Monday, July 28, 2008

Skin Stories

Since I started this blog a little over a month ago, I have realized how difficult it is to come up with original posts and to avoid using this little medium as my list of complaints and rants. So I apologize to those of you who had hoped for more consistent posting, if anyone has suggestions please forward them along.

Today I read/heard about at least three different articles related to dermatology issues. As someone who has suffered through her fair share of these specialists, I have been to the worst and the best of dermatologists. I suffered from really bad acne starting at around 12 and peaking at about 15. During that time the majority of my doctors recommended the same routine, creams, stringent face washing, and random antibiotics. Luckily for me, I also had a mother in the medical field to supplement my treatment with facials at Georgette Klinger in Beverly Hills & birth control to help balance out my hormones and reduce breakouts. The facials were so awful that my mom would have to bribe me to go with lunches and new outfits. I just remember women with European accents digging into my pores and removing all of the dirt and grime accumulated in them at various levels of pain.

Finally my Dad, who has also had his fair share of dermatologists, found one doctor in all of Kaiser who was willing to think outside of the box. She put me on the very controversial medicine Accutane. This medicine was a classic case of gender discrimination, doctors would hesitate giving it to young women, because of the birth defects it caused, rather than assuming that women were smart enough not to get pregnant while taking this medication. I took it the summer between sophomore and junior year and watched as the extreme Vitamin A levels in my body caused the layers of skin to fall off. It was a bad summer since the medicine makes you very dry and peel and just horribly red.

Then in college, I found a dermatologist to the stars that a friend of the family had recommended. She was phenomenal, and rather than prescribing random antibiotics actually found out what kind I needed and told me to throw away all the fancy soap/masques/lotions and just use Cetaphil. This really revolutionized my idea of skincare and to this day I owe her the relatively few breakouts I have today. (Too bad she ended up on house arrest, because of unpaid taxes. And her husband committed suicide the day he was to be sentenced in court.)

There's an article in the New York Times today about how the medical side of dermatology is being overshadowed by the cosmetic side. No wonder this has happened as doctors can make 3 to 6 times more shoving middle-aged women with botox than dealing with acne or abnormal moles. At the same time the more doctors learn about melanoma and skin cancer in general, the more preventable it has become. And surprisingly at the same time we have a Presidential candidate who suffered from the disease, we might also find it being pushed aside in favor of cosmetic peels and lifts. What's happened to the Hippocratic oath?

1 comment:

Michael said...

I couldn't agree more with the fact that all these cosmetic treatments sometimes only make things worse. CETAPHIL is #1!