While we love a good cheat sheet of skin care tips, everyone’s skin is different, and a general list is hardly a “one size fits all” solution. Thankfully, dermatologists can help to get your skin healthy and on track, regardless of why you stepped foot in the office to begin with. The way to really get the most out of your visit, though, is to ask the questions you need to ask.
Your dermatologist will likely be able to answer most questions, but if you never ask, you’ll never know. Here, we’ve put together 10 questions you should be asking your dermatologist so you can get the best skin possible.
1. Is it okay to go out in the sun with this prescription? While sun exposure isn’t exactly celebrated in the dermatology world to begin with, some treatments may make your skin even more sensitive to sunlight. If you’re taking a topical or oral medication for skin, be sure to ask your doctor if sun exposure will throw a monkey wrench into the treatment.
2. How often should I be exfoliating? There are countless exfoliants with endless ingredients, and depending on your skin type, exfoliation can play a very important role in keeping your skin fresh. For sensitive skin, smaller exfoliating granules will be gentler, while for oily skin, larger scrubs can be better. Ask your dermatologist how often you should be exfoliating and when you are, find out which kind of exfoliant will work best with your skin.
3. Which foods should I be avoiding? Whether you’ve got an allergy to gluten or you’re unknowingly consuming a hundred grams of sugar hiding in your power bars every day, ask your dermatologist which foods you should be staying away from. Certain ingredients (like gluten) can hide in foods, and changing your diet can dramatically change your skin.
4. Are there ingredients that will upset my skin? Much like food, there are skin care ingredients that should be avoided at all costs, depending on your skin type. For those with acne, benzoyl peroxide works wonders, but the same ingredient can make dry skin even more dry. Talk to your doctor about what will work best for you.
5. Can I get a facial? Few things are more luxurious than a trip to the spa, but leaving with irritated skin ruins the whole day. Finding out if your skin won’t benefit from a facial (or that a facial will actually harm your skin) ahead of time will save you a lot of stress and money.
6. What is this acne coming from? Acne triggers are all around us, and if you find the root of the problem, you’ll be one step closer to a solution. Depending on whether your acne is caused by your diet, stress or hormonal changes, you can form an attack plan that will really work.
7. Are there changes in my sun spots, moles, etc.? Considering the amount of sun exposure we’re getting these days, sun spots and moles need to be checked periodically to monitor abnormalities. The minute you notice a strange spot on your skin, head to the dermatologist and have them keep an eye on it. Early detection is key with such things.
8. What’s the best moisturizer for my skin type? Regardless of your skin type, you should be using moisturizer. You just have to make sure it’s the right moisturzier. Hydrated skin is less prone to wrinkles and other signs of aging, so keeping your skin moisturized today will make your skin thank you tomorrow.
9. Which products won’t hurt my skin? Whether you ask about specific products or specific brands, having a list of products that won’t hurt your skin is priceless. Prepared with that list, you’ll be able to walk into any drugstore or beauty supply store without questioning what you’re buying.
10. Can I get rid of these scars? Each scar is different, and depending on how deep a scar is rooted under your skin, your dermatologist may be able to help remove the scar. But, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
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