My patients prove to me day after day something that I passionately believe: No one knows your skin better than you do. You are so sensitive to changes in your skin, whether it’s the way it looks, works or feels. But being a great observer doesn’t necessarily make you a great fixer. That’s actually one of the reasons I have a job: to repair what together we diagnose!
Every week I get questions from viewers who correctly recognize skin issues but then unfortunately decide to fix them using much more enthusiasm than medical skill, causing worse injuries than the issue they were trying to fix. That’s not to say that you can’t do a great deal on your own to help your skin without running to a doctor, but let me give you an example of where good intentions pushed good judgment aside.
A viewer wanted to get some facial moles removed. Instead of going to a dermatologist, she used a tool she bought on the Internet to remove a few of her moles. According to her, after her self treatment, most of the moles healed fine, except the two largest ones, one on each cheek. They turned into, what she described as, "huge crater type scars." Understandably upset, she then reached out to me to ask how to fix them. Unfortunately for her, depending on how deep she picked with the tool, even with plastic surgery, she still may be left with marks.
I am completely sympathetic to the new, even worse problem and that’s why I’m sharing this cautionary tale. So before you decide to be your own doctor, ask yourself: Is what you’re about to do something that you’re confident you know how to do, and have you thought about what might go wrong? Dermatology isn’t rocket science. But the stuff that we as dermatologists do, we learn through many years of education and even more importantly, experience. And that’s what we want to share with you to avoid the unfortunate outcome that our viewer experienced.