Still Trying to Look 38 (at 40)

Every couple of years I visit my dermatologist just to get my skin checked out. I went last week. It was the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen this doctor in about 10 years, and I’m not going back.

The problem is not that my dermatologist is not knowledgeable or polite or professional. I’m not leaving her because I had to wait almost 3 months to get the appointment, since the dermatology department is so overbooked and understaffed. It’s not because I see a lot more wrinkles and spots on my skin as the years go by. It’s not that I can’t afford to see her every few years. It’s not the location of the clinic, which is out of the way.

It’s just that my dermatologist doesn’t really seem to care.

She hustles into the room, hardly looks at me, and writes me a prescription for Tri-Luma, which treats acne (of which I have very little) and mild-to-moderate sun spots (of which I have several I don’t like).

For the third or fourth time that I’ve seen her, I express frustration at these hard little bumps on my face. They are not red, but they look like acne. They occasionally flare up, but they’re solid—there’s no puss in there to pop out (if you’ve ever had a pimple, you’ll understand this concept).

My dermatologist glances at one of my latest bumps—that is to say, she doesn’t look closely—and says, “oh, this prescription will help with that.” But it won’t! I’ve been applying Retin A to my skin for years and I still gain about one little bump per year. They never go away, they just become part of my skin. – She responds that if they don’t go away, I can come back in (it will only take me 3 months to get a 5-minute appointment) and they can pop it for me.

One time she told me these are little cysts and that there’s nothing I can do about them. So why does she now think they’re pimples? Because she didn’t look closely and she is in a great hurry.

About 5 years ago, I went in and I had a photofacial done. It’s a little laser that they zap your face with on the little brown spots. My skin looked so much better! But now she wants to write me a prescription instead of really telling me what my options are.

I’m not usually one to hesitate to ask a doctor questions, but I get the distinct feeling that this doctor desperately wishes I would not ask any questions. So I don’t. I just want to leave.

I go home and think about it. Don’t you think Jennifer Aniston (for instance) would have options if she had hard bumps under her skin? How about Whitney Houston? Rita Moreno? I bet all three of these women have great relationships with their dermatologists.

These photos are all evidence that a woman’s skin can look great at different ages—if they have eat healthily, drink water, don’t sun worship . . . and have a dermatologist that gives a shit.


Jennifer, you’ll always be older than me . . .



















–Anyway, the point is, I feel my dermatologist probably gets paid enough to spend a little more than 4 minutes with me. Seems to me that it’s part of her job to care that I’m trying to look 38 for another year or two (I’m 40).

And I don’t just want a prescription. Hell, she could probably sell me a facelift if she tried. I’ve always told my husband I would get surgery at age 40 to get rid of the deep vertical line between my two eyes.

One other thing. My Tri-Luma is going to cost me about $125 for a 6-month supply. I don’t buy expensive makeup or face cleansers or shampoos, so I feel I can splurge on a skin product that really does make a difference for me.

Insurance doesn’t pay for Tri-Luma. You can damn well bet insurance paid for every Viagra prescription that was provided in the same building that day. This is not my dermatologist’s fault, but I’m still going to a different dermatologist next time around.

This is probably one of the most shallow posts I’ve written. But then, it’s my 100th, so I can indulge in a bit of speculation about celebrities, and fuss a little about my looks.

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One Response to Still Trying to Look 38 (at 40)

  1. Alyssa says:

    Wow. Yes, you should have a dermatologist who will spend more than four minutes with you. Hopefully the next one you find will be a good one.

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