Top 6 Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist at Your Next Appointment

Are you seeing your dermatologist for regular skin care checks? Do a little prep work for your next appointment by jotting down a few key questions you want to be sure to ask your dermatologist to get the most out of your visit. Use this list to help get you started. 

1. Am I Performing Self Skin Exams the Right Way?

In between scheduled visits with your dermatologist, you should be performing self-exams regularly, checking for any early signs of skin cancer. Make sure you know what to look for and that you understand the “ABCDEs” of melanoma. If not, ask your dermatologist to explain this at your next appointment. You should also use this time to point out any irregularities that you’ve noticed during these self-exams at home so that your doctor can take a closer look. Ask if you are at a higher risk for skin cancer for any number of reasons – such as a family history of skin cancer, a history of sun damage, or very fair skin and red hair. If so, it is a good idea to schedule more than one annual check-up.

2. What Are the Best Products for My Skin?

If you haven’t already consulted your Skin Type Solutions approved physician about your Baumann Skin Type®, put update my skin care routine on your list. Once you know your Baumann Skin Type, your dermatologist can discuss the exact products and ingredients that are best for your skin, while also explaining others to avoid.

For example, many people want to try the latest trending skincare ingredients and treatments. However, your skin type may not tolerate the latest ingredients as well as other skin types might. Activated charcoal is very popular right now, for example, but this ingredient can make dry skin worse by stripping away its natural oils. Coconut oil is another fad ingredient right now, but it is highly comedogenic – meaning it clogs pores – making this ingredient unsuitable for acne-prone skin.

3. What Are the Best In-Office Treatments for My Skin?

Do you have a specific skin concern, such as uneven skin tone, redness, or acne scars? A combination of in-office treatments and the proper daily skin care regimen could help you see the dramatic, long-lasting results you’re looking for. Your dermatologist can help you choose the most appropriate treatments for your specific needs.

Laser treatments can help with skin discoloration, acne scars, redness, wrinkles, and more. Botulinum toxins and dermal fillers are commonly used for wrinkles, and fillers are also used to plump your lips and add volume to your cheek area. Microneedling can also treat a number of complexion issues, including lines and wrinkles, dark spots, acne scars, and enlarged pores.

4. What Is Causing My Acne?

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting 50 million Americans annually, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In order to get rid of acne, you need to first understand what is causing your breakouts. Acne can be caused by hormones, such as during puberty or pregnancy. Diet, stress, and improper skincare regimens can also affect breakouts. Acne has an eight-week cycle, so it is important that you work closely with your dermatologist to get it under control. Topical treatments such as retinoids, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and alpha hydroxy acids can help. However, the right acne treatment regimen for you will depend on your skin type. 

Once acne is under control, you can discuss treatments for any difficult acne scars that you might be left with.

5. Is This Rash What I Think It Is?

Many people misdiagnose rashes and other skin conditions that suddenly show up on their skin. The problem is that many different conditions can present with very similar symptoms. For example, eczema can resemble psoriasis or a fungal infection called ringworm. It is important that you get an accurate diagnosis from your dermatologist so that you can begin the correct treatment regimen.

In other cases, new links between skin rashes and things like a specific brand of leggings might start suddenly popping up. Discuss new skin problems with your dermatologist so that he or she can put all the evidence together and make the best deduction based on your specific circumstances.

6. Am I Using the Right SPF?

There is a sunscreen that is right for every skin type, so there is no excuse not to wear it daily! If you are having trouble finding a formulation that works well for you, ask your dermatologist for recommendations. Acne-prone skin types do very well with EltaMD Physical SPF. This is a mineral-based sunscreen that is appropriate for all 16 Baumann Skin Types, including those with sensitive skin. 

Use at least SPF 15 on a daily basis, and SPF 30 or higher on days when you plan to be outdoors for an hour or longer.

Bottom Line

Regular visits to your dermatologist’s office and good compliance with your prescribed skincare regimen are the two keys to success when treating virtually any skin condition. Use these questions to help guide you through what to ask at your next appointment.

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January 3, 2020 Skincare