati says. Garshick also recommends using your FSA to stock up on SPF. “It is important to remember to wear sunscreen regularly, and for those who cost is a barrier to using it, this may be another option to ensure it is being used,” Garshick says.
If you’re unsure of whether a product qualifies, the FSA Store is stocked exclusively with eligible items (and not just skin care!). Target and Amazon also have FSA eligible products — identified by “FSA Eligible” labels on the respective sites — that you can shop using your FSA dollars, but some limitations may apply. For example, Target is unable to accept FSA cards as a form of payment for online orders, but you can use it in store (for online orders, you can use a debit or credit card and submit your receipt for reimbursement through your FSA plan). At Amazon, you can add your FSA card as a form of payment to your Amazon account and select it as your payment method at checkout.
To learn more about FSA dollars and how to use them, take a look at our complete guide to flexible spending accounts. Just remember — if you still have money from your 2022 plan, you’ll want to spend it before the FSA grace period ends on March 15. And when you’re ready to shop, consider adding these skin care products to your cart:
A lightweight sunscreen that won’t leave a white cast, this completely sheer option is one of Garshick’s favorites. “This SPF 40 sunscreen offers broad-spectrum coverage and is easy to apply as it absorbs easily and is oil-free,” the dermatologist says.
This award-winning acne treatment contains adaptalene, an over-the-counter retinoid that targets breakouts and blemishes. For those new to using a retinol product, start incorporating it into your routine gradually — skin cycling is an expert-approved method to help avoid the dryness and side effects that can come with retinol.
Gentle and nearly invisible, these pimple patches are made from hydrocolloid, which absorbs the fluid, oil and gunk from within zits. On clean skin, simply pop these on your pimples (they work best on whiteheads) and let them work their magic for at least six hours.
“Providing a natural tint, this mineral sunscreen can be used daily and helps to nourish the skin while also providing broad-spectrum coverage,” Garshick says.
Made for those with eczema, this hand cream contains colloidal oatmeal and ceramides to soothe and hydrate dry, irritated skin.
This Black-owned beauty brand created its hero sunscreen to highlight that even darker skin tones need sun protection. The clear formula is infused with natural ingredients like avocado oil and jojoba oil to nurture the skin, too.
“This healing ointment, which can be applied to dry, rough or cracked skin, can help to protect the skin while also locking moisture in,” Garshick says. It’s a great option for slugging your skin care, in addition to medical uses such as healing minor cuts and scrapes, which the dermatologist also recommends it for.
Another expert-approved sunscreen, this one wears well under makeup and was used on the set of “Emily in Paris” during long filming days under the summer sun in Provence, France.
This budget-friendly acne cleanser helped senior lifestyle editor Rachel Lubitz tackle a persistent breakout, and now she swears by it.
This handheld LED light therapy treatment curbs acne with combined blue and red light to target the acne-causing bacteria. Reviewers say that with consistent use they see clearer and smoother skin — and it only takes three minutes per session.
Minimize the redness, bumps and irritation of rosacea with this medicated gel. The sulfur-based treatment also contains calming aloe and urea.
An expert-recommended first cleanse in a double-cleansing routine, this exfoliating cleanser is great for acne-prone skin as it contains salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells and keep skin clear.