Mar 12, 2015 @ 7:32 AM By Mona Gohara, M.D
1. “I wear sunscreen every day.”
Ultraviolet (UV) light contributes to 90% of the visible signs of aging, wrinkles, saggy skin or blotchy discoloration, and skin cancer. And using sunscreen daily, not just at the beach or in the summer, is key. Dr. Ellen Marmur, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, says “it’s like pretending to take birth control, consistency really matters.”
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: Not using an SPF 30 or higher every day puts you at a much higher risk for cancer. Not sure what formula to use? Your doctor can guide you on products that are right for your skin and realistic for your lifestyle.
2. “I wash my makeup off every night.”
Clogged pores and whiteheads are just two of the obvious reasons that nightly cleansing is essential. But sleeping with makeup also ages your skin, warns Dr. Vivian Bucay, a board-certified dermatologist in San Antonio, Texas.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: This may be the reason that your acne, rosacea, or eczema is not getting any better. According to skin care experts, going completely makeup free for two days a week can rejuvenate skin in less than a month.
3. “I have never used a tanning booth.”
UV light that comes from tanning beds is up there with nicotine on the list of carcinogens. With just one tanning session, your risk of melanoma (a deadly skin cancer) increases by 75%, says Dr. Shadi Kourosh, a board-certified dermatologist and instructor in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Not to mention the cosmetic toll it can take on your skin.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: You may need to come in more than once a year for skin cancer screenings.
4. “I won’t exercise after in-office treatments.”
Although many skin treatments are routine and quick, the care afterwards may be a bit more involved — and that may include not exercising or avoiding heavy lifting.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: Exercising after skin surgery can lead to the wound separating, really bad scarring, or the need to keep stitches in longer, says Dr. Anthony Rossi, a dermatology surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
5. “You are the first doctor I’ve seen for this.”
Don’t feel weird about admitting that you have seen your primary care doctor or another dermatologist for your skin condition. It can only help.
Why Your Derm Needs To Know: “It is important to know what treatments or tests have already been done,” says Rossi. Without a complete history, it will be harder to fix the problem.
6. “I don’t douche.”
Dr. Bethanee Schlosser, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in genital skin diseases at Northwestern University, notes that patients often deny use of hygiene wipes, douche, harsh cleansers, and astringents like witch hazel in their regular routines.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: Honestly, we don’t care. The main goal is to figure out why you are constantly itching and irritated down there, and what you are using to clean can definitely be the cause.
7. “I promise, I am not pregnant.”
Newsflash: If you’ve had unprotected sex, you could be. And skin changes in pregnancy. Acne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis can appear, get worse or get better. Moles, nipples, and belly skin can also get darker.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: Certain procedures and medications are off limits during pregnancy. Even over-the-counter meds that you can get a local drugstore can harm a fetus, says Dr. Adrienne Stewart, a board-certified dermatologist in Denver, Colorado.
8. “I eat a balanced diet.”
Juice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or other fad diets and popular nutritional supplements can be a good idea for the waistline, but they may not be so great for the skin.
Why Your Derm Need to Know: An imbalanced diet can lead to hair loss, acne, and unwanted facial hair warns Dr. Rebecca Tung, associate professor of dermatology at Loyola University. Being honest about what you eat will allow your doctor to craft a successful treatment plan, she says. Remember, everything in moderation.
9. “I didn’t use cortisone creams on my face.”
It is tempting to put steroid-based creams on any blemish that comes up on your face. But beware — it could be opening up Pandora’s box.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: “Using these creams on lesions of rosacea or perioral dermatitis can initially improve the situation, but then a steroid-induced flare-up can occur,” warns Dr. Jean Bolognia, a professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.
10. “I’ve never tried Botox.”
Some people feel uncomfortable admitting that they have had previous cosmetic procedures. Don’t be. Five million Americans are right there with you.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: To get best results with Botox and fillers, your doctor should know what products were used previously before injecting new ones says Dr. Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatology surgeon at SUNY Stony Brook.
11. “I use my acne medication every day.”
Every day for a week or two doesn’t count.
Why Your Derm Needs to Know: It takes at least a month, if not more, to see a difference when it comes to skin cell turnover, says Mariwalla. Consistent use for a longer period of time (we know waiting is hard) is the only way to see if the acne creams you’re using will give you a clearer complexion.