8 Things Your Dermatologist Wants to Tell You
The real reason her skin looks so amazing (and other insider pieces of advice).
What she wants to tell you: "But only—and I mean only—see me for..."
Lasers and needles. (Or you might end up like these people.) "Clinicians can take a weekend course in injecting Botox or fillers or learning a laser, and then hang a certificate on their wall," says Whitney Bowe, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "But that doesn't mean they have adequate training in facial anatomy, nor does it mean they know what to do in the case of an emergency or complication."
How to help her—and you: Look for someone who's board-certified in dermatology and has graduated from a dermatology residency program. If you're interested in laser procedures, Bowe recommends finding a dermatologist who has multiple lasers on hand. Why? Some lasers that work well for lighter skin can burn the pigment in darker skin, leading to scars. "If he has only one or two lasers in the office, he might not be able to offer you the best option for your skin."
What she wants to tell you: "Book your mole scan before you show up, please."
"I offer skin checks to all of my patients," says MacGregor. 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 Bowe. "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: "We don't always practice what we preach."
"I used to take my dog outside in the morning without putting on sunscreen first," Jaliman admits. "It would only be for about five minutes, and I'd put it on after I came back." Jaliman was eventually reminded of something she always told her patients: Sun damage is cumulative. "I noticed I was getting freckles on my face, and I needed to laser them off." Now she doesn't even step out of the house without sunscreen—not even for the doggie's bathroom break. And her freckles have never come back.
How to help her—and you: Learn from her advice—as well as from her mistakes (because it's unlikely you have a laser machine at home to cover up yours).
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