What to do when you’re not sure you believe what your doctor/nurse is telling you!

Hi again, Dr Irwin, I love your site and I actually wrote to ask for some advice on sculptra back on April 30th of which you having replied yet... I totally understand and know that you're most probably inundated with readers' mails but I REALLY want to get something done as soon as possible on the back of my hands on feet... My doctor suggested sculptra but I've never heard it can be injected in those areas... though apparently it's quite common here in Hong Kong. Please tell me if it's fine to go ahead and if not, what should be used? Juvederm/Radiesse/Restylane only? Thanks so much in advance for your advice. Also, what can be done to reduce calves? Don't want to go under the knife, get liposuction or Botox... My doctor suggested RF, he said it's the newest treatment, very effective and only need one for permanent results, it's expensive, costs over US $5200, so want to ask you before I go ahead, I really value your advice, thanks very much in advance. Btw, I'm mixed Caucasian and Chinese, age 33. Thanks again.

Getting expert unbiased information on skin care is a problem throughout the industry.   What is just marketing and benefiting only the companies and the doctors selling stuff and what is real…..and will benefit YOU and be cost effective?

Here are some things to think about:

  • I’m assuming you did YOUR due diligence on this doctor.   Checking board certifications, # of years of practice in that location, years of experience with various procedures (sometimes impossible to figure out), checking with your other doctors, friends, family and only at the end – the web.  You can also look at the AAD.org (American Academy of Dermatology).   They have a foreign members site and several doctors are listed in Hong Kong.
  • What procedure is he/she suggesting EXACTLY?    For example, WHICH exact RF device is he planning to use (there are dozens now), and then do your research on that particular device.   WHICH  laser (if it’s a laser) exactly is being proposed?  Then look for specific info on that device.
  • If it’s NEW……be suspicious.   Many RF and laser companies release their products too early to market and then let doctors basically beta test on YOU.   Do you really want to be the guinea pig in the first few incarnations of a device?   I don’t!
  • Does the office pressure you with sales tactics and wanting quick decisions?    If yes, RUN out the door.   Good doctors want their patients well educated and able to make good choices with complete information.
  • Does the office seem to have a smoothly running team from the front desk coordinators to the nursing staff to the doctor?   Good offices have everyone well coordinated.
  • Can you get your questions answered when you are there and when you call?   Or….do they brush you off or treat you like you have no brain?

On the Sculptra question.   It can, in some circumstances be used in the hands and feet (off label) if it’s a VERY dilute solution and injected correctly.  In my opinion (you’re only 33), why not start with something like Juvederm which is reversible, if you don’t like it.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

See Dr. Irwin’s article on how to find a good dermatologist

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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