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May 5, 2009

How to Choose The Right Doctor for Your Skin

Kellee Knighten, 31, talks to MC's resident derm and psychiatrist about choosing the right doc.

beauty shrink

Beauty Shrink

Photo Credit: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

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"Not only did I have a bad feeling about my dermatologist's diagnosis, she didn't suggest any alternative treatments." -Kellee, Hartford, CT

KK: I'm a musical-theater actress, so it's important to look good. I recently tried salicylic acid to get rid of the pimple-like bumps near my eyes, but it didn't work.
It sounds like milia. Those are benign papules that result when skin doesn't self-exfoliate and dead cells get trapped under the surface. They're quite common and can be removed easily by your doctor.

KK: Actually, I saw a dermatologist who made that diagnosis but told me the milia were too close to my eyes to remove and the salicylic acid had caused scar tissue to develop.
Well, she was wrong on both counts. Using salicylic acid in no way impacts the effectiveness of in-office removal procedures. As for safety, I've had milia removed—without complications—from the rim of my eyelid. Her refusal to treat you was a blessing in disguise if she's not adept at removing them.

KK: I had a bad feeling about the diagnosis. Should I have said something?
Follow your intuition and get a second opinion if you're not content with something any doctor tells you.

KK: What are some tips for finding a good dermatologist?
Consult the American Academy of Dermatology (aad.org) or the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (asds-net.org) to find board-certified members. Free websites like comparehealth.com also provide info, like patient reviews. Lastly, get recommendations from your gynecologist or internist.

KK: One more thing—even though I've been sleeping well, my under-eye area has gotten visibly darker over the past few months.
Dark circles become more prominent with age, but rubbing your eyes breaks up blood vessels that deposit dark blood cells in the area. This leads to discoloration. Be conscious of whether you're rubbing your eyes. You may have mild allergies or aren't removing your makeup properly, and the irritation is causing itchiness.

KK: I have been rubbing my eyes lately! I'm wondering if I've become sensitive to the fragrances in my makeup and skin products.
It's very possible, which is why a lot of companies now offer fragrance-free options. Another caveat: Many hair products are perfumed, too. If you're under the hot lights of the stage, the products may be dripping into your eyes. Consider trying fragrance- and dye-free styling gels and sprays. The show must go on!

Dr. Wechsler's BEAUTY Rx
Olay Mascara + Make-up Remover, $7.49
LaCoupe Fragrance-Free Mousse, $7.99
Bulgari Regard Precieux Intensive Regenerating Eye Contour Cream, $150.

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