When Do You Really Need To See A Dermatologist?

by Stephanie Montes

Photo: FirstView

You probably know that it’s important to go to a dermatologist but are a little unsure of the rest: When should you go? How often? What will the appointment entail? And so on and so on. We get it. The experience (or even the thought of it) can be intimidating, which is why we turned to the Beverly Hills-based derm-to-the-stars Dr. Harold Lancer for answers to all the questions swirling around in our pretty heads. Read on for the 411 on everything you need to do about going to the skin doc. But if you’re looking for a CliffsNotes version, here it is: Make an appointment. It’s important.

How is a dermatologist different than an esthetician? "In addition to performing cosmetic procedures and anti-aging treatments, board-certified dermatologists treat skin conditions with medical procedures and administer medications needed for skin health and well-being."

Is an appointment with a dermatologist different than visiting a spa? "Spas are more about relaxation and ambience. Body or facial services are an excellent way to de-stress, but they don't benefit the skin."

It's important to maintain great skin–don't wait until a skin condition has affected your health and the anti-aging process.

What if I don't have any serious skin conditions? "The skin is the largest living organ of the body, and it requires ongoing maintenance to function at its best. Be proactive–don't wait until you have a condition before seeing a dermatologist."

Can you describe what an appointment with you is like? "Every appointment begins with a microdermabrasion to remove layers of debris and dead skin cells so I can see the true condition of the skin. Then I do a full skin and body check for moles, cancers and skin conditions. I treat every patient depending on their needs and instruct them on aftercare.”

Is it ever too early or too late to see a doctor? "Just as it's never too early to teach a child about oral hygiene and brushing their teeth, it's never too early to develop good skincare habits. Developing the right habits like sun avoidance, exfoliation, cellular turnover, healthy eating, product ingredients and proper application are key at almost any age."

When is it a good time to make an appointment? "Once you hit your 20s, there is a slowdown in the production of collagen and elastin."

What should I know before my first visit? "Check that your doctor is board certified in dermatology and get a sense of his or her work. If any of your friends see that doctor regularly, their skin is a testament to that dermatologist’s work quality."

Do I need to bring anything? "Bring any products you're using or specific prescriptions you're currently taking."

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