Unfortunately, dermatology (and medical practices in general) are businesses. They’re trying to make money, just like retailers and everyone else. It’s to their advantage that we come into their offices and spend big bucks on small skin problems, so they’re not likely to tell us about simple, inexpensive treatments that work just as well (if not better) than their pricey treatments.
Here are a few things you need to know that your dermatologist may not tell you.
1. Don’t Over Wash Your Face
It’s tempting to feel guilty when you keep having breakouts after the dermatologist told you to wash your face more often. However, over washing causes as much (perhaps more) damage than under washing. The skin builds up natural defenses during the daytime and nighttime hours. Over washing your face rinses these protective substances away. Only wash your face one to two times per day for the best looking and healthiest skin.
2. It’s Not All About Products
Dermatology patients often think that good skin care is a matter of finding the right products. While skin care products are important, what you eat is even more important. The same foods doctors advise us to eat for healthier hearts, joints, bones and teeth also give us healthier skin – and healthier skin is better looking skin. Base your diet on fruits and vegetables, and fill it out with lean meats and proteins like fish, eggs and nuts. Switch from vegetable or canola oil to olive oil when cooking to get skin nourishing Omega 3 fatty acids. Drink lots of green tea for fresh, nourished skin.
3. Use Moisturizer Properly
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. We hear it all the time, but we’re not sure how to apply all the advice to our particular skin type. The fact is, most of our skin types vary throughout the year and over the years as we age. There’s no such thing as a one size fits all skin care program, and the program that works for you during the winter isn’t necessarily the one you should be using during the warmer months.
Similarly, the program your dermatologist advised you to use three years ago may not be working for you as well today. During the winter, most people do need a thick, rich cream moisturizer in the morning. At night, go with a lighter lotion or none at all. Never skip the moisture to avoid oils when you have acne. Your skin needs the moisture so it won’t over-produce oils that cause breakouts.
4. It’s Okay to Scrub
Dermatologists often advise against scrubbing our faces, and it’s true that over scrubbing can damage skin and leave it susceptible to breakouts. However, using an exfoliating scrub sparingly helps the skin shed dead skin cells and rejuvenate itself with healthy, young cells. Once per week is ideal for most skin types to exfoliate. It’s not necessary to buy the most expensive product your doctor sells, either. There are lots of over the counter products that work just as well.
You know better than anyone else how your skin responds to products and treatments. If your doctor’s advice isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to experiment with a new product or regimen. However, if you have a diagnosed medical condition such as psoriasis, eczema or rosacea, it’s best to use the products and regimens recommended by your dermatologist.