8 Things Your Dermatologist Wants to Tell You
"I offer skin checks to all of my patients," says Jennifer L. MacGregor, MD, a board certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. She'll drop everything to look at a suspicious spot and will always make time for body scans. In fact, she'll add (and subtract) services and discuss whatever issues you want to talk about —from the dark patch on your cheek to the mole on your lower back. But this means that when you come in for a Botox injection and a skin check and then decide as your doctor is walking out the door that you're also interested in addressing your under-eye puffiness, she's going to do whatever she can to accommodate you. If every patient took this approach, wait times would get out of control.
How to help her—and you: Mention all the treatments you'd like done (including lasers, injectables and full-body scans for moles, freckles and other discolorations) when you call to make an appointment.
What she wants to tell you: We’re not here to judge you...unless you show up with a tan.
"Part of my job is to make people feel good about themselves; so pointing out a flaw that a patient hasn't noticed is doing exactly the opposite," says Whitney Bowe, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "The one exception is if a patient is clearly getting too much sun and putting herself at risk for skin cancer. Then I'll point out that the sun exposure can result in old, wrinkled, unsightly skin. Sometimes beauty can be a greater motivator than fear."
How to help her—and you: Save her the lecture (and save yourself the dressing-down) and see her before your vacation, so that you can ask her for waterproof sunscreen recommendations (and maybe even score a sample).
What she wants to tell you: Actually, benzoyl peroxide doesn't turn pimples into scabs.
"People definitely lie about picking their skin," says Jaliman. "But we can always tell, because we'll see the scabs, the scratch marks or the small depressions caused by fingernails."
How to help her—and you: Be honest. Your dermatologist may suggest deterrents—like hiding your magnifying mirror or dimming the bathroom lights—or, if it’s serious, she may refer you to a psychiatrist who can get to the bottom of the issue. "We're here to help," Jaliman says.
What she wants to tell you: You don't really need to see me for one of these...
A facial. Your dermatologist isn't the only person who can squeeze, massage and smooth your skin while you relax in an easy chair. It's perfectly fine to see an aesthetician for one, says Macgregor. In fact, some derms don't even offer facials.
How to help her—and you: If facials are your thing, treat yourself to one at your local medical spa (the aesthetician at a medical spa is more likely to have been trained by a dermatologist or to work with one than one who works out of a salon). Always ask to see proof of their training as well as their state license, which should be hanging on the wall. Keep in mind that there isn't much research about the long-term benefits of facials, save for the relaxed glow that comes from lounging in a chair and being tended to and moisturized for an hour. But for many of us, that's enough.
Next: The two treatments you shouldn't get from anyone else