At home skin care treatments to avoid...
Can you briefly explain how it's more important than ever in the world we live in (with so many products available on the market touting skin benefit after skin benefit) to know when to seek the assistance of a professional?
Wow- this is quite a question. I initially thought or hoped that with the rapid increase in the volume of products on the market that people with varying skin types, problems and needs would finally find an option best suited for them. This didn’t happen. I am spending more time on a daily basis with patients bringing in bags of products asking what to do with them, why the salesperson told them to buy them, and if they even work. There is so much confusion coupled with hope for a magical result from a product that people are spending way too much on skin care. I’ve comes across average spending on beauty from $8 a day to $313 per month. Those figures probably don’t even take into account wasted money on products with false hope or salespeople pushing products and not solutions.
When the seek the assistance of a professional really depends on your level of satisfaction with the products you use. Are you seeing the results you are seeking? Is there a particular issue that you cannot seem to improve after trying a couple of products? I recognize that with high deductibles and copays seeing a dermatologist has its own cost. The most important perspective a dermatologist can offer is navigating the oceans of lotions and potions on the market. I find that I thin out most routines to the basics and find that most people are using redundant products or overpriced products not even meant for their skin.
What are 5-7 skin care treatments that you'd recommend a patient never do at home (i.e. only do in-office)?
- Chemical peels : If you have some experience with chemical peels you may be able to do these. However, when these are not used properly – either left on too long or coupled with way too many ingredients focused on exfoliation – there is high risk of discoloration or potential scarring from chemical burns. It is also important to understand that chemical peels are not for every skin type. Choosing the right peel solution, length of time to apply, and results to anticipate vary widely and best done in office.
- Hair regrowth products : A substantial portion of my practice is made up of patients dealing with hair loss. Almost every single one of these patients has already tried hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars worth of over the counter products, supplements and treatments hoping for some regrowth without truly understanding the cause of their hair loss. Please don’t do this. If you are struggling with hair loss, please make your first stop your dermatologist office. It’s so important to have the cause of your hair loss determined to dictate the best treatment options or approaches. It is also important to do this early and not late. Depending on the cause of the hair loss, some can be irreversible if seen too late.
- At home laser devices : These products are costly and difficult to say how effective they are. The bigger concern I have is understanding which skin types are best suited for these and the conditions under which you should avoid treating the area. If you have a suntan or darker skin types run the risk of these devices either not working or risking discoloration to the skin if they do. Light treatments for hair removal work by targeting the pigment in the hair which is the same pigment that is in our skin.
- Microneedling : This procedure is interesting because I find that so many people have said they do it on their own skin or have had it done. When I mention how uncomfortable it can be but truly works, I have patients that say they didn’t find it to be uncomfortable at all. This is my clue that they probably didn’t have an effective treatment. It’s no fun to think this but this is one of those procedures that in spit of adequate numbing patients often still feel some level of discomfort. It’s a messy procedure because the needle depth is most often 1.5 to 3 mm deep. But, wow does it work!...when used effectively…
- Removing your own skin tags: I understand the need to want these off quickly! I know the internet is filled with products and videos on how to perform these procedures. I have had patients come in with dental floss still stuck to their tags after a week of waiting for them to fall off! It’s so fast for this procedure to be performed in office and some insurances even cover the removal that it is worth inquiring about!