Can you handle your skin needs on your own to save lots of money? Yes, but know when you MUST see a doc.
There is so much you can do by yourself to improve your skin; not only improve, but actually achieve truly awesome skin. Why go to expensive skincare salons when you can give yourself peels and other treatments at a fraction of the price—easily, quickly, effectively, safely? If you aren’t sure what products are right for you, you can read information on Platinum Skincare, or—shameless plug ahead—in my book The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin (read more about that, below).
However, there are certain skin issues that require a visit to a dermatologist. I’ll give you a good run-down on some of those circumstances.
The first thing you should know is that for strictly aesthetic/beauty issues, you want to see a “cosmetic” dermatologist, not just any dermatologist in the phone book. “Cosmetic dermatology” is not an official title or a specialty with its own programs or certification; it’s simply what we call dermatologists who go beyond the basics of the profession and offer skincare that ventures into the realms of beauty. A “cosmetic dermatologist” usually incorporates lasers and peels into her practice as well as injections for Botox(tm) and/or fillers such as Restylane(tm) and Juviderm(tm) for cosmetic enhancement rather than a medical necessity. Of course, a cosmetic dermatologist will also treat skin cancers, acne, sebaceous cysts, and other medical skin needs as well. Some cosmetic dermatologists even perform some plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction and scar revision.
If you only need medical treatment for a skin issue, you can go to either a dermatologist or one that is informally known as cosmetic dermatologist. To find out if a dermatologist is also a cosmetic dermatologist you need to call the office directly and ask if the doctor has all the “bells and whistles” such as lasers and injectable products, or visit the doctor’s website and see what the practice offers. Most cosmetic dermatologists have explicit websites explaining the procedures they offer and showing before and after photos.
If you have mild acne, fine lines, some discoloration, large pores, or uneven skin tone—you can save a lot of money at home by carefully following instructions and giving yourself glycolic peels or peels with salicylic acid, lactid acid, etcetera. Many of the peels offered at Platinum Skin Care (including the 1-4-All Peel by The Skin Regime are as strong as those offered by dermatologists’ offices and skincare spas. These peels, in addition to using retinoids and retinols like the Retinol Molecular Serum are usually the go-to treatments cosmetic dermatologists offer patients who want overall improvement for their skin without experiencing any down-time.
But if you have severe cystic acne, pitted scars or deep wrinkles, you would probably benefit from treatments with lasers or very strong chemical peels or prescription medications that are only available through a doctor who specializes in those treatments.
There are a few other conditions you should not try to treat at home. These include:
1. Injectables. Getting injectable fillers like Restylane(tm) or Botox(tm). I know it seems like a “no, duh,” to warn you not to try injecting stuff into your face at home, but believe it or not, there have been many reports of people somehow getting ahold of those products—often from shady overseas sources—and then attempting to treat themselves or friends. If you hear the horror stories and see photos of the disfiguring results you’d realize it is not worth saving any amount of money to let unqualified people stick needles in your face!
2. Suspicious moles. Any moles that are uneven in color, bleeding, growing in size—must be looked at by a dermatologist to rule out the possibility of dangerous types of skin cancer. Even a very tiny “odd” spot can be malicious. When it doubt, have it checked out. Read more about moles and other skin cancer warning signs and view photos on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website.
3. Persistent melasma (skin discoloration) or rosacea/broken blood vessels. Okay, so you’ve tried the do-it-yourself peels and products and a lot of the spots have faded—great!—but maybe you have some that just won’t go away; maybe they were too dark to begin with or something else is going on. Don’t despair—lasers are there! Find a cosmetic dermatologist who has the kinds of lasers that can help melasma and/or rosacea and broken blood vessels. Important note: If you are dark-skinned, there are some lasers you can and cannot use, so be sure to inquire about that as well.
4. Severe acne. Do-it-yourself peels and products with salicylic acids and benzoyl peroxide can work wonders, but if you have large nodules or cysts or acne that covers your face and sometimes your chest and back—go to a dermatologist that offers prescriptions products that can help you. Important note: If you want to consider the wonderfully effective prescription medication isotretinoin (also known as Accutane) for severe acne, you should ask the doctor’s office if they will consider prescribing it before you make the appointment: Some dermatologists are not members of the mandatory medical program involved with prescribing isotretinoin, and if they are not, they cannot prescribe it for you.
5. Warts. Some small warts can be treated with over-the-counter products or peels like those offered at Platinum Skin Care—and there are even some at-home treatments involving duct tape that some people swear will work (google “duct tape+warts” to read about that). But large warts, or stubborn or painful warts on the bottom of the feet, known as plantar warts, usually need specialized care by a dermatologist (some podiatrists also treat plantar warts).
6. Other stuff. All kinds of stuff can crop up: Rashes, hives, fungus on the nails or genitals (!!), sores, blisters, cysts, abscesses, tags, bumps, spots, and sprouting alfalfa seeds (just kidding on that last one—I wanted to see if you were still paying attention). Rule of thumb: If it doesn’t go away with standard drugstore items, if it bothers you, or if you have a bad feeling about it—go see a dermatologist and get it GONE!
Where can I buy Dana's Book?
The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin, available as a Kindle download or Buy paperback to buy your paperback copy from Platinum Skin Care. You can also read the first chapter--FREE--by click here to read 1st chapter.
Don't forget to check out our sister website, TheSkinRegime.