Beauty Rx: Doctor Knows Best When It Comes to Beauty Advice!
The pharmacy isn’t just for when you’re sick
-Paige Herman Axel
Would you ever think to ask your pharmacist for beauty advice? Probably not, but the fact is, some of the most effective beauty products reside on those sterile white shelves in the pharmacy. Sure, you have to take a trip to the doctor’s office before you can get your hands on these goodies but it’s well worth it … These prescription products have been proven to work!
Prescription-based acne treatment products are the way to go, especially if the over-the-counter stuff hasn’t helped. Think of the pharmacy as your source for supercharged skin care, and many of the products your dermatologist recommends (such as benzoyl peroxide cleansers) are simply souped-up versions of the same cleansers and topical treatments you find on the store shelves. But one especially effective weapon in the fight against can – oral and topical antibiotics – can only be obtained by prescription, and that’s a big reason to see your dermatologist. And the best part is, since acne is a bona fide medical condition, your insurance may cover part of the costs associated with these products.
Flip through any magazine and you’ll see ad after ad touting face creams as the latest fountain of youth. Sorry to say, but none of these claims have been verified by the FDA. But behind the pharmacy counter, the rules are different. One family of topical medications, the retinoids, has been proven to help increase the skin’s rate of renewal, which translates to smoother skin and softening of fine lines and wrinkles. There are many, many medications that fall in this category, with Retin-A being the most well known. Among the other retinoids that are commonly prescribed to improve visible signs of aging (and acne) include Differin and Renova. But you don’t need to ask for them by brand name … Simply ask your dermatologist if your skin could benefit from a retinoid, and your doctor will prescribe the one that he or she best fits your needs.
Melasma is a big concern for women, and a lot of you probably don’t even know you have it. But if have patches of dark skin on your face, melasma may be the culprit – but only your dermatologist can tell you for sure. The good news is your friendly neighborhood pharmacist most likely has a solution for you. The same retinoids used for acne and wrinkles can help, as can another prescription medication called hydroquinone, which is designed to help fade dark spots. But the magic bullet (at least according to most dermatologists) is a prescription called Tri-Luma. This cream contains a retinoid, hydroquinone, and a topical steroid to prevent skin irritation. If your discoloration is caused by sun damage and not melasma – again, only your dermatologist can tell you for sure – he or she may prescribe straight hydroquinone, which remains the gold standard for skin lightening.
A few weeks back I told you about a few eyelash enhancing product options, but the only prescription-based product is Latisse. And since the FDA approved it specifically for the treatment of hypotrichosis (or inadequate eyelashes) you know the stuff is going to work. All you have to do is apply it like liquid eyeliner every night before you go to bed, and in about 4 to 6 weeks’ time, you’ll notice longer, darker lashes.
When visiting your dermatologist, prescription medications are just the icing on the beauty cake. Your doctor has access to beauty advice and powerful treatments that can make a big difference in the quality of your skin and its appearance. From chemical peels to microdermabrasion to laser treatments and injectables, your dermatologist can customize a treatment plan that addresses your issues, and gets you the results you’re looking for. Your best bet is to do your homework before you go to your doctor’s appointment so you can ask specific questions, and be educated when your doctor recommends specific treatment. For more information about office-based beauty treatments, visit a website like exploreyourskin.com or realself.com to read about all the latest.