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The experts at Dermatology Skin Care Centre work to dispel myths about your largest organ — your skin

By Nadia Arandjelovic

Whether you have clear and radiant skin or the spotty, uncooperative type — the truth is your skin is one of the first things people notice about you.

And while some people have their daily skin care regime down to an art, others might be in need of a little help.

Dermatologist Alexander Romeo has seen practically every type of skin concern — from acne to sun damage — walk through the doors of his practice.

He said one of the biggest challenges with his job is trying to dispel skincare myths that have been passed down through hearsay or the glamorous commercials on TV.

“Many people don't know why they use the products they do,” Dr Romeo said. “Sometimes they use things on their skin that they've picked up from their mother and father, it's almost like folklore.”

One of the myths is that using products like cocoa butter on the face will help with hyper pigmentation — but it can actually lead to clogged pores.

Others use petroleum jelly products on their skin thinking it will help prevent wrinkles and ageing, however it ends up just sitting on the skin without any real benefit, said aesthetic nurse Shameela Simons.

“Some people don't use anything on their face other than water and they do their skin a disservice,” Dr Romeo said. “If they are not exfoliating and especially for people with oily skin their pores can become clogged.

“Folklore is very powerful because they learn these things from the time they are small — based on what they see others doing or what they hear on television and it affects how they care for themselves.”

He said it's not always the products or the environment's fault.

Genetics play a large role in the colour and condition of a person's skin.

Along with certain skin types, naturally come certain problems — but if an individual understands what kind of skin they have then it makes it all the easier to address concerns.

Dr Romeo said: “Some people use regular soaps on their face which is really drying, while others are caught up on exotic soaps that they see in the advertisements and buy into that.

“So when they do come in to me, I try to help them understand how commercials convince them to use products that aren't in their best interest.

“Part of our job is to put things into perspective of what is and what isn't going to work for their skin type. The commercials aren't going to give them that.”

Dermatology and Skin Care Centre staff have seen first-hand how a skin problem can dramatically impact a person's life.

Some people become reclusive and don't want to be seen in public because they are embarrassed by the way their face looks.

“I had a young lady come in who was an ‘A' student, but came down with a bad case of acne and her grades dropped down to a ‘C',” Dr Romeo said.

“Her sick leave went up drastically and she was out from school four or five days a month. And when you sat down and talked with her you could tell she was impacted.

“The amount of depression that can be had in these individuals is not often appreciated, but they can suffer in terms of grades or work productivity, they don't want to go out or have their friends around a lot.”

That particular young girl was given prescription medication for six months and her skin got better.

“Now she's back to school and has caught up with the rest of the class and is back to being an ‘A' student,” Dr Romeo explained. “So for her it was important to get back her social life.”

Aesthetic nurse Willi Lawrence remembers seeing a young client with lots of small lines in his forehead. He looked older than he was and was suffering from low self-confidence.

After treating the lines with Botox injections, his demeanour completely changed.

“After that he got a job, he was able to earn enough to go back to school and even got a girlfriend,” Ms Lawrence said. “The next time I saw him he was walking on air.

“Seeing a person feel better about themselves is rewarding. It's why I am in this field.”

Some of the people who come to the centre are suffering from sun damage, caused by spending large chunks of time out in the elements.

Others are experiencing premature ageing such as frown lines or wrinkles around the forehead and eyes.

Regardless of the skin concern, Ms Lawrence said there are a variety of cosmetic options like chemical peels and lasers that can help.

Some of their newly introduced treatments include: micro needling, a technique used to stimulate collagen in the skin; and Thermage, which uses radio frequency to treat lines and wrinkles.

For more information on what options are available for your skin care concerns, call 295-9963.

Dermatologist Alexander Romeo at Dermatology Skin Care Centre. (photo by Glenn Tucker)
Dermatologist Alexander Romeo and his team at Dermatology Skin Care Centre. Pictured are aesthetic nurses Shameela Simons and Willi Lawrence and beauty therapist Leanda Wallis-Heeb.

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Published March 19, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm)

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