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How to choose a skin care professional

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Tips to care for your skin

A top-notch skin care professional can help you detect and prevent skin cancer, treat acute and chronic acne, and indulge in a facial. But with so many salons and estheticians offering you their services, it can be hard to find one person to trust with all of your skin care needs. To ease the search for a qualified skin care professional, we contacted Holly Sherrard, Canadian education manager with The International Dermal Institute, to give us the scoop on the importance of skin care treatments as well as how to find a first-rate dermatologist.

Dermatologist Applying Facial

Seek advice from a pro

SheKnows.com: Why is it important for people to receive professional skin treatments or to see a dermatologist on a regular basis?

Holly Sherrard: Consumers need to seek advice from professional skin therapists to make sure they are using the correct products for their skin. So many people rely on self-selection and may end up choosing incorrect products. One of the most common mistakes is choosing an oil-based moisturizer for dehydrated, oily skin. If someone has oily skin to start, they may be adding extra oil [by using an oil-based product] when they should really have purchased a daily exfoliant and a water-based moisturizer to combat water loss. By seeking advice from a professional, skin conditions can be addressed in a customized manner.

Ask for credentials

SheKnows.com: What should people be looking for when choosing a dermatologist or skin care therapist?

Holly Sherrard: A professional skin therapist should possess (and display) a diploma or certificate from a reputable school, have solid knowledge about the skin and attend post-graduate education (again, displaying the certificates). Consumers should be able to ask questions about their skin and receive the answers in not only technical terms, but in terms they can easily understand.

Raise your expectations

SheKnows.com: If you've chosen a dermatologist, what should you expect during a skin treatment or analysis? When, as a patient, should you worry about the treatment or service you're receiving?

Holly Sherrard: A thorough consultation is the number one expectation during a skin treatment from any professional whether it be from a dermatologist or a skin therapist. This allows for customized service and prescriptive home care recommendations. When receiving treatments from a skin therapist, pain should never be felt. During extractions of blackheads, one may feel a slight pressure on the skin, but if redness results and persists, then the extraction may have been done incorrectly. Also, if a question is posed to the professional, a direct answer should be given and the consumer should feel confident with the advice given. The skin should always feel healthy, hydrated, calmed and soothed after a treatment.

Find a qualified skin care professional

SheKnows.com: Where can people go for more information on dermatological practices?

Holly Sherrard: Word of mouth is always the best recommendation when searching for professional skin therapists. To find a dermatologist in Canada, the website for The College of Physicians and Surgeons at www.cpso.on.ca/ can be utilized, however a doctor's recommendation is needed [to make an appointment]. In the United States check out the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org/.

More top-notch advice to take care of your skin

For more information on the International Dermal Institute visit www.dermalinstitute.com/.

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