Dermatologist info?

My skin has been breaking out for about two weeks now. Normally I just get the occasional pimple, but currently all along my hair line and upper chest are broken out. I haven’t changed any hygiene habits since June when I went no-poo. Currently, I use Dove soap for sensitive skin for both my face and body and an apple cider vinegar rinse for my hair. My hair and scalp are both behaving, but my skin is not. I’ve decided to go to a dermatologist if it continues too much longer.

I’ve never been to a dermatologist before and I was curious if anyone had any anecdotal information for me. What sorts of questions do he ask? Will he think my no-poo routine is nuts? Will he need to see skin beyond the parts that are breaking out? Will I get guilt tripped for not doing something that I’m supposed to, like I do with flossing at the dentist?

Any other advice or thoughts on dermatologists is welcome. TMI zit stories aren’t…sorry, I’m squeamish.

Damn, I had to look up old threads to figure out what you meant by not having bowel movements. :o

He won’t see more of you than you want to show, don’t worry. You won’t get guilt tripped, you’ll get help. I see the dermatologist regularly because I suffer from psoriasis. My sister had a break-out in her late 20s and she needed antibiotics for a while. Skin problems happen, that’s the doctor’s job. Even if you decide to show him a pimple on your ass, he won’t even blink.

Good luck.

Have you changed laundry detergent recently? Last year I switched from my regular unscented one to one that was supposed to be good for the environment. Environment maybe, but not for me. I got the itchies all over my torso that I scratched so much I got welts. Threw the crap out and switched back.

How could you not poo? (No offsense if it’s because of a medical issue.) Maybe that’s it; your body is getting rid of toxins through your skin.

My only bit of advice is to call and make the appointment now, even if you’re not sure you’re going to need it. I had a major psoriasis outbreak summer before last, really needed to see someone ASAP, but like you had never seen a dermatologist before. None of the doctors I called had a “new patient” opening for at least six weeks.

I hope it’s different in your case, but call now just in case.

I’ll make the call on Monday. I hadn’t considered the wait time. Thanks for the tip!

No-poo is short for no shampoo. Sorry for any bowel related confusion.

I’ve seen dermatologists on and off since I was a kid, mostly for eczema but I’ve had questions about acne too. My advice for you: Keep in mind that advising you on your bath routine and product selection is something that you want them to do. Dermos mostly do 2 things (IME): write scripts and give advice. If they can fix your problem without writing you a script then you’ve lucked out. The most useful dermo visit I’ve had was the one where he drilled into me what I had to do to fight off my winter-time eczema, I now only rarely have to use medication for it.

If this is your first visit then most likely they’ll be perfectly nice about your routine – you’ve never been there before so they can’t say you weren’t following their instructions. They may tell you to change your routine, but if you don’t like the instructions you can speak up and say so. And if they are snippy then you can just not go back, you’re no worse off then you were before.

FWIW, skipping days of washing my hair is a major breakout trigger for me. My hair looks fine if I skip a day, but my skin doesn’t like it. I realize the change away from shampoo isn’t recent, but maybe somehow the combination with cooler weather (wearing hats? Wearing your hair down?) has caused a problem. Going back to using shampoo seems to me like it would be worth a try before prescription medication, with the inevitable potential for side effects.

Ditto, even after seeing the part about apple cider vinegar for her hair.

I see now I did miss the clarification post from yesterday.

A good friend pointed out the obvious to me this morning. I was having a PMS type moment and she reminded me that I was sick all during September and October and dropped about twenty pounds. My body could most definitely still be out of whack from that and so I’m going to start with my regular doctor and see what she says.

As far as going back to regular shampoo, I don’t think I’m going to do that unless its doctor recommended. I used to get zits on my scalp and I no longer do after making the switch. My hair is way less oily between cleanings as well. Overall, it seems that my hair and scalp are significantly more healthy after dropping the shampoo habit.

Please take this in the spirit in which it’s intended.

I’ve met you; you’re tiny. I can’t imagine that you minus twenty pounds can possibly be healthy. I hope you’ve regained some of that.


I’m a dermatological medical assistant- first of all, don’t assume that your condition is acne. There are many conditions that it could be, and many of them closely resemble acne. There’s staph aureus or MRSA, which can present as acne-like pimples, an overgrowth of mites (sounds gross but some mites are normal), eczema, etc., etc. Only a dermatologist is really equipped to help you to determine what it is and to treat it. It should be bacterial-cultured to rule bacterial infection first and then move from there. And yes it can take forever to get in, so go ahead and start calling.

As for your primary care doctor, yes- I agree that you should be seeing him or her for your unexplained weight loss or whatever, but IME most of them aren’t trained in dermatology very well, and it often works out much better and faster for the patient to see a derm instead.

<true humorous medical anecdote>
When I was in nursing school a hundred years ago one of my profs was married to a dermatologist. She said dermatology was the best field of medicine to go into because the patients were never sick enough to be in hospital and they never really got well.
</true humorous medical anecdote>