The Dermo Dilemma

Skincare is a mystery to many of us - we're not quite sure how it works, we think we know what our skin needs, but really, we're going off the bits and bobs we hear from our friends, family and from the media like blogs and magazines. Everyone is blessed with something, but for many of us including myself, skin is not one of them.

As you may have guessed from previous posts, my major concern about my skin is my adult acne - hormonal acne, it's sometimes called. And no matter how much reading I do, I can never really grasp what products will work and what I really need to do. I used to have concerns about being incredibly oily or my acne scars lingering for a very long time, but those are things I've since then overcome through choosing the right skincare products.

2 summers ago, I put my foot down regarding the ongoing eruptions of volcanoes acne on my chin - I was 20 and these spots were going nowhere. So my mom took me to the dermatologist in Japan, and the doctor gave me Vitamin B tablets and some ointments. The ointments did nothing, but the tablets did okay. To be honest with you, I still think cod liver oil does a better job. And so my faith in dermatologists really kind of plummeted.

But there's always a part of me that wonders if I was just unlucky. There are always dentists and doctors that just don't work for you or are no good, and perhaps it's the same with dermatologists. But then there's another side of me that's like - if you overcame your oiliness and acne scars by yourself through research and learning about products, then maybe soon, you'll come across a solution for your scars (and I have to say, the Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser may be the one!). Or, you'll just stop getting them - I'm 22 for goodness sake, they have to stop SOME time don't they?!

Another option I've wondered about are those chain dermatologists, like sk:n. When you hear things like the hard sell that leads to boob-jobs gone wrong and massive law suits against cosmetic surgeons, you wonder if seeing a dermatologist that treats other kinds of rare, and more serious skin diseases is the same as seeing a dermatologist that is focused on beauty and anti-aging, which let's face it, isn't as serious as it gets. Or would somewhere like sk:n give you more time and attention for non-grievous skin conditions than someone that has graver problems to worry about (you know, the ones that might roll your eyes at you - rightly so - because his poor previous patient had been permanently scarred from a fire perhaps.. but then again, acne has been linked to low self confidence, and I can vouch for that!), and who isn't necessarily a specialist in spots/anti-aging/whatever?

I'd like to think so - I mean, sk:n is a massive company, I adore their Aloe Vera Gel, and an acne treatment at sk:n does not come cheap at a consultation coming free (but we've all heard about the hard sell/improper disclosure of risks etc., at cosmetic surgeons right?), but one treatment being £105 and 6 treatments at £450 on sale. If the results were guaranteed, and I'd had friends with success stories, I'd be less inquisitive. But I haven't personally met anyone whose had these things done.

For me, I want a treatment plan that when I get it done, it works and that's it - I don't have to worry about it again. That's my problem with cod liver oil and cleansers - I have to keep taking it everyday, and if I stop, BOOM. Acne central. So it's not REALLY fixing the problem, is it? If I get these treatments and keep taking pills, but one day I know I'll have to go back to square one to solve the root problem - what's the point of shelling out? Why shouldn't I just keep spending money on trying different skincare products? Is a traditional dermatologist the way to go?

Enough of me and my rambling, what are your thoughts?
Have you thought about seeing a dermatologist, and if so, what kind?
In fact, have you ever seen a dermatologist and how did it go?

*Sponsored post.


  1. Dermatology is a tricky subject for me as well Yu. I was put on Accutane at a young age, as my mother had terrible skin her whole life and didn't want the same for me. Still it was a harsh medication, and completely changed my once young oily skin. Now I am combatting with adult/hormonal acne as well, and I rely on my own research than the dermatologist because any topical treatments I got from the doctor ended up losing its efficacy after a couple months use. The process is so frustrating, but I am grateful that I realized doing my own research has taught me so much about skin. It's an ongoing struggle though -- I wish the perfect remedy existed but unfortunately...I don't think it does. x

  2. This was actually a really helpful post, there is so many harsh chemicals they put in so called senstive products that ruin my skin!


  3. I've never seen one but my sister has always had bad acne and she has been disappointed by many 'experts' and she just tried loads of products until she found some that worked

  4. Everyone's skin is different and unique, and the interactions between skincare and skin treatments vary. I think it is unlikely that several hundred pounds worth of facial treatments can offer long term help for what is a hormonal skin condition.

    I think you might have more luck changing what you put in your skin than what you put on it. If you are taking hormones, try stopping or changing your prescription, if you are not, some kinds of hormonal birth control are known for being effective in treating acne.

    Stepping away from hormone medications entirely, it could be a food intolerance which is making your skin flare up, common culprits are dairy, artificial sweeteners, some meats. It might be worth trying excluding possible culprits one at a time from your diet for a few weeks at a time to see if there is improvement.

    Vitamin B is often taken for skin problems but it doesn't work for everyone. I'm sensitive to vitamin B so I get initially fewer, then many many more spots when I take it. I'm especially sensitive to nicotinamide (vit B3) spot cream like freederm gel which works for a couple of days then brings me out in enormous breakouts.

    I really hope you find out what it is and your skin recovers! Let us know how you get on :)

  5. I used to have adult acne and I asked my doctor about it once when I was in there. She put me on differin (kind of like a retinol), clindatech (a topical antibiotic) and switched me to a new pill for hormonal reasons. My acne cleared up within two weeks and I haven't had a spot since. Maybe you don't need to go to a dermatologist, your GP may be able to offer you a cheap and easy fix. Obviously everyone's skin is different but it is worth a shot.

  6. I'm 27 and I struggle with acne (though I never had it in high school or college). I agree with Beetourist - for me it's what I eat, not what I put on my face. Skin care products only help the symptoms for me (helping the acne heal, fading acne scares), but if I have even the tiniest bit of soybean oil, I breakout all over my chin. Soy sauce is okay, and a tiny bit of soy lecithin seems to be alright as well, but I've been too scared to try any other soy (tofu, tempeh, edamame) since figuring this out. I had a hunch I had a soy problem, but the way I actually figured it out was to track my diet (in a giant spreadsheet with columns for common foods that cause intolerance - wheat, dairy, egg, soy, nightshade vegetables, etc.) and my amount of acne and I was able to see a link. So, if you're still struggling with acne, it may be worthwhile for you to try an elimination diet where you take out all these common triggers and see if your skin clears up. Then try adding them back in one by one and maybe you'd be able to target the culprit (if it is food). You can also get bloodwork done to test for food intolerances, though I haven't tried this (a friend has though, and she found out eggs were causing her migraines).
    I know that probably sounds like a big hassle, but it could be worth it for you. Funnily enough, I had my first and only facial a few weeks ago, and the facialist saw my pattern of acne scars and acne and immediately asked if I had digestive issues. I explained my finding about the soy, and she said she wasn't surprised at all. She said there are 6 main inflammatory foods - soy, peanuts, wheat, dairy, beef, and corn - that are common acne triggers which usually cause acne around the mouth and chin. So maybe those would be a good place to start? Or maybe you should treat yourself to a facial with someone who has a holistic approach to skin care and they might be able to give you some guidance?

  7. i've had so many problems with my skin the past 6 months. I've tried everything from changing cleansers, moisturisers, diet, vitamins etc.

    Have recently been to the doctors about it and they gave me a benzoyl peroxide cream called Duac and it's gone within a few weeks. I didn't want to go at all as I'm not one for taking pills etc but it's worked and my skin *touch wood* is near perfect now!

  8. Well im almost 30, and i still have acne. I almost haven't had an acne-free days for the last 3 months. I've tried a lot, i've read a lot, i know a lot!!! But this knowledge doesn't work on me, ha))


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