Regardless of age or skin type, there’s much to be gained from a short sit-down with a dermatologist when it comes to effective skin care. In just a quick visit, you’ll receive essential information about the condition of your skin and tips to improve your regimen. Read on to learn how to pick a practitioner and how to prepare for your office visit.
Reasons to go
Incorporating professional dermatological care into your skin care routine is a great way to enhance the health and appearance of skin — and a proactive measure to sidestep expensive corrective treatments later in life.
In addition to routine skin evaluations and cancer screenings, a dermatologist can also treat and correct:
- Cold sores
- Chronic dry skin
- Skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea
Even if you don’t have a critical concern, regular visits with a dermatologist can help ensure that you can stay on top of skin health. He or she can keep you informed about the latest treatments for conditions like aging as well as up-to-date information about skin cancer prevention.
Picking a practitioner and scheduling a visit
When it comes to the health of your skin, turning to Google to find a dermatologist isn’t a great idea. Instead, WebMD recommends asking your family doctor or general practitioner for a recommendation.
Like every step of your skin care routine, success depends on how well it fits into your lifestyle. As you search for a dermatologist, consider the following:
- Specialty. Some dermatologists specialize in certain areas like cosmetic procedures or skin disorders. Make sure that the dermatologist you choose is trained and experienced in the area that meets your needs.
- Certification. Before you book an appointment, confirm the doctor’s certification with the American Academy of Dermatology, which has an up-to-date list of board-certified doctors.
- Insurance. While most insurance plans include dermatological care, not all services may be covered, or a referral from your family provider may be required. Check with both your insurance company and the clinic prior to your appointment.
- Availability. How quickly can you schedule an appointment? In some areas, dermatologists are in short supply and may be booked for months in advance.
- References. Ask for — and contact — patient references. Also, check online for reviews about the dermatologist and the clinic.
- Flexibility. Some dermatologists have limited hours. Make sure that the office hours fit into your schedule.
- Gender. Some skin consultations may involve exposing personal areas of your body. You may be more comfortable with a dermatologist of the same sex.
What to expect
When visiting a dermatologist for the first time, here’s how to prepare and what to expect:
- Bring your medical history. The clinic will ask you to fill out a form that details your medical history. This helps the doctor identify genetic disorders or health conditions that may influence treatment.
- Be prepared to discuss current medications and conditions. You’ll also be asked to list any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking — even those unrelated to skin care. Also, if you’re experiencing any skin condition — like acne or chronic dry skin — you’ll be asked to describe details about your symptoms.
- Skip makeup. The dermatologist may wish to examine your skin, so remember to remove heavy cosmetics before your office visit.
- Bring questions, concerns and a pen and paper. When face-to-face with your dermatologist, it’s easy to forget questions you meant to ask — so always bring a list. You might have general questions like “What’s my skin type” or specific inquiries about a condition like acne or aging. And — don’t forget a pen and paper so you can jot down any essential directions or tips from the doctor.
The dermatologist might ask you about your skin care regimen or recommend ingredients to incorporate into your skin care routine. Also, he or she can help you make goals to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
Bottom line: Better skin health
When it comes to health and wellness, it’s essential to be proactive about caring for your body. An annual visit to the dermatologist can help you maintain healthy skin from head to toe — regardless of age or skin type.
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