About a month ago, one of our dermatologists sent a patient over to the medical esthetics side of the clinic for a consult. I took one look at her and the problem was obvious. She said she had been dealing with acne for years and had tried everything in the book to get rid of it. I told her she didn’t have acne, but rosacea instead. The products she had been using to treat the acne were in fact adding to the negative effects of the rosacea. She got the biggest smile on her face, said that the dermatologist said the same thing, and that after years and years of misdiagnosis, she was thrilled to finally start treating for the correct problem.
In the past few months a strange trend has been popping up. Although patients have been trying to go “natural” for years (although not necessarily helping their skin) it seems there is a wave of coconut oil fanatics out there right now. Now don’t get me wrong, I love anything to do with coconuts, and I think the oil is great to cook with, add to dry hair, and use sparingly on dry skin. The problem is that my patients who have been using it have oily, acneic skin. Really? Does it make sense to put oil, any oil on skin that is producing too much oil? Of course not! The problem is that either the patient has misdiagnosed their skin, thinking it is dry when it’s really dehydrated, or they have read somewhere that coconut oil is great for all skin types.
Well first of all, people with oily skin do not have dry skin. Dry skin means the patient doesn’t produce enough oil. Skin types don’t flux back and forth either. The skin type you have after puberty will stay with you until your later years (menopausal?) with skin gradually producing less and less oil as we age. However it is possible for any skin type to become dehydrated, which means the skin is lacking water. So, dry skin = not enough oil and dehydrated skin = not enough water. In fact it is almost expected that a person with oily skin will become dehydrated, as they tend to use acne products that strip the water from their skin.
Guessing your skin type, misdiagnosing skin conditions, following foolish ideas you found on the Internet are more than just a waste of time. Without proper knowledge, you could be sending your skin down a path it could very well get lost in. In order to correct or improve your appearance, it is first necessary to understand what the problem is. You don’t treat a cancer patient for diabetes, and you shouldn’t treat an eczema patient for acne (yes I have also has a few of these patients).
At Toronto Dermatology Centre, we make it our goal to get you in to see us as soon as possible. With a referral and a waiting list of only 2-3 weeks to see one of our dermatologists, we are most likely the fastest clinic to get into in the country. And if your concern is not necessarily one requiring a dermatologist, our knowledgeable medical estheticians can probably see you the same week that you call in, and with no referral needed.
Don’t waste time and money mistreating your skin. Treat it right, right from the start. Be smart, be educated, know your options, and start the path to better skin today.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre