A Q&A with Dr. Michael Swann
We all know that we need to wash our face every day and to use sunscreen, but when it comes to visiting a dermatologist, that's another story. We asked Dr. Michael Swann about choosing a dermatologist and when to go, as well as skincare advice.
********************With the new year, people always make resolutions to take better care of themselves. What do you recommend someone look for when finding a dermatologist?
Like any professional relationship, you want to find someone who is capable and well-trained, communicates well and meets your needs as a consumer. Dermatologists vary in their focus with some focusing on skin cancer, others focusing on medical dermatology or cosmetic dermatology. Usually a good website and online reviews will tell you a lot about a dermatologist's interests and personality.
When and how often should a person visit a dermatologist?
Dermatologists are the top of the pyramid for skin knowledge, so if you have a skin concern and want the best advice, find a dermatologist who is an expert at your concern.
If someone has a family history of skin cancer or has new or changing moles or another skin issue, they should consult a dermatologist, who will assess any need for regular follow-ups.
Patients who have a personal history of melanoma follow a schedule in my office of being seen every 4 months for 3 years after diagnosis and then annually for life. Patients with skin cancers or pre-cancers usually need evaluated at least annually. Cosmetic concerns can be dealt with based on the need. Swann Dermatology offers conservative Botox 3 times per year. Filler products have different lifespans, so follow-up for reassessment is based upon degradation times and of course the patient's expectations.
If you have a reaction to a skin care product or make-up, what course of action would you recommend? An immediate doctor's visit? Wait it out?
Reactions to beauty products or make-ups are common. When you have a reaction and can identify the product, discontinue and protect the skin for 2 weeks. Sometimes over the counter hydrocortisone 1% lotion can help speed resolution of dry flaking skin from irritation or allergic reaction. If things aren't getting better, consider consulting your dermatologist for advice.
What products do you swear by for better skin (face and body)? Does it change based on the season?
I swear by sunscreen, moisturizer and growth factors. I do alter the weight of moisturizer in the fall and winter, when temperatures and humidity drop. I love EltaMD's UV Physical 41 tinted for face every day. It is a truly physical, mineral sunscreen that reflects light. I use light moisturizer like Skin Medica's Restorative Ointment during the spring and summer, but move to something with a higher moisturizing factor in the fall and winter, like Skin Medica's Dermal Repair Cream. Dermal Repair should be used as a night cream and is excellent because it also contains antioxidants. TNS Essential Serum is my secret weapon. It has the richest density of naturally secreted growth factor you can find and a clinically proven blend of skin brighteners, moisturizers retinol and antioxidants.
Besides wearing sunscreen is one skin care tip you think everyone should follow at any age?
Sunscreen is the most important, but I think the biggest tip is learning about your skin. All skin types aren't the same, so get to know your skin type. Recommendations for one person's skin issue could actually exacerbate another person's "problem area".
Dr. Michael Swann is a fellowship trained Mohs surgeon whose primary focus is to surgically remove skin cancers using the Mohs micrographic surgery technique. He believes in a team-approach to helping his patients achieve excellent results and has a thoroughly-trained staff who focus on skin cancer, reconstruction and cosmetic procedural dermatology. Click here for more about Dr. Swann and his practice.
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