Lessons in Dermatology & Beyond

I've really been enjoying my time learning about dermatology, plastic surgery, and medical spa procedures. One of my favorite things I have gained on this rotation is a respect for the sun. Shamefully, I am not someone who always applies sunscreen daily or religiously before going in the sun. When I do apply, I rarely reapply like you're supposed to. After only 3 weeks at this rotation, this is what I've learned:

  1. Wear at least a SPF 30 sunscreen dailyThis is something I NEVER did. My makeup is SPF 20, but after being in dermatology for three weeks SPF 20 is not enough. I happily went and bought myself this CeraVe morning moisturizer. It is gentle enough not to burn my face. There is also a $2 off coupon here. I haven't tried the SPF 50 spray yet, but it's on it's way from Amazon as we speak along with a SPF 50 face sunscreen (I'll let y'all know if it's as gentle as the SPF 30).
  2. See #1, seriously: Solar elastosis the fine wrinkles on your cheeks when you smile are 100% from sun exposure. Trust me, you do not want to have to have total laser resurfacing or fillers for these. Just wear sunscreen!
  3. Exfoliation is key for moisture: This is a strong belief by many cosmetic physicians, but hasn't been proven yet. One particular physician (the creator of our medical spa products) believes that too much moisturizer will fool the skin into thinking it doesn't need to moisturize itself (#4 is an exception). I'm not sure if I'm his band wagon, but it kind of makes sense. I can tell you that the ladies using the products regularly look absolutely amazing. 
  4. Moisture is the key to healing: After almost every procedure we perform we apply vaseline or aquaphor. It turns out the antibiotics in antibiotic ointment aren't what helps wounds, scrapes, or incisions heal, and neomycin can actually cause skin irritation. The moisture from the ointment is what does most of the work. We use it mostly for face lift suture lines where the skin is under a great deal of tension and the risk of it skin necrosis is high. The moisture allows the new vessels to reconnect and heal better than leaving it dry. This ointment is absolutely essential for post total laser resurfacing (where the top 200-1000 microns of your skin are incinerated by a laser to reveal very delicate and less wrinkled skin below ** Remember the key to avoiding this is #1). What can you take away from this? Any tiny scab or cut from a zit you couldn't resist or an abrasion you may have gotten while filing your dogs nails would benefit from some aquaphor or vaseline. It's especially effective for chapped lips at night and less expensive than anything else!
  5. We all have insecurities: I can't tell you how many times I have been in a consultation with a patient for plastic surgery thinking "Why would you want that? You look great already!" It just goes to show that everyone is insecure about something, and I don't believe that wanting to change it is wrong. Whatever makes you feel more confident is good, as long as you don't go overboard.
  6. It's OK to say "No": One pivotal thing I've learned that ties into the above lesson is that some people will never be happy. There may come a point in cosmetic practice where you must decline to offer a procedure. Some people don't know when to quit and may never be satisfied despite multiple surgeries, injections, etc. 


  1. Love this post!! I've heard that CeraVe is the best… maybe I'll pick up the moisturizer next time I'm out (although I do love my Aveeno… but it's only SPF15!). Glad you're liking derm though! Do you know what specialty you want to go into yet??

  2. Cerave IS the best! My sensitive skin even breaks out with Cetaphil and Cerave has taken care of all my skin problems and is SUPER moisturizing.

  3. CeraVe is one of my favorite brands for a facial moisturizer. I love the AM & PM moisturizer, it works so well!

    God bless,
    Xo, Claire

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