October 15, 2019

Dermatology and things.

I've posted a ton about skincare on this blog. I used Rodan and Fields' Unblemish for years. It worked for years. I sold RF because it worked. I've since gotten away from that just because my heart wasn't in it. I still believe in the products but my use tapered off after having Wells just because my skin became unpredictable post-partum and I didn't want to use my previous measure of "what good skin looks like" when the rules and the game had changed. It's like judging your pre-baby body in comparison to your post-baby body. You can't do it.

I never had "glowing" skin during pregnancy but my skin wasn't terrible either. I still used Unblemish for most of my pregnancy and continued all my normal routines when it came to skin/makeup.

Sometime this past summer, I started getting these awful cysts on my forehead. They would start out as what looked like a pimple under the skin, but would last for weeks and be incredibly painful. I've had the occasional cystic pimple in the past but never more than one at a time and they would just be random every few months, not systematic and constant in the same spots. Now, I would have anywhere between 1 and 4 at a time. I thought they were from wearing a baseball cap, so I made sure to wash my hat every week (and I've worn very dirty hats in the past ..#prairielife... and this never happened). Nothing seemed to make a difference. Scott would pop them and they'd get better but it took days for them to get to the popping stage.

In June, I had called my doctor's office and asked for a referral to dermatology. I called initially just because I wanted to have a mole-check done. I had developed a ton of new moles while I was pregnant, with the hormones and my skin stretching. Some of them were pretty strange-looking to me.
In the military...like if I were at a military base hospital...I would go in for a PCP appointment, tell them my concern, and they'd refer me. Here, I called and asked if I could just be referred. They gave me a number to call, and that number verified the claim, and then I had a dermatology number, and then I had to call my PCP back with the appointment information so it could be sent to Tricare...then, I was able to schedule an appointment for two months out. Literally. Took two months to get in as a new patient.

So I spent the summer fretting over this appointment, which was super productive.

After they did the mole-check and looked at a weird splotch on my foot (a fungus, apparently), the PA asked ever-so-helpfully if I wanted to "do something" about the acne.

I had a few forehead cysts on this day.

I said, What can we do?

He said, What have you tried?

I said, I used RF Unblemish for a long time and that worked well enough but I haven't used it for awhile.

He seemed to think I was serious about skincare then because RF isn't a small investment.

He said I could try some prescriptions and wrote down a bunch of medicines and pharmacy information for me.

After a whole lot of insurance/pharmacy issues, I was able to get three prescriptions, from two different pharmacies.

One wash, to use once or twice a day. One gel to put on in the morning. One cream to put on at night.

I went back to the dermatologist a few weeks later, to have a mole surgically removed. I don't even have a picture of this mole because I didn't want to see it. (Avoidance is my strategy, as a rule, which isn't awesome when it comes to healthcare.) It was on my back, anyway. Scott said it looked kind of weird, but it wasn't new. I had a bunch of very weird looking new moles that arrived with pregnancy and post-partum. They were light-colored though, so doctors usually don't worry about those. I also had some melasma spots on my face from pregnancy but they are pretty much gone at this point.


Anyway. I had the mole removed, I had stitches for almost two weeks, then I got the results saying it was considered "mild to moderately abnormal" but no additional treatment was needed.

They recommended yearly skin-checks. I'm pretty sure this is the general rule for everyone in the first-world, though. How many of you actually do it? I haven't been to a dermatologist since I was in Alaska having cysts removed and before that I was 14, having a busted capillary removed. I believe they offered to send me to one in Missouri at one point for acne treatment, but I don't actually remember going.

I'm sure it will be a ball of fun, trying to get an appointment with an on-base dermatologist next year when we're not living here anymore.

Leading to...I go back to this dermatologist in December for a check on the medications, to see how they're working. The good news? They are! I mean, it's amazing. I don't have some set of before/after pictures but I'm feeling really good about the results. I don't even have crazy dryness/redness as a side effect. The not-great news is that I will have to ensure I am able to actually stay on these medicines when we move next year, if I'm still using them then.

Military life and all.

Trying to figure out how to continue treatments/care and transfer prescriptions and find decent doctors is probably the hardest part of the civilian end of military life.


  1. skin issues are awful. i am the opposite of you - i don't have acne but dry skin that can border on painful if it freaks out and gets super dry (which happens like once/year). my skin is too dry to nourish acne but damn, it does not feel good walking around like your skin is 3x smaller than your face. Right now i'm battling that for no apparent reason either; i just woke up one day and my skin is dry. I was having a great streak of healthy happy skin and then womp there it is. i suspect it has something to do with the weather because it's like 2C right now and last week it was about 19C.

  2. Avoidance is how I prefer to handle things too :)
    Hormones play a huge role. I have this new brown birth mark looking thing around my forehead - all hormone related. GREAATTTTT


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