Who's leading your skin care journey?Sep 11, 2023
The skincare industry is a BILLION $$$ business promising people eternal youth and amazing skin! But is it all too good to be true? I'm a big believer that if it sounds too good, too perfect, too much, then it probably is just hype! But when we are being marketed to on a near constant level, being told to just buy this one thing and our lives (or at least skin) will be perfect, it's hard not to fall for the slick packaging and media hype.
So who should you believe and trust with your skin and aesthetic goals? While there are many people out there vying for your attention, your cash and your time, there's one professional who has the overarching training for your skin health, whether seeking medical or cosmetic recommendations who can help guide your skin care journey. And that's your DERMATOLOGIST!
Dermatologists are highly-trained medical doctors specializing in skin, nails, and hair. Their journey involves four years of intensive medical school, followed by a demanding internship year. To specialize in dermatology, they must compete for a spot in one of the most competitive residency programs available.
During their dermatology residency, they invest countless hours mastering over 3,000 different skin conditions, along with skills in skin surgery, laser and aesthetic procedures, pediatrics, pathology, and more. Some dermatology residents choose to further refine their expertise through fellowships in areas such as Mohs surgery, cosmetics, pathology, or pediatrics after completing their three-year dermatology residency. Then dermatology residents must pass a rigorous board certification exam to be deemed a DERMATOLOGIST! So when it comes to skin, dermatologists have the training, education, and hands on expertise to match!
The skin is a complex organ and provides so much more value to us than 'just a pretty face!' Our skin can also display indications of internal diseases and conditions. For instance, it may darken in the neck and armpits due to underlying diabetes or show white patches as an early warning sign of thyroid disease. Without recognizing these associations, there's a risk of incorrectly addressing certain "aesthetic" issues.
Take for instance a patient I recently saw for a lentigo maligna melanoma on the cheek.She had attempted to remove this dark spot through various methods like laser treatment, freezing, and cauterization. It was only when a friend recommended seeing a dermatologist that she sought proper care. Upon examination by the dermatologist, it became evident that this dark spot wasn't just a harmless sun spot; it was a potentially life-threatening skin cancer. Recognizing when not to treat and seeking expert guidance is so important.
Why does it matter?
1) It saves you time, money, and frustration!
When you consult with a dermatologist, they evaluate your skin and its needs from both medical and aesthetic angles. Sometimes the lines are blurred and there's a medical issue behind your aesthetic concern. Identifying the root cause and receiving proper treatment can spare you the time, stress, and expense of trial-and-error approaches and DIY skincare.
2) Your dermatologist can help you establish safe and effective preventative strategies for your skin.
As dermatologists, we know that no amount of actives can undo an unhealthy lifestyle, diet and environmental factors. Your dermatologist can help you make effective and proactive adjustments today so that your skin stays healthy for decades to come.
3) Your dermatologist keeps a close watch on your skin, particularly for worrisome lesions like skin cancers. You definitely don't want to miss these! Occasionally, a dark spot prompts someone to consider laser treatment or a chemical peel. However, if that dark spot turns out to be melanoma, using lasers can remove the pigment, making it more challenging to detect and potentially allowing it to spread. Knowing when to NOT treat and instead biopsy is so important and can potentially save your life.
4) Your dermatologist is up to date on the latest science and research on skin health and aesthetic procedures. So, instead of following TikTok trends or quick fixes, trust your dermatologist for reliable guidance to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.
Is there a board-certified dermatologist leading your skincare journey? To find one in your area, you can search via the American Academy of Dermatology's directory (www.aad.org/find-a-derm) to ensure you consult with a qualified expert in skin health.
Tune in to this week's podcast episode featuring Dr. Rossi, where we explore the significant role of dermatologists in leading the way in skincare.