I have had so many people coming to my clinic with ABC creams and DEF face packs and XYZ peels done... no, not by dermatologists but by beauticians or as the suave word is by 'Salon experts', claiming that nothing worked. Rather their skin turned from bad to worse. Soon to be brides, grooms top this list of people who visit Salons for such 'treatment' purposes! Second in line are women trying to look their charming best just before a party/ anniversary etc who fall prey to claims like, "Hum aapka chehra party ke pehle ekdum gora bana denge", or , " Gold/ Diamond facials se aapka chehra glow karega!" etc. Third in line are young college going girls who want their pimples gone and black heads removed. What do people with skin trouble do? They enter a Salon or a Beauty Parlour get their treatments done or use creams suggested by friends, pharmacists, etc., and end up getting a scarred face. And when things go out of hand where do they run to? Finally a dermatologist!
I felt the need for this article after reading in the newspaper that there were people out there who were claiming to have DIPLOMA IN PLASTIC SURGERY/COSMETOLOGY! Let me tell you all that no such thing exists! This article gave me the shivers (and I am a doctor!). So far, we had to deal with beauty parlours and salons doing peels and damaging skins, but now it looks like we have to watch out for such quacks who will be going a step ahead (in jeopardizing lives and not only skins) and be ready to 'handle' and 'correct' all that was done wrong to the people by them, maybe even bring the wronged back from the dead.
So here is WHAT NOT TO DO if you do have a skin problem:
1. GO TO 'ANYONE' CLAIMING TO BE A DERMATOLOGIST/ COSMETOLOGIST First understand if you want to be treated by Allopathic medicine or by alternative medicine (Ayurvedic, Homeopathic). Yes, there is a big difference between an Allopathic , Ayurvedic and Homeopathic doctor! They incorporate completely different modes of treatment and doctors need years of study and practice to become proficient in it. Being a 'Cosmetologist/Dermatologist' doesn't mean the doctors know Allopathy and Ayurveda etc!
2. GO TO SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR AREA
Try to find out a dermatologist near you. Why I say near you is because, skin treatments require time! Yes, it's hard to believe this statement after you have seen so many TV commercials claiming things like 'fairer skin in 7 days', ' fine lines and wrinkles gone in 7 days', ' dandruff gone in 3 washes', etc. But let me tell you that all these are marketing gimmicks. If the above statements were true... why would we as dermatologists not just ask you to apply those creams? This would make things easier for us right? Give a 'blanket treatment (one that covers all problems) collect our fees and send the patient off! But we don't. Because our skin and body doesn't work like that! Like every person is unique, so is every skin, heart, brain...even the intestines! Thus the treatment varies with every individual. So, if your dermatologist is near you then follow ups are easier and more importantly, on time.
3. USE PRODUCTS 'SUGGESTED' BY NON DOCTORS OR ON A TRIAL BASIS Never use creams(Clotrimazole, Ketoconazole, Fluconazole, Fusidic acid, Nadilfloxacin), shampoos, steroids (Betamethasone/ Hydrocortisone/ Fluticasone/ Mometasone) without consulting a dermatologist first. Remember, all creams (Cosmetic or otherwise) have side effects no matter what they claim.
4. DO A MEDICAL PEEL/ ANY TREATMENT AT A PARLOUR JUST BECAUSE IT COSTS LESS Never attempt Blackhead removal or Peels or Lasers or Botox etc at a non-medical set up. People look at the rates of the procedures and go ahead. Please avoid this!
5. GET INFLUENCED BY HOARDINGS FOR HAIR TRANSPLANT TREATMENT Do not fall prey to advertisements/ false claims especially regarding Hair Transplantation. These are not salon procedures. They require an Allopathy degree (of the doctor performing the transplant), proper operation theaters and disinfected areas.
6. BLINDLY WALK INTO A 'COSMETIC CLINIC' WITHOUT KNOWING CREDENTIALS If you have doubts or want to verify the degree/diploma of the doctor visit Medical Council of India website. The site gives a list of approved degrees and diploma courses in all specialties of Allopathic Medicine. That will give you a rough but clearer picture of who you are going to. You could ask him or her for registration number (with their specific State Medical Council).
Please understand that learning medicine doesn't come with only a degree/ diploma. It needs acumen, a sharp mind and a lot of experience to become a doctor (be it any field). We spend 8 to 11 years of our lives (depending on the specialty) just studying before we are allowed to practice as specialists in the society. And we continue to read and study for the rest of our lives.... why? So that people don't get hurt or scarred for life.
Medicine is a field of science, not maths. Here, 2 + 2 doesn't add up to 4. It is a science where we need to apply the knowledge we have, it is a science where we need to KNOW WHAT TO DO... and more importantly to KNOW WHAT NOT TO DO. Only doctors are taught this. And that is how we make treatments safe.