• Questions to Ask Your Skincare This Year

    Questions to Ask Your Skincare This Year

    Regardless of whether you set new resolutions or not, the turn of a new calendar year comes with annual adult obligations. These include paying your taxes, tracking the progress of your student loans, paying your mortgage, strategizing your vacations, and asking for a raise. Also, if you are smart, consult a dermatologist to check the health of your skin. Considering that the skin is our largest organ, few of us take the time on a regular basis to analyze the vitality of our skin. Here, Dahm suggests topics you should discuss with your doctor annually.

    1. How can I prevent and screen for skin cancer on a regular basis?

    Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with the American Academy of Dermatology estimating that one in five people will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Despite this alarming rate, few people schedule skin tests that can detect the early stages of this disease, says Brian Ginsberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. If caught in infancy, Dr. Ginsberg says most experience a 99 percent survival rate. Because some forms of skin cancer are hereditary and may require testing more than once a year, he recommends having an open and honest conversation with your skin, covering current sun exposure as well as family medical history. According to Dr. Ginsberg, five heavy sunburns in a lifetime doubles your risk of melanoma, so it's also worth discussing the best SPF for your body and home screening methods you can incorporate into your daily routine.

    2. What should i do for my skin regimen?

    A quick Google search for "skin care regimen" will reveal endless articles, blogs, and links to a variety of products. Having access to a lot of information has its advantages, but knowing what works for a particular skin type or problem can also be confusing, says Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City. Instead of spending time reading the fine print, go directly to the source and ask your dermatologist to recommend the right ingredients for you. Which cleanser to use, which vitamin C and sunscreen, which laser to consider, dermatologists are the best resource to answer these questions, says Dr. King.

    3. How can I monitor my moles?

    If you're someone who has a lot of beauty marks, it's important to learn how to monitor them, says Peterson Pierre, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Thousand Oaks, California. You know your body better than anyone else, wearing your birthday suit every day, so you're your first line of defense. Dr. Pierre says to be cautious and follow the "ABCDE" test to make sure the mole doesn't bother you. You will need to consult a dermatologist for direct instructions, but this is an excellent way to test it as soon as possible.

    • A is for asymmetry: is one half of the mole different from the other half?
    • B is for borders: is the border irregular?
    • C is for color: is there a color change or multiple colors?
    • D is for diameter: are the moles increasing in size?
    • E is for elevation: is the mole higher from the surface of the skin?

    4. What is this? Is this treatable?

    Dr. Ginsberg says that many people walk around with unruly moles, pesky ingrown hairs, discoloration, and other nasty things. What many people don't realize is that treatment is often not only possible, it's easy. Scars that you thought were permanent, such as acne, can be reduced in just a few months. Many growths can be removed in a matter of minutes with minimal scarring. That stubborn acne can be reduced in a matter of days with a single injection, he says. If you are curious, ask. You never know what's possible with medicine and technology these days.

    5. Do I need eye cream?

    Even if your grandmother, mother, and sister all insisted that you absolutely, 100 percent, must have used eye cream yesterday, Dr. Pierre says they may be wrong. In fact, if you're already using other products on your face that serve a similar purpose, some of them could be a waste of cash (and energy). If you're really concerned about the delicate skin under your eyes, it's best to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe pharmaceutical-grade options with quality ingredients. Your dermatologist can offer Retin-A or other prescription medications that target your specific condition," he says. "You'll get the best results and save both time and money."

    6. What are the causes of acne?

    Not everyone can overcome the anxiety of acne in their twenties, thirties, or forties. In fact, many people suffer from breakouts throughout their lives, and the causes of these breakouts change with age. As Dr. Pierre says, acne is multifactorial, and our hormones are the primary culprits. From clogged sebaceous glands causing inflammation, to pimples, acne, etc. it is important to discuss what is going on with your dermatologist. When they know what is causing you problems, they will know the right questions to ask in relation to your lifestyle and age to give you the best possible solution. TLDR? Dr. Pierre reminds us that we are all plagued by acne. At the end of all these breakouts, you may have clear skin, but to get there, you have to be honest with your skin.

    7. Are there any new techniques or procedures to maintain skin?

    Dermatologists are constantly researching new ways to deal with skin problems. Thus, what was not available five years ago, or even a year ago, may be in the works now. That's why Dr. Ginsberg suggests asking your derm about the latest discoveries, techniques, and treatments that may solve your problems. These include creams, injectables, and lasers. Wrinkles, redness, dark spots, and fat may be treated with less invasive and less painful options. In many cases, there is little or no downtime. Rather than indulging in what was once an option, explore what could be a game changer in the new decade.

    8. How does my diet affect my skin?

    Some foods do not agree with your stomach, causing uncomfortable cramps and bloating. Also, some foods aren't necessarily good news for your skin. Dr. Pierre says that everyone has varying levels of sensitivity, but if you keep experiencing breakouts, your diet may be to blame. According to a study, foods with a high glycemic index can cause acne in susceptible individuals. These foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, which can stimulate inflammation and cause acne, he explains.

    Common culprits include dairy products, gluten, fast foods, fried foods, and chocolate. Some patients eat all the foods on this list and their skin looks great. Others avoid all these foods, but still suffer from acne, says Dr. Pierre. A dermatologist can guide you through different elimination diets and tests to inform your diet plan.